Imagine your favorite foods. For me, that’s easy: watermelon and bacon. Now imagine your favorite foods coming together in one tasty package. I don’t mean the two foods are packaged together in the grocery store (although that’s not a bad idea). I mean the one food — in this case, watermelon — tastes like the other food — in this case, bacon.
That’s exactly what a team of horticulturalists and food scientists in Georgia have done with a crop of watermelon they’re calling “Incredi-Melons.” As in, incredible watermelons. What they’ve done over the last several years is create watermelons that taste like other foods, including ice cream, cheeseburgers, pizza and, yes, even bacon. That’s right, a bacon-flavored watermelon. Incredible? You bet it is!
The best part? In addition to tasting exactly like other foods, the Incredi-Melons have all of the health benefits of regular watermelon. The team was also able to pull off the miracle without genetic engineering or artificial flavors. Their only trick is good old-fashioned plant breeding…and lots of trial and error.
“The first batch didn’t turn out so well,” said the project’s lead scientist, Dr. Solof LaRip. “The bacon tasted too smoky — more like chipped beef — and the pepperoni-to-cheese balance on the pizza watermelon was way off. We also tried making a chocolate-flavored watermelon, but we’d all like to forget about that first attempt.”
Thankfully, Dr. LaRip and his team were able to turn those early mistakes into lessons learned, and soon they were growing Incredi-Melons that tasted a little more like the foods they were intended to. A test batch of peanut butter watermelon in 2014 captured all the sweet and nutty essence of everyone’s favorite sandwich spread. Later that year, they finally perfected the chocolate watermelon, which, when combined with the peanut butter watermelon, created a snack like no other.
So, what’s next for the Incredi-Melon, and when will we be able to purchase them in stores? Dr. LaRip won’t speculate on retail timing, but he did confirm that his team will be taking requests for special flavors later this year.
They’ve already created a bacon-flavored watermelon, so I’m happy. Which flavors of Incredi-Melons would you like to see in grocery stores in the near future?
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