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

Great question, John. Your inquiry may be only six words, but it couldn’t be more difficult to answer.

Within the main categories of seedless, picnic (seeded), ice box and yellow flesh watermelons are hundred 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.

Below is a chart from the National Watermelon Promotion Board website that outlines just a few of the more than 200 varieties of watermelon grown here in the United States.

While this chart doesn’t tell you which types are better, I can tell you that one of the most popular varieties of watermelon is the Crimson Sweet, which is prized for its deep, red, very sweet flesh. It’s also popular among growers of all experience levels because it’s a hearty, relatively easy watermelon to grow.

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? For a more detailed look at 18 popular types of watermelon, check out this handy slide show on the Saveur website. It might not answer your question, but it’ll definitely make you very hungry.

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