Yellow-Meated Watermelons

While working in a Florida restaurant, I kept having trouble ordering a yellow-meated watermelon from my produce guy. He said he could never find one, even though I’d seen them in local markets. Finally it came out that with my heavy hill country Mississippi accent he thought I was ordering a melon from some mythical specialty locale in California: “Jala Meadad”.

He even wrote it down that way on his order forms.

Here in the Deep South yellow-meated season is short; you’ll rarely find them marketed before July or after August, and you’ll almost never find them sold in supermarkets, usually only at roadside produce stands.

The variety of yellow meats I find most often here in central Mississippi has broad dark green and light green stripes, though over in Clay County, Alabama, where they have the Clay County Yellow Meated Watermelon Festival, the eponymous variety is an almost uniform light green.

The flesh can range from pale yellow to deep gold. The best contain large brownish black seeds, seeds being an essential ripening agent for the fruit, whose flavor I find sweeter than the reds, offering notes of honey, apricot, and vanilla.

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