Often the statement that the watermelon is a berry is confusing. Most people are accustomed to consider it a fruit, and there are those who are sure that it is a vegetable. The question is ambiguous, a lot of opinions. So who is right? And why is watermelon considered a berry?
This issue will require a comprehensive review. It is best to start with basic concepts.
What is a berry?
Opinions of botanists and non-specialists on this subject differ. So, in everyday life berries are all small fruits that have juicy flesh. These include the true (for example, currants), false (rose hips), drupes (cherries), and multi-peasant (raspberries). At the same time, the fact that, from the point of view of botany, are berries, but has larger dimensions, it may not be attributed to them among the people. For example, they will not say that about tomato or kiwi. But in fact they are berries.
In botany there is no attachment to dimensions. And this, to some extent, explains why a watermelon is a berry, since it is precisely the size that confuses many. In botany, the definition is as follows. Berries are fruits of any size, but they must have a lot of hard-skinned seeds and juicy flesh. All this is wrapped in thin skin. True berries develop from the ovaries, false ones from any other parts.
The group of berry fruits also includes pumpkin, oranges and apples. These are also varieties of berries, since they correspond to all characteristics.
The first are the fruit of plants - representatives of the pumpkin family. These are the largest berries, the weight of which can reach several tens of kilograms, and the size - exceed a meter in diameter. They are characterized by juicy and dense flesh and firm skin. The outer layer can sometimes be woody. The watermelon belongs to this family. Berry or pumpkin his fruit? The second name cannot be used. Because it is called another plant. The common name for the fruits of the crops of this family is pumpkin.
Oranges are a typical citrus fruit. Therefore, lemons, oranges, etc., can also be attributed to the berries.
The latter include representatives of the subfamily Apple. It is a multi-seeded fruit with thin skin, a large amount of pulp and seeds located closer to the center. In addition, in botany berries are fruits that grow on a pear, mountain ash, quince.
What is not a berry for nerds
As already mentioned, not every fruit that is considered a berry in everyday life is in fact a berry. So typical delusions.
Drugs. These are fruits with thin skin and juicy pulp. Their distinguishing feature is one seed, not many, like berries. In addition, the layers of the pericarp sharply separated. Therefore, the flesh is so easily detached. Thus, cherries and sweet cherries are drupes. This also includes peaches, apricots, plums and other fruits with one seed.
There are such fruits, where many, many stone farms are joined together. The most common example is raspberry or blackberry. In fact, they are multi-peasants.
Strawberries and strawberries are false berries, since they are formed not from the ovaries, but from a receptacle. The fruits are white and black seeds on the surface, which are called multi-points.
As it has now become clear, scientific and narrow-minded views are significantly different. If you compare the description and the appearance of the fruit, it becomes clear why the watermelon is a berry: it meets all the characteristics of this group of plants.
A bit of history
Watermelon can be considered a novice in European cuisine, since it was introduced relatively recently. This culture appeared on the tables in the Middle Ages, during the Crusades. The striped fruit reached Russia even later, they met it in about the 14th century.
South Africa, the Namib desert region, is considered the birthplace of this wonderful delicacy. Brazil and Paraguay are also trying to challenge this role. In all these regions, watermelon is found in the wild, and related species are widely represented. Accurate information about the ways of spreading culture is not available. However, from historical sources it is known that already in the ancient world, watermelon was well known. It was cultivated in various countries and was a favorite delicacy. At the dawn of mankind, no one has ever wondered why watermelon is a berry, because at that time there were no botanical classifications.
Currently, more than 1,200 species of this culture are known. It became especially popular in China. At the moment, China is the leader in the cultivation of watermelons. They are also cultivated in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, in the states of the Americas - in just 96 countries of the world.
What is this culture?
To understand why watermelon is called a berry, you should refer to its botanical description. This plant, as already mentioned, belongs to the Pumpkin family. It is a melon culture. The fruit develops from the ovary and is a large pumpkin, which is spherical, oval or cylindrical. The weight of watermelons can be more than 20 kg. The fruit is covered with dense, smooth and thick bark (4-15 mm), the color is usually green, there are also varieties with white or yellow color. Most often there is a pattern in the form of dark and light stripes. Why is watermelon considered a berry? The fact is that the pumpkin is its subspecies, having all the characteristic features.
The flesh of the fruit is red. There are also varieties with a pink, yellow or white heart. The taste of the fruit is sweet, can be sugary. The flesh is juicy and tender. It contains a large number of seeds.
Watermelon is very useful, because it is rich in various vitamins and microelements. At the same time it contains the minimum number of calories: only 38 kcal per 100 g of pulp. The edible part of the fruit at the time of ripening mainly contains glucose and fructose. Sucrose appears during storage. The longer the watermelon lies, the more it accumulates. The pulp contains from 5.5 to 13% of easily digestible sugars.
The fruits contain the following vitamins: A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, C, K, PP. The pulp is also rich in trace elements such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, sodium, selenium, phosphorus, fluorine, zinc. 100 g of watermelon contains 0.61 g of protein, 7.55 g of carbohydrates, 0.15 g of fat, 0.4 g of dietary fiber.
Thanks to such an abundance of beneficial trace elements, the striped "ball" becomes an indispensable product on the table. It is not only possible but necessary. A large amount of water helps to saturate the body with moisture, which is especially important in the summer heat.
Is a watermelon berry? And is it worth arguing about this?
After a detailed consideration of the problem from all sides, it is possible to summarize the information and summarize a small study on the topic “Why a watermelon is a berry and how true it is.”
So, watermelon belongs to the Pumpkin family. The fruit has all the features inherent in the berries: juicy pulp, a large number of seeds, the presence of external skin. However, according to the family, it will be called pumpkin. And this is the most correct name from the botanical point of view.
At the same time, pumpkins belong to the group of berries. Consequently, there are not only similarities. They differ somewhat from typical berries, firstly, in large sizes, secondly, in dense skin, and thirdly, in a large number of seeds.
It remains only to clarify the last question about the watermelon: "Is it a berry or pumpkin?" Based on the foregoing, we conclude that a juicy fruit can be called a berry, since it corresponds to this group and applies to it according to the main biological criteria. This is a wider name. A narrower and more specialized name - pumpkin (it, in turn, is a type of berry).
It is also necessary to make a small digression for those who pose the question as follows: "Is watermelon a berry or a vegetable?" The fact is that the first definition is botanical, and the second is culinary, gastronomic. Mixing concepts from different areas is incorrect. However, if we consider watermelon from a food point of view, then according to its characteristics it will be related to fruit, since edible sweet berries are also included in this group.
This striped fruit tried everything, everyone is familiar with its sweet sugary taste. This berry was widely spread in the Middle Ages. Homeland watermelons - South Africa.
The first they tried the Crusaders, and they also initiated the spread of fruit throughout the world. In the wild, watermelons are also found in Brazil and Paraguay. The first mention of them was found in the wall paintings of ancient Egyptian temples. The ancient people, of course, did not wonder Why is watermelon a berry, not a fruit?. They simply grew miraculous fruits and ate them with appetite.
Now allocated more than 1200 varieties of watermelons. The leader in growing this big berry is China. It is also commercially grown in Turkey, America, Ukraine and Russia.
If we turn to the dictionaries, then we will see in them that watermelon is referred to as a perennial creeping plant of the pumpkin family or gourds.
You can approach this issue scientifically and call the fruit a false berry.
In general, no matter how the product is named, it is only important what pleasure and benefit we will get by using it.