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.
If you want to learn about how to grow seedless watermelon, then read our seedless watermelon article.
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.
you are definitely an idiot, the taste of seeded watermelon is not even comparable to the fake seedless ones. you moron get off the internet.
I agree and the texture can’t compare. The only reason they sell more is because a lot of grocery stores don’t ever have the seedless.
Theta was suppose to be seeded not seedlessq
Agreed!!!! I thought the same thing to myself when I read that tidbit.
I have been tasting both types, to me seedless one is more tasty.
The seedless watermelon tastes great, just like a red dyed sweetened cucumber. If you like red dyed sweetened cucumber. Personally, I’d rather have a REAL watermelon. But they almost never sell them anymore… which is the real reason the seedless sell better, the seeded ones aren’t for sale!
I always ask for the seeded variety, and often settle for the seedless. I should boycott more often.
So sad to read this, i’m fron Chile south america, and the watermelon on January (summer here) is great, a lot of seeds, but the heart of the watermelon…
Come here in summer, and ask for a watermelon from Paine, the size at least 50cm, the cost less than usd$7.
I love Chile watermelon! Worried about eating seedless, hybrid watermelon, which, to me, means not really a watermelon.
The female cell with 44 chromosomes is may be made by treating the plant or seeds from which the female flower comes with a chemical which causes a mutation of the cell to have 44 chromosomes instead of the 22 it would otherwise have.
Funny how seedless watermelons were “invented” 50 yeas ago.
Someone figured out how to double the no of chromosomes?
So the suspect Colchicine first isolated in 1820 was not the agent?
If an agent is used to modify the genetic nature of a plant is this not GM.
Interestingly the plqnt source has been used medicinally for >3500 years.
I agree with you my dear Friend…The (mafies) take the original water mellow out of the shops and they forcing the (brainless) public (of course not 100% of them) to pay the seetless… wake up World and don’t pay those fake (water Bealow) SUPPORT THE NURTURE NOT THE SMART share holders and companies…they want to control 100% of our World and our brain…JUST FOR MONEY…
I love watermelon with seeds. This year we bought four of them, after over 10 . years of nothing. We don’t eat nothing seedless. Why we don’t have choice??????? One note about wotermelons. They should be eaten by them selves. Not with other food
I am Definitely of the Seeded watermelon school…nothin’ quite like a good old -fashioned red watermelon with black seeds…drippin’ with sweet pink watermelon juice…
No one has mentioned the Real reason for Seeded Watermelons…Watermelon -spittin’ contests…
where has good old American completion gone?
that last comment should have said: “competition”( not Completion…)
Only thing you miss out on with seedless is the traditional seed spitting contest with everyone else eating it
Not true at all. The taste of a properly grown seeded watermelon is far superior.
I don’t think I have had a good watermelon in over a decade. I am going to grow my own next year. My theory is that this is because they are all seedless now. Seeds provide fat, and fat tastes good!
I recently had an old fashion watermelon with dark seeds and what a glorious difference in taste. I’ve been eating the tasteless seedless ones for so long I’d forgotten just how sweet and intense the flavor of the old variety was. Give me seeds all day long.
Every seedless watermelons I have eaten still have the little white seeds. Is that normal?
The little white seeds are absolutely 100% okay to eat! They are white because they are still growing; fully-matured seeds appear black like the ones you see on this page!
Yes they are not GMOs but they are produced using strong chemcials which are approved by Organic farming practices. The chemical, colchicine, binds to tubulin and disrupts microtubular network leading to altered cell morphology, decreased cellular motility, arrest of mitosis, and interrupted cardiac myocyte conduction and contractility and eventually MULTI-ORGAN DYSFUNCTION AND FAILURE! It has also been shown to cause sterility in humans and is excreted into breast milk!
Just because it’s not GMO doesn’t mean it’s safe! Organic is evil too ~~! By contrast, not a single person has ever died from GMOs.
Reference: Colchicine poisoning: the dark side of an ancient drug by finkelstein et al. 2010 and published in Clinical Toxicology
@LALALand LLaa…All that scientific jargon and then you say something completely moronic by saying nobody has ever died from GMO’s. That’s because organ failure in humans are not directly attributed by GMO’s because they won’t trace it to them because the government and corporations are making big money off of GMO’s. I suppose you never heard of GMO corn having the insecticide built right in the kernel.
The article stares that seedless watermelon out sell seeded. Of course it does we can’t find a local grocery store that carries a good old fashioned seeded watermelon. We long for a tasty watermelon. Seeded melon seem to have a richer darker sweeter fruit.
Watermelons these days? Tasteless. And then some site says to sprinkle salt on them to amp up the flavor.
Now we have to add 1000 mg of salt to our watermelon so we can eat is. I have a seedless watermelon in front of me right now…crisp, cold, no seeds, red…juicy….just ZERO taste.
I think Seedless Watermelons controlled by some companies making business. Watermelons growers have to buy seeds from these companies. They choose seedless watermelon because majority markets of consumers choices seedless. I like seeded watermelons.
Seedless watermelons taste like cardboard.
Just cut a fresh???? seedless watermelon. Smelled funny. Not even like other seedless ones I have had. I too like the seeded better. A much better taste, sweeter. Just like everything else, someone wants to take everything away from the consumer. This melon, went over the fence to the rabbits. Oh well.
so now watermelons — like apples –are basically inedible. ugh. white people make me sick!
So much racism while adding nothing to the discussion. Why do white people make you sick californiawoman?
The first seedless watermelons were developed by a Japanese professor named Dr. Hitoshi Kihara at Kyoto University in Japan. I certainly hope you are not now going to aim your racial slurs against the Japanese people?
At least you haven’t specified what racial group you belong to so you don’t mar them with your ignorance and bigotry.
Back on topic, seedless watermelons are preferred by stores as they last months longer than seeded watermelons and they are not entirely round so losses due to rolling off a bench are lower.
Thanks I appreciate this.
A fruit is defined as countaining seeds and seeds are defined as being viable so seedless watermelon is not fruit since it contains sterile seeds.
Dee, here do you get that definition of ‘fruit’? I can name plenty of naturally parthenocarpic fruits. If lacking seeds prevents something from being a fruit then what do you call a seedless fruit then?
you can keep seedles melons for your children to eat, we’ll continue to grow our own the way the creator made them and because something say’s ORGANIC MEANS NOTHING.
I am confused by your comment “we’ll continue to grow our own the way the creator made them”.
Most people would not even recognise the wild ancestors of watermelons as being a watermelon, let alone even being edible. What the creator made is not even remotely similar to any watermelons in stores. Much like most fruits, vegetables, and livestock, what is available today is completely different to how the creator made them.
Where do you even get the seeds of wild watermelons? Heirloom watermelons are nothing like the watermelons the creator made. The creator made watermelons that were small fruit the size of a tennis ball, they had thick rinds and several small red fleshed cavities that held the seeds. Do you grow and eat these? I doubt it.
After a LOT of selective pressure, by the 1600’s, watermelons started to look like this: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150821-watermelon-fruit-history-agriculture/ After a LOT more selective pressure they started to look like the heirloom watermelons. Then seedless ones were made.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE and PREFER OLD FASHION NATURAL SEEDY SEEDED WATERMELONS for the ABSOLUTE BEST OLD FASHION WATERMELON FLAVOR!!!!
Lol. Watermelon haters. Seedless watermelons are awesome. I put them in the blender for watermelon juice. Also great as a smoothie or mixed drink.
If this were the case explain to me why I am allergic to seedless watermelon and not seeded. I experience pain, itching, and what feels like burns after eating only seedless.
That is known as “Munchausen’s syndrome”. It is where one pretends to be ill or fakes an illness so they can take on the sick role and gain attention.
I dislike seedless watermelons as they have inferior taste and texture. I prefer seeded varieties. There is no need to fake an illness for attention.
I agree with you, I aslo experience allergic reaction when eating seedless watermelon… not the case with seeded watermelon!
Wow….one person prefers seedless. Probably never had a regular one.
A side-by-side taste test would reveal that seedless sucks!
You realize that GMO crops are just as safe or safer than non-GMO crops, right? And hybrids are genetically modified–it’s funny that you have this huge note at the beginning of your article saying that modifying the genetics of the plant isn’t genetic modification. Odd.
Enjoy your GMO corn and soybeans that been misted with heavy duty chemicals that would kill real corn and soybeans.
I just had a packet of seeded watermelon. It had been years since I ever had one. Before eating I was thinking the hassle of spitting out the seeds but boy, the taste of seeded watermelon is heavenly. All these years of eating seedless watermelon made me forgot how REAL watermelon tastes like. From Malaysia
The author states the wish to “restore dignity and honor to the great seedless watermelon.” Seedless watermelon has never had any dignity, honor or taste. They are as worthless as a pink grocery store tomato. And they’re still loaded with seeds. Some of us eat food for the flavor.
hmmm… and here I thought selective breeding and crossbreeding was the basics of GMO
Hybridization has been perfected for 300 years.First plant to be hybridized was jn the year 1717.This is a danger because all substances made in this manner are acidic substances to the body/body even though all organic/conventional products are tainted somehow and way its best to consume the least detrimental ones and to eat as close as the father species as possible.Man cannot recreate the perfection that the creator has made.Our foods just lime us should be composed of 102 minerals that are carbon/hydrogen & oxygen based a product of hybridization cannot provide this for assimilation all it can do is introduce acid into 4he body and one must note that we are alkaline beings our blood is naturally alkaline therefore acidic foods do not promote health nor life
How can mutating seeds with chemicals and then breeding the chemically altered plants with the same species of non chemically altered male plants be called “hybrid”. In my experience a hybrid is a cross between to different, but genetically similar species, such as a donkey and a horse to create a sterile mule, not a chemically altered mare being bred by a regular old fashion healthy stallion.
Talk about propaganda and word manipulation. I would say this is a GMO, because they are genetically altering the seeds. It’s not GMO in the traditional sense in that they are injecting different species genes into a non compatible species (such as injecting corn with bacteria DNA so the corn produces it’s own pesticide), but it can hardly be called a hybrid.
For a couple of years I’ve noticed seedless watermelons have less and less taste. Has anyone else noticed this too?
YES! A few years ago, I really liked them. Now, they have the flavor and consistency of cardboard. Inedible!!!!
You neglect to mention that the 44 chromosome watermelon is itself produced by genetically modifying a 22 chromosome watermelon.
Of the fifty or so watermelons I bought this year, about four were sweet with the proper texture. I through out half of them after slicing. I now vow to never buy another California watermelon again. I guess they’ve gone the way of the apricot.
Seedless watermelon are missing something besides seeds. The texture and flavour is not quite right. I loved the seeded varieties ,the redder the better. I can’t be bothered to eat the seedless ones. I am kinda mourning the loss
This chain of comments is loaded with opinions versus facts. Which is fine, we all have personal preferences. My qualifications as follow,
I am a former USDA shipping point inspector and for the subsequent 35 years, I have worked in all aspects of the produce industry from production harvesting packing and shipping in the US, Mexico, Central and South America for some of the largest international produce companies in the US.
As a challenge the next time you go to buy a watermelon buy a seedless and a seeded using the criteria provided.
Cut a slice of each then blindfold yourself and have someone give you a taste of each without identifying which one you are tasting. Then draw your own conclusion. Then repeat the test with with your partner. The more participants you can include the better to get a good opinion sample.
WATERMELON SELECTION INFO…
Good Separation of the light and dark stripes is one way to determine ripeness, the color of the ground spot being a creamy yellow versus off white (under ripe) or dark yellow (over ripe) color is also another . The shininess can be a factor, shiny and smooth (freshly harvested) dull and rough (not freshly harvested or over/roughly handled) after all that…Hold your watermelon in your arms and slap it firmly, if it resonates like a drum it’s probably good, a dull or thud like sound might indicate it is overripe, bruised or have some type of internal defect.
FYI A watermelon will NOT get sweeter after its been harvested, it WILL however get overripe if it sits too long.