THE TRUTH ABOUT SEEDLESS WATERMELON


I’ve noticed some discussion online lately about seedless watermelons and claims that they are “genetically modified,” which somehow makes them a black sheep in the world of produce. I’d like to take this time to set the record straight and restore dignity and honor to the great seedless watermelon by making this declaration:

Seedless watermelons are NOT genetically modified. They are hybrid watermelons that have been grown in the United States for more than 50 years and are safe and delicious in every way!

 

Allow me to explain. Actually, I’ll let the National Watermelon Promotion Board explain, because they do a good job of it on their website. Here’s what they have to say:

“A seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This is similar to the mule, produced by naturally crossing a horse with a donkey. This process does not involve genetic modification.”

So there you have it. Seedless watermelons are just regular watermelons, albeit a relatively younger relative of the traditional seeded watermelon. Despite being the new kid on the block, the seedless watermelon actually outsells its seeded peers by a significant margin. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, only 16 percent of watermelon sold in grocery stores has seeds. In 2003, that number was 43 percent.

Oh sure, sometimes I miss those little black seeds, but it’s mainly for nostalgic reasons. Sort of the way I miss shopping for new clothes before the start of a new school year. Does it mean I want to spend an entire Saturday in the mall with my mother telling me I’ll “grow into” the five pairs of pants we just spent three hours trying on? Not a chance.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wedge of watermelon in the fridge with my name on it. Seedless, of course… and my pants fit me just fine.


Comments

  1. ed says:

    the watermelons are tasteless because the farmer picks them green.
    they spoil quickly.
    I have some bad ones, and if you want to see if it a good melon have your grower or grocer plug it.

    all that produce is like that, if you want good produce find it locally or grow your own.

    I wont buy anything but seedless.

  2. linda owens says:

    The seedless watermelons not only taste terrible but the structure and or texture are mutated, almost like rubber. A good watermelon should be sweet, juicy and crunchy.The hybrid watermelon is TASTELESS! I HATE THEM! Why would anyone change the most delicious fruit? Because humans are so lazy they can’t pick out a few seeds? Pitiful

  3. Judy S. says:

    Thanks for the clarification! I wanted to understand how they are made and I’m glad it’s natural. Seedless watermelons in fact are very tasty, crunchy and sweet. It all depends on where you buy it from. If its natural or locally grown, it’s truly the best. Those who think they’re not good should try a different source. Seedless is safer for children and less messy.

  4. Veera says:

    Lind Owens – You are 100% i support yur view as mine is the same

  5. Baggygal says:

    I purchased a great seedless the other day. It was red, sweet and crunchy, the best I have had all season. Watermelon is highly alkaline so eat up.

  6. Erica says:

    Love seedless watermelon. Don’t buy anything else. I suggest people try a different source for produce if you have a bad experience. I’ve even returned bad ones to the store. Grew the seedless watermelon in my backyard for the first time. I was sent pollinator seeds and regular seeds. Soooo tasty.

  7. Joseph says:

    To all those that prefer seedless over regular. All of you really are in the minority, I myself have stopped buying seedless watermelon and have decided to grow my own watermelon. Those that miss the regular watermelon, I tend to share with them. Just because you prefer seedless does not reflect those who prefer regular watermelons. We’ve just stopped buying them in grocery stores since they’re all seedless.

  8. Scott says:

    Watermelon is my favourite food. In my experience the flavour of seedless watermelon is inferior to those with seeds. I’m lazy too so I just eat the seeds. Really I eat them because they are nutritious.

  9. Manny says:

    I enjoy both the seeded and seedless varieties but I don’t understand how you can change the number of chromosomes in a plant and claim its genetics are not modified.

  10. Hildegarde says:

    This is the perfect website for anyone who wishes to
    understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough
    to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
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  11. Tim says:

    When cold, watermelon has less vitamins and nutrients so don’t put it in the fridge.

  12. Cat says:

    I think a lot of people have grown up eating seedless watermelons and have no idea what a sweet juicy regular watermelon tastes like. Seedless is nearly tasteless compared to regular.

  13. ROBERT BLACKTHORNE says:

    i agree with cat……a good regular melon is much much much better than the best seedless. not every melon is great but to hit a good sweet regular was heavenly! NO COMPARISON

  14. Melody Scott says:

    I live in Mexico where the watermelon trucks just started coming in. We have both varieties, and they are both delicious, sweet, juicy and crunchy, having just come from the farmers’ fields. Buy fresh, that’s the lesson here. :)

  15. beverley says:

    I agree with what Cat says.. think a lot of people have grown up eating seedless watermelons and have no idea what a sweet juicy regular watermelon tastes like. Seedless is nearly tasteless compared to regular.

    I just took 4 big watermelons back to Superstore(they had some seeds), as they were tasteLESS! That is it…I am not buying them anymore…we need the sugars in the melons to feed our cells…no sugar, no food…

  16. Wayne Robb says:

    Good day, I live in Alberta Canada and I find it impossible to purchase a good tasting watermelon from any produce store. I would say it’s been 40 years since I tasted good watermelon. But this would apply to almost all veggies in the stores. Tasteless…

    As a child, I remember good tasting watermelons, strawberries, oranges……and so on but now everything is tasteless. Sad, just terribly sad. Wish I lived in southern USA were veggies I believe are almost always good.

  17. Maggie Kulp says:

    I agree with all those who LOVE the taste, texture and juiciness of a REGULAR OLD-FASHIONED watermelon with seeds! I will not waste another penny on a spongy, tasteless seedless melon! God made watermelons with fat black seeds for a reason!!!

  18. ELLEN says:

    The “Melon Up!” seedless melon has one of two small black seeds per slice and about 20 small white seeds.
    So much for seedless!
    False advertising!!

  19. Bill Settle says:

    Ah…Water melon….I believe there are good and bad seedless and seeded….It’s all in the harvesting and selecting…. a cold melon on a Hot day….is almost always good. and above all it’s the individual’s preference. this of course is my opinion.
    133

  20. Liv Kelleher says:

    I just love watermelon thank you mother earth and shout out to genetic engineering for making them seedless

  21. s. m. says:

    The seeds are nutritious & edible. They can be consumed raw or dried then ground into flour. They are also am excellent source of protein.

  22. KP says:

    Seeded melons..large and very sweet
    Seedless melons..small and less sweet ..but are getting better!

    and of coarse they out sell the seeded..I dont even see a seeded in the stores anymore!

  23. Brad says:

    They taste horrible. I’m not saying it’s not because they are picked green that may be but I have NOT HAD A DECENT WATERMELON SINCE THE DAYS OF BLACK SEEDS AND I MISS IT!!!

    enough said….

  24. eLleN says:

    I and my family have also stopped buying watermelon at the grocery store because usually the only “watermelons” are seedless and tiny. And who is it that started the talk about seedless being more popular than seeded (and an actual watermelon size, not these little dinky things we’re left with)? Whenever the grocery store actually DOES have seeded, real-sized watermelons (which is VERY rare) you MUST buy one that day, cos if you wait til the next day, there’s no telling when the next opportunity to buy 1 will present itself. Normally they can only be found at farmer’s markets where, again, people buy them left and right. So, it would not surprise me if our government started the myth and have almost phased out (or have tried to phase out) real watermelons, as I call them. I LOVE REAL WATERMELONS!!!! And HATE seedless LITTLE “watermelons”.
    Oh, also, seedless don’t taste as good. And it’s impossible to have seed spitting contests without seeds.

  25. hujoas says:

    I am from Europe, Eastern and just bought normal watermelon from Spain at my local store. They look normal, but have only few typical seeds, and other seeds are white and little. but very tasty and juicy. There were also watermelons called seedless from France or Spain also, but no-one buy them. ORIGINAL wm rules.~!

  26. Rob says:

    All you old fogies make me laugh….”oh, everything was so much better all those years ago,” yada yada yada …Did you ever consider that instead of the food that you eat tastes different, it’s that your taste buds have changed as you’ve gotten older? Hmmm? Think about it…

  27. Shannon says:

    No.. ROB…It’s not old fogies. I’m certainly not an old fogie but I am a Chef. My and my wife’s parents both grew their own watermelons. We KNOW what good watermelons taste like. The only decent tasting watermelons we have found over the years (both seedless and not) have come straight from the farmer or at our local farmers market. Now I suspect that most of the produce at most farmers markets come from Mexico now rather than local farmers.

    And just fyi.. your taste buds constantly evolve based on your food consumption. The more you eat certain foods, the more you your taste buds change to acquire that flavor profile. You do you own research but the point is that your buds change just as often as the “old fogies”.

    Criticizing someone because of their opinion or preference does not change fact. We are going to grow our own now too. Good watermelons just can’t be found in the store.

  28. Rob says:

    I’m all for watermelon with seeds. They tasted better, were much larger and cheaper with better texture and I like eating the seeds!
    The seedless products we get here in AB are rarely any good and I liken them to sugar-soaked balsa wood. They’re also often coated in something that makes me itchy and have an allergy reaction when I handle them!
    I’ve only ever had ONE seedless melon, an organic grown one that cost a fortune, worth comparing to a seeded variety.
    Seedless is just marketing nonsense.. Please resume greater production of normal seeded melons, i like both the dark green skinned melons with black seeds and the lighter striped ones with brown seeds. And keep the chemicals off them while you’re at it, dear growers.

  29. W. Henry-Elwell says:

    I agree with those here who are still seeking the seeds. Even when the seedless babies first started hitting the market regularly, I preferred seeded watermelon. My father and I bought a seedless one and decided we’d never do that again. I stopped buying watermelon because it is all seedless. I don’t trust what the national board of water melon folks say, seedless had better flavor. Even if it was only due to freshness and travel time – the seeded watermelon from my local Hannaford was better than anything seedless today. I’d like some third party, non biased taste testing experiments in the matter. I do a project in it myself – if I could find a watermelon with seeds. If any one with power I this market is reading this, please make seeded watermelons more available in supermarkets again. Who cares why I want them – they are the product I want and will buy. The demand is there. Please provide.

  30. TomL says:

    From “Seedless Watermelon Production” by Jerry Parsons, Larry Stein, Tom Longbrake, Sam Cotner, and Jerral Johnson, published by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. This article appeared in the May-June 2000 issue of Lawn and Garden Update, edited by Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, and produced by Extension Horticulture, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.

    “Simply stated, the number of chromosomes (the threadlike bodies within cells that contain the inheritance units called genes) in a normal watermelon plant is doubled by the use of the chemical colchicine. Doubling a normal (diploid) watermelon results in a tetraploid plant (one having four sets of chromosomes). When the tetraploid plant is bred back, or pollinated, by a diploid or normal plant, the resulting seed produces a triploid plant that is basically a “mule” of the plant kingdom, and it produces seedless watermelons.”

    Genetically modified? Not in the classic sense since no genetic material from another organism is inserted into the watermelon. Produced as a result of using chemistry to genetically manipulate a parent plant? Absolutely… Is the watermelon board intentionally vague regarding their 44 chromosome female plant? Probably, but that is up to you to decide for yourself.

    I’ll stick with seeded thank you very much… Besides, the seeds can also be roasted and enjoyed as a snack:

    http://www.ehow.com/about_5092722_benefits-watermelon-seeds.html

  31. Calvin parker says:

    I live in rural South Carolina in the summer and live in the city of columbia in winter. I grow watermelons and so do all of my friends in johnsonville South Carolina. However we use fertilizer when we plant but the fertilizer is long gone when the melons come along. They are always tasty, sweet and juicy. I have eaten seeded watermelons all my life and I also eat the seedless ones also. I cannot tell the difference in taste. Eat more watermelon, it is a good source of food. Much love to ya.

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