Japan is well-known for its expensive fruits. But we must admit that they have various special fruits, ranging from strawberries to Fuji apples. Of course, the most interesting fruit from Japan is the square watermelon. Hence, the square watermelon is praised as a status symbol.
The square watermelon has expensive prices at $100 on average in Japan, and up to $860 abroad. No wonder, Japanese people often use it as expensive gifts that appeal to wealthy or fashionable people. This fruit is so iconic, making it perfect for decorating and gift-giving. The square-shaped made it easier to transport, to be sliced without rolling from side to side, and to store these fruits.
History of Square Watermelon
A graphic designer, Tomoyuki Ono, had an idea for a square watermelon in 1978. Tomoyuki presented the idea in a gallery in Ginza, Tokyo, prior to patenting the idea in the United States. Although Tomoyuki had applied for and received a patent in the United States, others claim square watermelons were introduced in 1980 in Kagawa.
Where Square Watermelon Came From?
There is just one single grower of square watermelons in Zentsuji City in Kagawa prefecture of Japan. Other farms are just ordinary watermelon farms which use some innovative growing techniques to create square watermelons. Indeed, the square box used for growing is patented, thus Zentsuji are the only legal producers of square watermelons.
Yes, square watermelons are not genetically modified. It is simply a standard oval watermelon grown in a custom box. The young watermelon that is left in the box will naturally grow and take the shape of the cube. These fruits can grow because the boxes are made of glass so the sunlight can still reach them. The farmers usually allow the watermelons to grow to approximately 18-19cm before removing them from their box and being sold to stores and consumers.
Although it sounds simple, extra care is needed in growing square watermelons. The corners need to be filled evenly, and the lines need to be aligned, so they are parallel with the edges. Even a slight crack can ruin months of work, and any sick or blemish watermelons are discarded. This is why square watermelons are expensive!
How Does It Taste?
The most surprising fact of all, square watermelons do not taste great. The fruits need to be harvested before they ripe, meaning the inside of it was yellow and unpleasant to eat. However, it allowed them to stay perfect for longer. So people often used it as a lasting ornament instead.
Until recent times, square watermelons have grown in popularity. Hence, there are a lot of copycats from the original one in Japan.