Watermelon Day

August 3 is an annual holiday that celebrates everyone's favorite summer fruit. Made of 92% water and full of Vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, watermelon is an ancient food that is believed to have originated in tropical Africa. In fact, historians have found evidence of watermelon cultivation as far back as 4000 years ago. Today, many varieties of the fruit are grown in warm climates all over the world.

Considered a superfood because of its high water content, watermelon is a good thirst quencher. In fact, in the Kalahari desert, where they are called tsamma, watermelons are one of the main sources of water during the dry, hot season. In the past, people crossed the desert only during a good tsamma season.

Prized by nutritionists and raw food enthusiasts, studies have shown that the antioxidants in watermelon (carotenoid and lycopene) can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. And, did you know that all parts of the fruit are edible? The flesh can be eaten as is, cooked or juiced. The rind (or the thick green outer covering of the fruit) can be stewed, fried or pickled.  In some parts of China, watermelon seeds are dried, roasted and enjoyed like nuts. Whatever way you choose to eat it, know you are not alone in enjoying this amazing fruit!

How to Celebrate this holiday? Celebrate by having watermelon for all your meals. Have a big glass of watermelon juice for breakfast; make a lovely watermelon, feta cheese, and mint salad for lunch; and for dinner, make watermelon salsa to go with your fish. And finally, make some refreshing watermelon sorbet to end the day on a high note.

Of course, have slices of the fruit as a snack all through the day. If you have a garden, why not spend some time exploring how to grow a watermelon plant in your backyard. If you plant it today, you won't have to make a grocery store run to get a watermelon for next year's Watermelon Day! You'll only need to take a walk in your garden!

So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a watermelon and head out to your local park with family or friends and share a few slices to celebrate this delicious holiday.