Watermelons are members of the same family as rockmelon and cucumbers and vary in color from pale-grey-green to deep, dark green.  The most popular modern varieties are elongated  with grey-green skins, but others may be round or oval.  

For good color and flavor they must mature and ripen on the vines and a watermelon is ripe when it sounds hollow when tapped with a finger. At this stage the rind or skin on the underside should be yellowish, but judging this can take some experience.  The rind on good watemelon should be shiny and unblemished.

Watermelons do not store well, although some varieties can be kept in the field for two to three weeks ripening without over maturing. Once picked they should be kept in a cool place or refrigerator and eaten promptly after cutting.  Frequently melons are sold in cut sections covered with plastic wrap and these provide more manageable portion.  This method also allows buyers to judge the color inside. 

As watermelon flesh is about 90 per cent water, they are very filling but provide very refreshing snacks, desserts or appetizers. They are usually served in thin slices on the rind, or in balls or chunks in fruit cocktails and desserts.  Watermelon juice, flesh put through a blender or food processor makes the basis for a good drink and can also be used in water ices.     



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