I get this question almost every year. Why does a seedless watermelon never seem to taste as sweet as a seeded watermelon? Well, with Memorial Day picnics resting on the shoulders of the giant watermelons, we thought this question should be honestly answered. The first seedless watermelon was made in 1939 by O.J. Eigsti, a plant breeder in the Midwest. It wasn't until the 1970s that the first seedless watermelons made their way to the grocery store produce departments. Our grandparents didn't know much about seedless watermelons. To them, seedless watermelons were simply a fad. Once they tried a slice, they thought it was a waste of money. "Where's the flavor?" my mom once asked. In a watermelon, the seeds produce the sugar. Seedless watermelons have seeds, but they are immature white seeds, and they produce very little sugar. In a seeded watermelon, the seeds are hard, black and mature, and these seeds produce a lot of sugar. The more sugar, the more flavor. However, it seems that consumers have traded convenience for flavor. (And yes, the flavor in seedless watermelons has improved over the past 30 years.) Consumers just don't want to mess with the seeds. You have to admit, trying to get your kids to eat a watermelon filled with seeds is quite a task. Unless, of course, there is a little brother to spit seeds at.
Next week: What happened to the asparagus season?