Fermes Leclair et Frères Ltée.
The watermelon is the largest fruit grown in Québec. Native to West Africa, this herbaceous plant is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, like squash and cucumbers. It’s been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and is believed to have appeared in the Americas around the 17th century.
Fun fact: melons are said to have been left in the tomb of King Tutankhamen so he would have something to eat on his journey to the afterlife.
The world’s largest recorded watermelon weighed in at 132 kg (291 lb). The ones we grow at Fermes Leclair are around 3 kg (6.6 lb), though, which is certainly more practical if you want to keep them in your kitchen! They’re round or oblong, are of the red-fleshed variety, and are sold seeded or seedless. To grow seedless (sterile) watermelons, they must be sowed with seeded varieties to ensure pollination of the seedlings.
Fresh and oh-so-thirst-quenching, the watermelon is enormously popular with young and older alike. Made up of 92% water, it favours healthy hydration, is just sweet enough to tickle the taste buds, and has only 30 calories per 125 ml (half a cup).
Nutritionally speaking, watermelons are:
And, like fenugreek, they reportedly have positive effects on libido! Watermelons contain citrulline, an amino acid that serves to synthesize arginine, another amino acid. Arginine is believed to act as “natural Viagra,” helping to relax blood vessels. So there’s every reason to eat watermelon this summer!
The best way to tell if a melon is ripe is to give it a light tap: if it sounds hollow, it’s ready. A whole watermelon will keep for 7 to 10 days in a cool, unrefrigerated space. Once cut, it should be covered with plastic wrap and will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
Watermelons are at their best in August and September. To enjoy them to the fullest, you can incorporate them into all kinds of summer recipes. In many cultures, you’ll find watermelon on the menu during the main meal of the day, eaten raw, boiled, fried or even cooked in a wok. Some even make it into wine!
Here, we use it to concoct sorbets, granitas and fruit salads. To make smoothies, cold soups or jams. As an appetizer with cheese, or simply grilled for a few seconds on the barbecue. And how about replacing ice cubes with iced watermelon cubes in cocktails?
This summer, let loose and reinvent the season with our delicious watermelons.