Yellow watermelon is a variety of watermelon with a yellowish flesh that is sweeter and less watery than the more commonly known red-fleshed watermelon. It has a similar shape and size to traditional watermelon and is often grown in the same regions.
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What is a Yellow Watermelon?
Yellow watermelons are a variety of watermelon scientifically known as Citrullus lanatus. It is also known as “Yellow Crimson Watermelon” or “Yellow Flesh Watermelon.” As the name suggests, the flesh of this watermelon is yellow, as opposed to the usual red or pink.
Yellow watermelons are believed to have originated in Africa, just like their red and pink counterparts. They are grown in many countries worldwide, including the United States, Brazil, South Africa, and China.
In terms of appearance, yellow watermelons look similar to regular watermelons. They have a thick dark green rind with lighter green stripes, and their size can vary from small to large. The main difference is the yellow color of their flesh, which can range from a pale yellow to a bright yellow hue (almost neon).
When it comes to taste, yellow watermelons are sweeter than regular watermelons, with a honey-like flavor. They also have a slightly firmer texture; their seeds are usually smaller and less noticeable. Some people describe the taste as more tropical, with hints of mango and pineapple.
The absence of lycopene, a substance responsible for the reddish hue of red watermelon fruit, tomatoes, and grapefruits, is why yellow watermelons do not have the characteristic red coloration. As a result of the lack of lycopene in yellow watermelons, they appear yellowish instead of reddish.
The History of Yellow Watermelon
Yellow watermelons were first cultivated in Africa roughly 5,000 years ago. Through a process of natural cross-breeding, the red watermelon was eventually produced. So surprisingly, yellow watermelons were here before the typical red watermelon we all are likely more familiar with.
Yellow watermelons were introduced to the Mediterranean through trade routes, then traveled to the Middle East and Asia. The early yellow-fleshed varieties initially lacked the sweet taste and high sugar content of today’s cultivars, but that changed over time.
Yellow watermelons are considered a specialty in local farmer’s markets and select grocers across Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. These fruits are also grown in home gardens in warm climates such as Africa and Mexico.
What Does a Yellow Watermelon Taste Like?
Yellow watermelons have a sweeter and milder taste than traditional red-fleshed watermelons. When eaten raw, they have a juicy and refreshing flavor with a slightly honey-like sweetness. The texture of the flesh is generally firmer than that of red watermelons but still tender and easy to bite into.
Yellow watermelons are not typically cooked but are best enjoyed fresh and raw. You can use them in recipes that call for watermelons, such as fruit salads, smoothies, or drinks. In these preparations, the mild sweetness of the yellow watermelon can provide a nice balance to other ingredients.
How to Tell When Yellow Watermelon is Ripe
Yellow watermelons, like other watermelons, have specific visual characteristics that can indicate their ripeness.
Here are some tips on how to tell when a yellow watermelon is ripe:
|Check the Field Spot
|The field spot is part of the watermelon that rests on the ground. A ripe watermelon will have a creamy yellow or yellow-white field spot, indicating that it has fully ripened on the vine.
|Look for Uniformity
|A ripe watermelon should have a uniform shape and size without any flat or soft spots. The watermelon may not be fully mature if it looks misshapen or lopsided.
|Check the Sound
|Tap the watermelon lightly with your knuckles. A ripe watermelon will produce a deep, hollow sound, while an unripe one will make a dull thud.
|A ripe watermelon should have a sweet, fruity aroma. It may not be fully mature if it doesn’t smell like much.
Are Yellow Watermelons the Same as Pink Watermelons?
Yellow and pink watermelons are part of the same species, Citrullus lanatus, but they have some notable differences.
|The most apparent difference between yellow and pink watermelons is their color. As their names suggest, yellow watermelons have yellow flesh, while pink watermelons have pink or red flesh.
|The taste of yellow watermelons is often described as sweeter and milder than that of pink watermelons. They may also have a slightly different flavor profile with a more honey-like taste.
|Yellow watermelons have a firmer texture than pink ones, with less juice content. The flesh is also usually denser and crunchier.
|Besides the flesh color, the outer skin of yellow and pink watermelons may also differ. Yellow watermelons have lighter, more mottled green and yellow skin, while pink watermelons have darker green skin with a lighter striping pattern.
Cooking with Yellow Watermelon
Yellow watermelon is a delicious and refreshing fruit that can be used in various dishes, typically in its raw form.
Here’s a guide on how to prepare and use yellow watermelon:
- Cut off the ends: Cut off a thin slice from each end of the watermelon so it can stand on a cutting board without rolling.
- Halve the watermelon: Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise using a sharp knife.
- Quarter the watermelon: Cut each half in half again to make quarters.
- Scoop out the seeds if you want to (you can do this by using a spoon)
- Remove the rind: Lay each quarter of the watermelon flat on the cutting board and carefully slice away the rind, working from top to bottom.
- Cut the watermelon into slices or cubes: Once the rind is removed, cut the watermelon into pieces or cubes.
Yellow watermelon is commonly used in salads, salsas, smoothies, watermelon juice, grilled dishes, and beverages such as watermelon margaritas. It’s a popular ingredient in cuisines worldwide, including Mexican, Mediterranean, and Caribbean.
Here are a few specific dishes that use yellow watermelon:
Yellow Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint: This refreshing salad is a perfect summer dish. The combination of sweet watermelon, salty feta cheese, and fresh mint is a definite winner.
Grilled Yellow Watermelon with cucumber cantaloupe salsa: Grilling watermelon is a unique way to cook this fruit. The heat caramelizes the sugars in the watermelon and gives it a smoky flavor. Bonus: the cucumber cantaloupe salsa adds a fresh kick to this sweet fruit – who would’ve thought that all these fresh flavors could gain so much dimension?
Yellow Watermelon Salsa: This is a fun twist on traditional tomato salsa. The sweetness of the watermelon pairs well with the tangy lime juice and spicy jalapenos.
How to Store Watermelons
Watermelons should be stored properly to keep them fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.
They can be stored at room temperature for 7-10 days. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
Watermelons can also be stored in the refrigerator. Just wash, dry, and wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. This way, a watermelon can last 2-3 weeks.
Watermelons can also be frozen for later use. First, cut the watermelon into small chunks or slices. Then, place the pieces on a baking sheet, freeze them until solid, and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen watermelon can last up to 8-12 months.
It’s worth noting that once you cut a watermelon, it will only last a few days in the refrigerator, so it’s best to consume it quickly. Also, storing watermelons with other fruits or vegetables can cause them to ripen and spoil faster, so it’s best to keep them separate.
Nutritional Benefits of Yellow Watermelon
Yellow watermelon is a delicious and nutritious snack that is very low in calories, which promotes healthy weight loss. While it doesn’t have the powerful antioxidant lycopene, it has many other health benefits.
Like the red ones, it is rich in vitamins A and C, promoting healthy skin and boosting the immune system. However, yellow watermelon contains more beta-carotene than red watermelon, which helps shield against eye diseases and cancer.
The potassium and magnesium in yellow watermelons help regulate the fluids in the body and lower blood pressure.
Where to Purchase Yellow Watermelons
You can find yellow watermelons in natural food stores, specialty stores, and farmers’ markets. The best time to find yellow watermelons is during the summer months when they are in season. However, the exact timing may vary depending on the region and climate.
Some grocery stores may also carry them during the summer season. You may need to check with multiple stores in your area to find them, as they may be in limited supply.