SECOND SLICE: THE RISE OF THE MINI WATERMELON

November 9th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Even though I’m a huge fan of summer, I still enjoy watching the transformation that occurs in autumn. Everything from the changing leaves on the trees to the crisp, cool air tells me that the dog days of summer are long gone.

There is one thing that happens in the fall that I dislike, however. It’s a terrible occurrence that takes place at nearly every grocery store nationwide around this time of year — when the watermelon bins disappear from the produce aisle. Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again, and the watermelon bin is already missing from my local supermarket.

If you’re like me, and can’t stand to be without watermelon until the spring, check out this post from 2013 to find out how you can still enjoy your favorite fruit.

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As it relates to food, what’s the worst day of the year? For me, it isn’t the day after Halloween (when I wake up with asugar hangover after raiding my daughter’s candy supply the night before) or the day after an all-day pig out session on Thanksgiving. It’s the day the bin of watermelons disappears from the grocery store.

The exact timing of that day varies based on your location. In my neck of the woods, it usually arrives in late September. Shortly thereafter, the space where the bin of beautiful green melons once sat becomes occupied by a bin of orange pumpkins. They’re fun to carve and their seeds are tasty, but I’ll take the bin of watermelons any day of the week.

When the bin disappears, your watermelon options are to A) raid the pre-sliced and chunked section (in my grocery store, it’s over by the bagged lettuce) or B) ask your produce manager if he’s got an uncut watermelon in the back that he’s willing to sell for whatever the current per-pound rate is.

Of course, there’s also a third option – the mini watermelon. The mini watermelon (or “personal” watermelon) is often overlooked because it hides in the produce aisle on a display amongst many other softball-sized fruits. But I’m here to tell you one important thing: Don’t overlook this pint-sized gem!

Here are some things you should know about the little green ball of goodness:

  • Mini watermelons are the fastest-growing segment of the watermelon market.
  • Mini watermelons are usually seedless and have a thinner rind, which means you get more edible flesh per pound.
  • Mini watermelons have a uniform flavor throughout the fruit.
  • Mini watermelons are easy to transport and you’re more likely to eat the entire thing, which means less waste.

So there you have it – four very good reasons to give mini watermelons a try during your next trip to the grocery store. Actually, I can think of another reason: Mini watermelons are freakin’ adorable! Seriously, every time I buy one, I almost don’t want to cut it up because it’s so darn cute. But then I do slice it up and devour it, and I remember just how good that cuteness tastes.

UP NEXT: GROWING THE WORLD’S LARGEST WATERMELON: FINALE

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SECOND SCOOP: WHAT’S THE BEST KIND OF WATERMELON?

May 6th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

JOHN K. OF NEW BLOOMFIELD, PA, ASKS: What’s the best kind of watermelon?0

Great question, John. Your inquiry may be only six words, but it’s actually quite difficult to answer.

Within the main categories of seedless, picnic (seeded), mini watermelons and yellow flesh watermelons are hundreds of different types, many of which are very closely related because they are literally closely related. What I mean by that is that many watermelon are crossbred to produce a product that has the best attributes of both contributing varieties.

Although the exact variety of watermelon you might buy in the grocery store is often unknown (if it’s a seedless, it could be one of several varieties), it’s a pretty safe bet that the best type of watermelon is the kind that’s sitting right in front of you and ready to be eaten. I know that’s an easy way to answer your question, but it’s true, right?

When I talk to people about the different “types” of watermelon, I usually focus on the main categories (seedless, seeded, mini and yellow flesh). Some people prefer seedless watermelon (no need to worry about seeds!), while others like watermelon with seeds because you can spit the seeds at your brother, like I used to do (and sometimes still do). Other folks like the mini watermelons because they’re easy to handle and store.

My recommendation is to try lots of different types of watermelon to see which type works best for you. Best case scenario: You get to eat lots of watermelon this summer and you find out that you really like several different types!

UP NEXT: Four crazy watermelon photos

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