These days, seedless watermelon is king. It’s so prevalent, that I often get questions from watermelon lovers about where they can find watermelon with seeds. My answer is always the same: Start by asking your grocery store produce manager (he or she can usually point you in the right direction). If that doesn’t work, local farmer’s market is another good source.
But back to seedless watermelon. Specifically, where did it come from and how are they created?
AN IDEA THAT NEEDED A LITTLE MARKETING
Like the mustache I wore in high school, the seedless watermelon took a little while to catch on. About 40 years, to be exact. In the 1940s, a plant geneticist named O.J. Eigsti developed the first seedless watermelon. And, just like my teenage facial hair, nobody really took the Eigsti’s idea seriously.
The idea didn’t take off until 1980s, when the seedless watermelon was reintroduced and marketed to grocery store chains. But once the stores began stocking it, and Americans got their first taste of a watermelon without the pesky seeds, the seedless watermelon was here to stay.
HOW THEY’RE CREATED
Seedless watermelon are sterile hybrids created by crossing male watermelon pollen with female watermelon flower pollen. The result is a fruit containing small, white seed coats — or seedless watermelon.