Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Watermelon Season!

Watermelon is hands-down my favorite fruit. It has been since I was a kid. I remember summers spent in New Jersey, picking up a melon at the local farmer's stand, slicing it into large juicy pieces and then spitting the slippery black seeds at my sisters. A trick I learned from my uncles after having their seeds land on my shirtless back since I spent most summers in nothing but swim trunks and an occasional pair of flip flops when large stretches of molten hot asphalt needed crossing.

I was surprised at how little I actually knew about watermelon since it had been my favorite for so long. For one, it's considered a berry. I learned this from my Ukrainian coworker whose Russian schooling is in fact proving to be "the best in the world." Two, the plant had it's origins in southern Africa. And thirdly, China is the world's leader in watermelon production. The last two facts I found on Wikipedia being "schooled" by my coworker. I as usual needed a second opinion.

There is one thing that I do know about watermelons and I've known it since I've known watermelons - summer is watermelon season. Just my luck it's summertime!

If you walk or drive around Amman, you'll undoubtedly run into a fruit stand. They seem to be everywhere with huge "berries" warming in the summer sun and lucky me, there's one right next door to my favorite local bakery.

I've had a jonesing for watermelon for the past few days and I finally made some time after work to walk down to the shop and pick one out . Yup, I thumped on it to see if it sounded hollow. That's the only way I know of how to pick a watermelon.  Thumping, and making sure it's one of the largest in the bunch. I had my melon weighed and paid the four and a half JD (Jordanian Dinars) for it.

I then walked my melon home.

I would not recommend that last part. Watermelons are sweet and delicious but they are oddly shaped and awkward to carry. Especially when they weigh 12 kilos. I broke the strap to my satchel in my effort to carry this huge dessert home but I did eventually make it home at which time I promptly passed out instead of enjoying the fruits of my labor. (Do you think the first person to coin that term was also referring to watermelon?)

Putting off my feast till the morning did however allow me to have some fun with my camera. It also gave me the opportunity to chill the behemoth in the fridge - sun warmed and chilled are both great ways to enjoy this fruit but given the choice I'd have mine close to frozen. My friend Mo excitedly asked me in the morning, "Are we gonna cut the big green one?"

Arabs enjoy watermelon as much if not more than I do. They have also added many ways to enjoy this fruit and eat it at every opportunity. Take notes America: I've been impressed to see it enjoyed as an after dinner desert; fresh fruit instead of a processed dessert - very impressed. It's also served as an appetizer with fried cheese which was delicious - the hot, stringy, cheese made for a perfect salty combination to the sweet, chilled, crunch of the watermelon. I later tried watermelon with the same cheese without it being fried - not as good but I can see the appeal. The un-fried version of the cheese was just a little too salty for my taste. Fresh watermelon juice - yes please - awesome!

I love Amman! It's the bees' knees and those knees are covered in sticky watermelon juice as are my fingers and cheeks after devouring half the melon in one sitting.

On to more adventures in Jordan!

Hahaha, I laughed at these pictures. I was trying to get one to look like Rene Magritte's "Son of Man" painting. I think I needed a little more practice with the timing. 


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  2. HAHA the pictures are fantastic. Imagine a world where there is fresh food and nothing is preserved.... yumm