The beauty is that you can have it any time of the year. You can buy a watermelon in winter and enjoy its refreshing taste when summertime comes. But there is a debate that has been ranging, Is watermelon a fruit or a vegetable?
Some people say it is a fruit while others believe it is a vegetable. But the question at hand should be, what fruit and vegetable are, then dig deeper into categorizing a watermelon. Does it fit to be called the fruit or a vegetable?
This article will also cover the hype on the relationship between cucumbers and watermelons. There are also lots of people who believe watermelons are the best fruits out there. Why? Read on to understand.
What is a watermelon?
Watermelon is a vining plant that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is grown for its large edible fruit. The plants’ vines are hairy, angular, and have tendrils that help the plant climb up supports or other plants.
The plants produce flowers, usually yellow with five petals of unequal length. The male flowers have a more defined reproductive organ, while the female is less visible but can produce fruit if pollinated successfully.
After pollination and flowering, light to dark green fruit is produced and is usually round and is between 20 to 30 cm in diameter. The pulp of watermelon is made up of about 90% water, hence its name. This fruit is sweet due to high levels of sugar content, making it appealing for desserts such as ice cream or use as juice/smoothies.
Watermelons’ juicy flesh color varies depending on the type of melon. The most common is the “dark green” type with red flesh inside. Other types can include yellow or orange-fleshed watermelon varieties, but these are rare and not widely available in supermarkets today.
There are also white-fleshed watermelons, that is, watermelons that lack the dark pigment and have pale flesh. These watermelon types are sometimes called “cotton candy” or “peach” melon because of their light color and sweet flavor when ripe.
In addition to its delicious taste, some of the benefits of eating watermelon are due to its being high in vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content.
Is watermelon a fruit?
Many people consider watermelons as fruits as it is a sweet and fleshy or pulpy seed part of plants that are eaten as food. Watermelons contain seeds which is an essential part of reproduction in the plant life cycle.
Botanically, watermelon is a fruit too developing from the ovary of a watermelon plant after flowering and is quite edible. When you cut open this refreshingly sweet melon, it is full of dark seeds that are good for your health! You can enjoy this fruit by blending it into a smoothie or eating it fresh on its own.
Nature of a fruit
A fruit is described as a matured ovary that contains seeds that develop from the ovule after fertilization. Upon fertilization, the ovary grows bigger while the ovules turn to seeds. Fruits are classified into three categories, namely:
Terrestrial (dry) fruits are formed from a flower’s ovary containing one seed, such as nuts and legumes.
Aquatic (wet) fruits are derived from an ovary partially or wholly submerged in water like coconut.
Exocarpus (fleshy) fruits with both the ovary and the receptacle are like peach, orange, or tomato.
Types of fruits
Usually, fruits develop from aa single ovary, that’s the pistil. Examples of such fruits are cherries, citrus fruits, pomes, and plums.
This is a fruit that results from several pistils in a single flower. In such cases, other floral parts take part in the fruit formation. An example of an aggregate fruit is strawberry.
This is a fruit composed of two or more united carpels that occur in one single flower. An example is a pineapple.
What kind of fruit is the watermelon?
Watermelon fruit is native to Africa but has since spread worldwide. It belongs to the gourd family and is rich in vitamin A and C. Watermelon fruit is a berry. The botanical name for the berry is pepo. It belongs to the same group as squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and cantaloupes.
Watermelons have sweet juicy flesh that may be red, yellow, or white. Pepo fruits are covered by a hard rind that’s faded white(inside) and green(outer side). The fruit is termed indehiscent, meaning that it’s a fruit/pod that does not split even when ripe.
The watermelon rind is quite edible and is associated with boosting your energy levels to a whole new level, reducing blood pressure, and regulating bowel movements, thanks to its high fiber content.
How watermelon is a fruit
Watermelon is inarguably known as s fruit to many people. This oval-shaped fruit, which can also be grown into cube or heart shape, results from fertilization, where a flower bloomed, pollinated, and produced fruit with seeds. The fruit is eaten fresh and can either be sliced, cubed, or even cut into balls. The fruit is also a common and perfect accompaniment to our dishes.
Is watermelon a vegetable?
Watermelon is related to cucumbers. These plants are grown from seeds and harvested just like vegetables. Botanically, a vegetable is any plant part consumed by humans without really resulting from reproduction.
For instance, vegetables like spinach, kales, carrots, and beets are all vegetables that do not result from reproduction. Farmers and gardeners also grow watermelons alongside other vegetables. Like all other vegetables, a watermelon plant also requires rich soil, fertilizer, and lots of water.
Anyone biting into the juicy flesh will think of it as a fruit. However, the rind of a watermelon is consumed as a vegetable in Asian countries. The rinds are usually pickled with spices, and you can use the watermelon flesh in stir-fries like a vegetable.
A watermelon’s description is contrasting. Although people view it as a fruit, some also do consume it as a vegetable. Either way, watermelons are so appealing and irresistible at sight.
Nature of a vegetable
A vegetable is any part of the plant that is consumed as food by humans and animals. Vegetables can grow in terrestrial and aquatic environments grown from either a seed or a cutting. They are autotrophs meaning they generate their food from simple inorganic substances without affecting the other living things.
Any edible plant matter, whether seeds, leaves, roots, or flowers, qualifies to be referred to as a vegetable.
Types of vegetables
Bulb vegetables are vegetables not born from flowers. An example is garlic, onion, and leeks.
Stems and young leaves
These are vegetables that we consume as stems or as young leaves. Examples are lettuce, parsley, and coriander.
Flower vegetables take the shape of a flower and resemble many clusters of flowers forming together. An example is cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and artichoke.
A stem vegetable is the eatable stem of a plant. An example is an asparagus and kohlrabi.
Legume vegetables can be eaten when green like peas.
Root/ tuber vegetables
Root vegetables store their nutrients in the root system. Such vegetables include carrots, Irish potatoes, beetroot, and turnips.
These fruits are usually considered vegetables due to their use. They are cucumbers, watermelon, squash, tomatoes, and peppers.
What type of vegetable is a watermelon?
A vegetable is anything that is obtained from plants. The part can either be the fruit, stem, leaves, root, or bulb. A watermelon falls under the fruit category, making it a fruit vegetable. It has a fleshy pulp with seeds in it, and it also grows in a vine. The watermelons’ outer rind is consumed as a vegetable in some cultures and add the flesh in dishes.
How watermelon is a vegetable
The watermelon plant is grown as a vegetable crop. The same vegetable production systems also apply to them. So since this plant is grown in the same manner as vegetables, it is considered a vegetable. The watermelon’s rind is consumed as a vegetable in Russia and the Southern United States. The rind is usually pickled, stewed, or even stir-fried.
What is watermelon made of?
When you bite into a slice of watermelon, you will understand where they got their name from. The fruit contains 92% water, which is a pretty large quantity and keeps you hydrated.
Watermelons also contain sugars which take up around 6%. Either way, the fruit is considered a healthy snack. It is rich in vitamin C that’s responsible for the repair of damaged tissues in our bodies. It’s also rich in potassium that maintains the proper functioning of the kidney and the heart.
Present in watermelons is a lycopene nutrient that helps prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body. They are also fiber-rich and full of antioxidants. A reason it is among the healthiest fruits. The fruit also consists of an outer rind, usually green in color.
The other part that makes up a watermelon is the seeds. Some watermelon varieties might not have seeds, but the majority have them. These seeds are edible and have been used in recreational activities in seed spitting contests.
Are cucumbers and watermelons related?
Cucumbers and watermelons are fruits native to certain parts of Africa and Asia but are now grown worldwide. Both fruits belong to a family known as Cucurbitaceae, commonly known as the vine-crop family. Although these two fruit vegetables are distantly related, they are collectively referred to as cucurbits. Others in this class include melons, squashes, pumpkins, and gourds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a watermelon made of?
Just as the name suggests, watermelon is made primarily of water. Water makes up 92% of a watermelon by mass, while carbs make up 6.5%. Watermelons are very low in calories and contain trace amounts of fats and proteins. The latter is too low even to be considered as nutrients in the fruit.
Why are watermelons called watermelons?
While there may not be a direct correlation between the fruit’s botanical name and its English name, the term ‘watermelon’ is believed to come from its high water content. As you already know, water is 91% of a watermelon by mass and possibly makes the fruit so refreshing. Also, no other fruit, or instead berry, contains as much water by mass as a watermelon.
Is watermelon a squash?
No, watermelon belongs to the family of cucurbits and share common characteristics. They grow on vines and having fruits with a very similar internal form.
Despite their similarity, watermelons and squashes are in different genus and species in the taxonomic classification of organisms. Watermelon vines are physically slenderer and longer than squash vines. Still, squashes have flat and broad leaves, while watermelon leaves are deeply lobbed.
Another key difference is the origin of these plants. While squashes are native to Central and Southern America, watermelons are believed to have originated from Africa and Asia.
Are watermelons and cucumber related?
Yes, both cucumbers and watermelons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. This is an extensive family of plants that comprises several genera and is spread throughout the world’s warm regions. Some of the other plant species related to watermelons include pumpkins and gourds.
Why is watermelon the best fruit?
A watermelon contains water largely. Coupled with its low-calorie nature, the fruit is also rich in Vitamin C and lycopene. This is the ideal nutritional combo in a world dominated by junk food, plus people are often unwilling to drink enough water daily. A watermelon gives you a dose of water, a few carbs, and a full stomach to prevent you from craving junk food. To me, this is arguably the reason watermelon is the best fruit.
Is watermelon a raw fruit?
Watermelon can be eaten raw, which is the best way to consume it or even cooked. Should you settle for eating the fruit raw, ensure it is cleaned adequately, and don’t shy away from crushing those brown seeds in your mouth-they are full of zinc and aren’t poisonous in any manner.
Cooking watermelon brings out some ‘hidden’ flavors and enhances other dishes served alongside the fruit. It’s up to you to decide how you want to have your melon.
So is a watermelon a fruit or a vegetable? Well, it all depends on who you ask. Watermelon can either be a fruit or a vegetable. If directing the question to a botanist, they will maintain that watermelon is a fruit, just like many people know it. However, in some cultures, the watermelon is a loved vegetable.