Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Suika (watermelon)

Watermelon すいか。

The no. 1 summer fruit and symbol of summer itself is the suika, the watermelon. Watermelon is said to be good against summer fatigue and is full of refreshing juices. The rugby ball-sized fruit arrived around 1640 in Japan, via China, from Africa where it originates.

Food & sake
[Photo Ad Blankestijn]

Cultivation started in earnest around 1920 and although it can be grown from Okinawa to Hokkaido, major "suika" prefectures are Kumamoto, Chiba, Ibaraki and Yamagata. You will find it in shops from late June through August. Greengrocers sell whole watermelons, but supermarkets offer them in quarters or even smaller sizes.