Week of August 12

Watermelon
(Citrullus lanatus)

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Watermelon has been grown by humans for thousands of years but also grows in wild form in Africa where it is a native of. It is a easily grown fruit (or truly a vegetable) and relatively less expensive than some of the other fruits. This is a reason the fruit is widely enjoyed by all populations around the world, rich or poor.

El Paso has high prevalence of diabetes. Watermelon is considered by some a fruit to be avoided, if you have diabetes, due to its high glycemic index (Gl. index =72). Although it is true that the glycemic index is high but the glycemic load, which is equally important, is quite low in watermelon due to its high water content (Gl. load = 4). Most of the fruits and vegetables have high
glycemic index but have low glycemic load . Therefore watermelon can also be enjoyed by diabetics but as it is true with every food or drink, too much of even a good thing is not so good. This is specially to be remembered when eating watermelon as it is quite easy to overdo this sweet, refreshing delight.

Watermelon is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and good source of various Vitamin B. It is also rich in lycopene which is a well known antioxidant found also in tomatoes.


There are numerous varieties of watermelons of which the seedless varieties have some controversy around them. One thing that is not controversial is that the varieties with seeds are more juicy and flavorful. Take a few minutes break from your high paced life and enjoy the zen moments eating watermelon on a summer afternoon in your backyard, spitting out each seed. It is known that we appreciate food flavors more when we take time to eat and the seeds definitely slow your pace down. Watermelon and watermelon drinks are quite refreshing specially in our hot summer afternoons in El Paso.

Watermelon belongs to the cucumber family. It is a plant that is very well adapted to our hot summer climate and extremely easy to grow. If you have spitted seeds in your vegetable patch you can find some of them sprouting in a few days. Watermelon plants are available in nurseries or the seeds can be bought online with larger variety choice available.
In El Paso watermelon transplants, whether from nursery or grown from seed, could be transplanted anytime from April through mid July. Some early maturing varieties can also be planted even in late July or early August although the growth and fruit production slows down during the cooler nights in October. The plant will be killed by frost as with most annual vegetable plants.

In many cultures watermelon rind is pickled or cooked same as many other vegetable dishes, soups or stir fry. Enjoy this refreshing fruit this summer and also experiment with using the rind in your cooking.
grow watermelon in El Paso, watermelon glycemic index, watermelon lycopene
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