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Mississippi watermelons: A great treat to beat the heat

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • Grab a watermelon from the grocery store and put it on ice. It will be chilled in time to enjoy while you’re watching fireworks tonight. 

In my humble opinion watermelon should be the official food of the Fourth of July. On a steamy hot day, there is surely nothing better than biting into a wedge of ice cold watermelon. Mark Twain even said those who have tasted watermelon “know what angels eat.” How fortunate we are in Mississippi that peak watermelon season runs from mid-June to mid-July, when temperatures are soaring. There’s just no better treat to eat on a hot summer day. 

Most large, seeded watermelons grown in Mississippi are Royal Sweet, 720 or Starbright. All have rich, red flesh that is sweet and juicy. There are also smaller “personal watermelons” and watermelons with yellow-flesh. But really, they’re all delicious. 

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, watermelon production, and consumption, has been on the rise in the past few decades. The organization estimates that Americans eat 15.5 pounds of watermelon per person each year. That’s a lot of watermelon seeds to spit out. 

Surprisingly Mississippi doesn’t produce as many watermelons as you may think. There are just a few dozen watermelon farmers in the state, and the output is less than one percent of the United States market share, according to USDA data. But there is plenty to go around, and for most people, the quality is more important than the quantity, and we grow delicious watermelons in Mississippi. 

They are so good, in fact, that they are celebrated with a festival each year in Mize, Mississippi. Mize is located in Smith County, which arguably grows the best watermelons on earth. For 46 years, the Mize Watermelon Festival has been held in downtown Mize, and it keeps getting bigger every year. This year’s festival will bel held July 19 and 20 and will feature some top-tier entertainment. 

Josh Gracin and Karley Nichols will perform on Saturday. Mike Cockrell from the Discovery Channel’s hit show Moonshiners will be at the festival. Mike is a Mize native, and he loves coming home to support the Volunteer Fire Department, the recipient of the proceeds of the festival. 

It’s not too late to enjoy a watermelon today. Grab one from the grocery store and put it on ice. It will be chilled in time to enjoy while you’re watching fireworks tonight. 

Top Ten Watermelon Facts

  1. You will not grow a watermelon out of your head if you swallow a seed.
  2. The U.S. Watermelon Speed-Eating & Seed-Spitting Championships held the first Saturday after Labor Day in September on the grounds of Chandler Park in Pardeeville, Wisconsin. There are rules. You can see them here (in case you want to hold your own backyard competition). 
  3. There is no wrong way to cut a watermelon. They are equally delicious cut into wedges, cubes, sticks, balls, or boats. 
  4. Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable, belonging to the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  5. Watermelons live up to their name. They are composed of 92% water. 
  6. Watermelons are grown in 96 countries.
  7. The heaviest watermelon recorded weighed 350.5 pounds, grown by Chris Kent in Sevierville, Tennessee. It was verified by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth on October 4, 2013. 
  8. Watermelon has only about 40 calories per cup.
  9. Watermelon does not contain any bad fat or cholesterol.
  10. In ancient Egypt, watermelons were placed in burial tombs to nourish the soul after they had passed.

Watermelon Lime Tajin Mocktails

And finally, here’s to the perfect Fourth of July drink from whataboutwatermelon!


  • 1 cup seedless Watermelon, diced and semi-frozen
  • 1/2 c Water
  • Juice from one Lime (or to taste), plus more for rimming the glasses
  • Pinch of sugar or honey (if needed)
  • Small Lime Wedge (for garnish)
  • Tajin Seasoning (for rimming the glass)


  1. Cut the watermelon into slices or “steaks” and then into cubes. Partially freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Using lime juice to adhere, rim the glass with Tajin seasoning. I find that placing the seasoning powder on a flat plate gives the most even coverage. Set aside.
  3. Add the watermelon, about half as much water, a pinch of sugar (or drizzle of honey) and lime juice (to taste) to the blender. Puree until completely smooth.
  4. Add to your mini glasses and garnish with a small wedge of lime.
  5. Serve immediately.

Writer’s Note: A little vodka, gin, or tequila wouldn’t hurt. 

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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