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7. 5000 years of watermelon

Well this is just an article I wrote the other day and it was that other day when you just write good stuff (or so I think).

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5000 Years of Watermelon

Egyptians brought so many firsts to the world, like the first irrigation system or first taxation, but one of the firsts that not all of us know about is watermelon. First evidence of the fruit were found in Egypt with the age of more than 5000 years. Also there is a verse in the Bible that mentioned Israelites eating it while they were in Egypt. Plus drawings on Egyptian walls of Pharaohs eating melons were present. Some left them in tombs so it would nourish them in the after- life.

Whether eaten alone, with friends or with family, it’s the perfect summer fruit. Eating this fruit in the summer to cool down has been an Egyptian tradition for forever. Some eat it with feta cheese, some just slice it up and eat as much as they can fit in their bellies. The tradition of also having to shower after devouring the fruit is not to be ignored! Everyone eats in such a hurry that the juice of this luscious fruit is everywhere, from all over the face to the toes.

Egyptians have a close relationship with this crop because a watermelon has zero percent losses. After eating the flesh of the melon, the seeds can be roasted. Eating those seeds is whole other tradition on its own! The skin of the watermelon is fed to animals. You are sure you spent your money right if you’re buying a watermelon because nothing is to be wasted.

In addition, it’s also a very healthy fruit. Ninety-five percent of it is water, meaning it’s the ideal way to stay hydrated in the summer days when you’re so into having fun that you forget to drink! It’s also rich in lycopene, a nutrient that’s very healthy for our cardiovascular system and our bones. Also, a watermelon has a high content of vitamin C, which is obviously one of the essential vitamins for a balanced diet.

One of the traditions linked to watermelons is picking a watermelon at the market. You will find Egyptians patting the melon, twisting it all around to check its every corner, putting it next to their ears and feeling the melon to make sure it’s not bruised. It’s a totally normal gesture for someone to offer you their watermelon picking skills at the market, in fact it’s quite common and amiable. Despite all this, the bad watermelons are picked ninety percent of the time! Picking water melons is like walking in the dark, no matter how far you stretch your hands, it’s a hit or a miss.

Significant proof that every Egyptian enjoys watermelons, is finding them on sale on wooden carts pulled by donkeys in the streets. Some daring sellers even challenge you to open their watermelon and taste it on the spot before you buy it. Others will have a few watermelons split in half on display showing that they’re fully ripened and red.

Lately, watermelon is becoming more and more wide-spread. So many have tried to embellish this already perfect fruit in every single way, but have –in my opinion- failed. This has gone to the extent of making seedless watermelons. Might sound nice, but in fact it spoils the fun. How are we going to spit the seeds at the targets from our balconies when they’re absent? You can’t represent watermelons with only green and red because the black is the one that stands out. With seeds or without, bad or tasty, juicy or dry, watermelon will always be a trademark of Egyptian summers. We will always want to drown our faces in the red juice and enjoy the sweetness.

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