Watermelons are well known for being big, sweet, red, delicious fruits that come into season toward the end of summer. But did you know they come in different colors? There are indeed other types, like the black diamond watermelon or the outrageously expensive Densuke watermelon. But today we’re going to be talking about yellow watermelons – what they are, what they taste like, how you can grow them yourself, and more! Let’s dive in.
Are they natural or GMO?
Let’s dispel one of the biggest myths about these big, yellow beauties: yellow watermelons are indeed natural. They have been cultivated for around 4,000 years and are thought to have originated in Africa. Yellow watermelons tend to be more drought-hardy, earning them the unofficial title of “desert kings.” The most popular unmodified heirloom variety of watermelon is the Mountain Sweet, which produces very large fruits in 100 days. There are a few others that ripen earlier than that, so if you have a shorter growing season, don’t fret!
What’s the difference between yellow and red watermelons?
There are definitely a few key differences between red and yellow watermelons that boil down to the phytonutrients inside the fruit. Red watermelons get their color from a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is an organic pigment called a carotenoid. In the case of vegetables and fruits, it provides the edible parts with a red color. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that might help protect cells from damage.
The phytonutrient profile of the yellow variety is a bit different, however. Yellow watermelons don’t have the phytonutrient lycopene, but are they any less healthy? Not necessarily! These special fruits get their yellow color from a different phytonutrient that you’ve probably heard of – beta-carotene. Both yellow and red watermelons are also high in high in magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
What do yellow watermelons taste like?
The biggest difference between red and yellow watermelons is simply their color. Like a red watermelon, the texture of a yellow variety is still crisp, juicy, and sweet. They have a sweeter flavor to them, akin to honey. Ultimately, the flavors are extremely similar – you won’t likely notice a difference.
Where can you buy yellow watermelons?
Yellow watermelons are often available in grocery stores and in farmers’ markets, especially as the summer begins to turn into fall and the melons come into season. Local farmers’ markets as well as major grocery chains, like Whole Foods and Kroger, will likely carry these delicious fruits. We definitely recommend calling ahead and checking with the produce department of your local grocery store to see if they have them in stock.
What varieties can I grow?
When it comes to yellow watermelons, you have a few different options to pick from, including hybrid and heirloom varieties. The following four are the most popular:
- Mountain Sweet Yellow is an heirloom variety that produces very large fruits in 100 days.
- Yellow Doll are one of the more common hybrids grown. They produce small, 6-pound melons after just 68 days.
- Lemon Krush is a hybrid yellow watermelon best suited for warmer climates, as it tends to be a long-season fruit. It is resistant to fungal infections.
- Yellow Baby is another hybrid that is easy to grow and eat. It has a very thin rind and doesn’t grow very many seeds inside of it. Fruits tend to grow up to 10 pounds.
- Desert King is favored by some because it is very high in the phytonutrient beta-carotene. The fruits look a bit more like a cantaloupe than a watermelon, but they still have that classic watermelon flavor.
Read More: How To Pick The Perfect Watermelon