SARAH T. FROM CHICAGO, IL ASKS: I eat watermelon all year long, but there’s just something a little better about eating watermelon during the watermelon months. Does watermelon taste better in the summer, or am I just imaging things?
Your question is an interesting one, and one that I’ve often pondered myself. The basic answer is no – watermelons purchased in the winter are equal in quality to watermelons you might purchase in the summer. The only possible exception is when you buy a late summer watermelon from a farmers market. Those locally grown watermelons are sometimes fresher – just off the vine the day before – which means they might taste a little better (or at least you think they do).
But even that’s not 100 percent true. There’s no guarantee that a local farmer’s watermelon – even if it was picked the day before – will taste better than a watermelon that was grown by a farmer who harvested the watermelon a week ago. Mainly because watermelon is a hearty fruit that can retain its “freshness” for several weeks after it has been plucked from the vine. (At least until you cut it open. After that, the clock is ticking.)
Of course, psychology also plays a role in answering this question. Foods like watermelon might appear to taste better on a hot summer day because you think they do, and if you believe it tastes better in July, then it must be true, right? Heck, even I think watermelon tastes better during the summer. Summer and watermelon go hand-in-hand, and when two things go great together, they bring out the best in each other.
A lot of foods taste “better” depending upon the season. An ice cream cone in the park on a sunny August afternoon tastes great. That same ice cream cone in the park in December when it’s 15 degrees outside? Still tasty, but not quite the same. Similarly, a glass of egg nog or hot cocoa in December is delicious, but I wouldn’t enjoy them nearly as much after mowing the lawn in June. Same food, different month, different experience.
Most of this is just my opinion, so I’d like to open it up to input from the readers. Does watermelon really taste better in the summer…or is it all just a figment of my imagination?
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