Kids! Watch Out! It’s — God Help Us — a Watermelon Seed!

From a Washington Post article on the fact that now only 16% of watermelons sold in grocery stores still have those dastardly demons known as “seeds” (as in “seeds of evil,”  etc.):

The sea change is all in the service of convenience. “People don’t eat watermelon out of hand like they used to. They like to eat it in fruit salads,” said Robert Schueller, the public relations director for Melissa’s Produce, a California distributor that sells only 10 percent of its watermelons with seeds. “It’s a question of ease, time, and there’s the safety factor. Kids could choke on the seeds.”

I am trying to think up a sarcastic enough rejoinder for this, but I’m stumped. Feel free to supply one below. — Lenore

102 Responses

  1. When I had a European friend visit, she was greatly amused to see Americans spitting out watermelon seeds. In the Czech Republic, where she is from, people eat the seeds. I tried it. They are crunchy and good! I’ve been eating watermelon seeds ever since. Seedless watermelon is so much less flavorful. Why are people afraid of seeds?

  2. I guess kids these days aren’t smart enough to pick out the seeds first.
    That’s the first thing my kids do when they get a slice of watermelon. They spend a good 5 minutes making sure they get all the black seeds out. I refuse to spend more money on a seedless watermelon.

  3. Or a kid could put out another kid’s eye by spitting a seed at her!

  4. Slight marketing talk misfire there, I think. I’d blame instead the childhood myth that if you swallow the seeds a watermelon plant will grow in your stomach, so squeamish kids (and their parents, who think swallowing the seeds must be bad for you) don’t want seeded watermelon.

    My roommate says she never ate watermelon as a child as she was afraid to eat the seeds and didn’t want to spit them out– she only started eating watermelon when most watermelons were “seedless”.

    Of course, the end result of *that* is that her daughter won’t eat grapes anymore because she was told not to eat the seeds, so now she’s afraid of seeds too.

    But that’s not a modern phenomenon; it’s as old as, or older than, the fear of sitting on the toilet seat in a public restroom. And comes from the same store of long-held ladylike parenthood myths. *wink*

  5. I’m from Ukraine, and we spat the seeds too. They just don’t taste good, imo. But choke? Is it even possible?

  6. We buy whatever is cheap and the kids who are 3 and1 manage just fine. I don’t know about the fruit salad thing we eat it sliced and other people bring it sliced to playgroup. Never seen watermelon in a fruit salad but maybe that is regional.

    P.S. too make it taste sweeter sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on it.

  7. My grandmother (who is, incidentally, from the “Watermelon Capital of the World”) always told me when I was little that if you ate the seeds, a watermelon would grow inside you. So it stops that too, I guess. And thank goodness because clearly *that* was worth worrying about.

  8. Seedless fruit are hurting the honey/beekeeping industry, too. Seedless citrus are all the rage currently, and CA recently had a legal battle over whether or not citrus growers could ban beehives within a certain distance of their citrus groves (bees will easily fly over a mile for good forage). Thankfully, the legislators apparently enjoy their Orange Blossom Honey and suggested citrus growers net their trees if they wanted seedless fruit…

    When discussing the issue with an “old timer” in the bee industry about it, she proposed that it would just be easier to EAT the seeds. Having grown up removing citrus seeds, I was abashed at my lack of common sense on the matter. Mammals have been eating seeds of all kinds for millennia – many plants depend on it for seed dispersal. It was such the obvious solution – but our culture has gotten to the point where we often disdain the obvious solution in favor of the fashionable, unsustainable one.

  9. Be careful of choking on DEADLY watermelon seeds! Watch out for aspirin and vitamins too!! And not to mention bites of food. Please puree all ingestables.

  10. Eating seeds reminds me of watching a friend of my parents eating an apple. He ate the ENTIRE apple, stem, seeds, you name it. I asked him about it, and he said that as a POW (Viet Nam) you learn to appreciate what food you have and not waste anything.

  11. My first exposure to watermelon was through a friend of my mother’s and her kids when I as two. No one thought to tell me not to eat the seeds, and I loved it so much that I just gobbled everything up. Supposedly my diapers were fairly interesting for the next few days.

    Oh, and the experience scarred me horribly and I still can’t eat any sort of fruit.

    Oh, wait. No, I made that last bit up.

  12. Watermelon seeds are way too small to choke on.

  13. Agreed Kate, why don’t we just puree everything. That way there’s no chance of anyone, kids and parents from choking on solid foods. Food companies should also put warning labels and instructions on all their packages so that food is idiot proof. People will be able to know ALL the dangers that MIGHT happen, while teaching them how to properly eat. I’d say go as far as selling intravenous made food. That way they don’t have to even swallow, but then again, it’s a needle. If they’re dumb enough to think they’ll choke on seeds, I’m sure they’ll be dumb enough to poke themselves in the eye.

    Dumb parents make dumb kids. nuff said.

  14. I personally buy only seedless watermelon for convenience (code: lazy) but worried about choking on the watermelon seeds? That’s a little silly.

  15. Kids could choke on the watermelon!

  16. Seedless oranges stink. They have no flavor. Give me a good ol’ seedy Valencia and I’m a happy girl. Likewise for watermelon. What’s the point? Half the fun of watermelon is either spitting the seed at each other or squishing them between your fingers at each other.

    Oddly enough, I never saw or heard of anybody putting an eye out with a watermelon seed. Come to think of it, I never heard of anyone choking on them either.

  17. I’m choking on that silly idea!

  18. Once, when Wilson accidentally swallowed a watermelon seed and cried because he was afraid that a watermelon plant would grow inside him, Chester swallowed one, too.

    “Don’t worry,” said Chester. “Now if you grow a watermelon plant, I’ll grow one too.”

    –Kevin Henkes, Chester’s Way

  19. watermelon is popular in fruit salad in australia and also diced in cubes in lunchboxes, so I imagine we prefere the seedless varietys.

    I dont like the seeds, as the kids try to pick them out, then destroy the piece of watermelon in the process, so if it is seeless easier to eat in my opinion, but I’m not scared of the kids eating the seeds or choking…

  20. I thought it was MY grandmother who originated the myth of a watermelon growing inside you! She also told me that if you swallow gum, it will stay in your stomach forever. For years I visualized and worried about the growing collection of gum in the pit of my stomache. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s when I realized the absurdity of that notion. Did anyone else ever hear THAT myth from grandma?

  21. I take the evolutionary view in matters like this.

  22. Soylent Green, anyone?

  23. I would be really interested in seeing a documented case of someone choking to death on a watermelon seed. LMAO

  24. Personally, I think that seedless watermelon is an abomination in the sight of the Lord, but that’s just me.🙂

    I won’t touch it without the seeds. Spitting ’em is too much fun.

  25. I have always eaten the seeds. Seedless watermelons are broken! I can see an advantage to seedless grapes since the seeds are bitter, but watermelon seeds are great. Might as well get seedless pumpkins rather than roasting the seeds Nov 1st.

  26. Hear, hear! Another seed eater! Aren’t they good?

  27. Wow! That PR director is worth every penny! Such creativity! He slipped in a little bit of fear marketing where it might go unnoticed by some. Justify the price premium of seedless (90% of their volume) over seeded with a quick fear-pitch.

    One might even try to sell yogurt by emphasizing the low-choking risk. I would bet you could choke on yogurt if you were completely paralyzed, and you could possibly become paralyzed at the same time you were eating yogurt, so I think a highly trained actuary could generate some estimated value for such a risk.

  28. Eating whole slices of watermelon (seeds or not) leads to stickyness… which could attract insects like mosquitos… which can carry West Nile Virus… which could kill you. So we should outlaw all fruits unless conveniently precut (so we don’t hurt ourselves with knives, let the “professionals” handle that)… into tiny, choke-proof pieces… or pureed like others recommended. (Good Grief!!)

  29. One of my favorite childhood memories is standing on the rail of my grandparents’ deck and spitting watermelon seeds over into the garden. My parents were horrified, but my grandfather encouraged this! It was such a great moment of rebellion, such a bonding moment, and one of my fondest memories of my grandfather.

    I can’t believe that if I was a kid today, I’d have to eat seedless watermelon with a fork while sitting at the table.

  30. BTW, along these lines I highly recommend The Unexpectedly Bad Hair of Barcelona Smith

    Barcelona Smith has never been one to take risks. He keeps himself at a safe distance from life’s dangers—flowers and cuddly pets included.

  31. I didn’t start buying seedless watermelon until I got married and that was what my husband strongly preferred. Not being big into watermelon myself, the difference hardly matters to me.

    Now I almost never see seedless watermelon. Just seedless and those miniature ones that are even more overpriced.

  32. My kids swallow the seeds all the time. They think it is funny because of the old story “a watermelon will grow in your tummy” story!

    I do tell them they they may not want to swallow all of them because it could cause a tummy ache, but they keep doing it when they think I am not looking.

  33. Um, maybe it’s just a Texas thing, but how, exactly, can you have a watermelon seed spitting contest with seedless watermelons?

  34. OK, nobody else has asked — how the heck can you have a seed-spitting contest if your watermelon has no seeds???

  35. Oh, my!!! They might choke… Or worse yet, Spit them!!!

  36. And watch out for those watermelons growing in the tummies of unsuspecting toddlers who inadvertently swallow the seeds without choking!

  37. I also let my daughter eat the produce from the farmer’s market as soon as we purchase it – GASP – before it is washed!! (Yes even in Asia- she would eat the carrots from the street vendors the instant the coins had left my hands). shh… and she ate peanuts when she was one. Yeah, I am a bad, bad mom.

  38. I agree seeded watermelons are more flavorful. We have a hard time finding the seeded kind. I actually looked for a seeded watermelon and had my kids see who could spit the seeds the farthest off our deck. At first they looked at me like I was crazy, but who doesn’t like to spit watermelon seeds. That was the best part as a kid, spitting the seeds afterwards to see who could get the farthest.

  39. Speaking of peanuts, my son’s school has an absolute NO PEANUTS rule. NO ONE can have peanuts, period.

    So basically, the entire school has to suffer because a couple kids may have an allergy. Well, how can they possibly make it all the way to elementary school without ever touching a peanut product? The way see it, if little Tyler knows he’s allergic to peanuts and eats one anyway, then he fully deserves whatever happens to him. Evolution is a real bitch.

    Where does it stop? Plenty of people are allergic o things beyond peanuts. Should the kids basically eat Soylent Green on the off chance that one of them is evolutionarily unfit?

    And… I know I’m reaching here… but perhaps simply keeping an epinephrine syringe handy? Especially when the paramedics are quite literally 2 blocks away?

  40. @Anthony – How old is your kid? I think you’re right about elementary school and beyond, but before that, they are too young to handle it consistently. As the parent of a picky eater, I hear you about the pain of no nut products, but lived with it when my kids were younger because a local student with a nut allergy did die when eating a product produced in a factory with nuts. She was within 5 miles of a hospital. We need to teach kids what they are capable of learning, but not expect more from them than are capable of developmentally.

  41. @Susan, 8.5. And yes I did mean elementary school. I’m all in favor of keeping them out of preschools but at a certain point… you know? The gene pool needs all the chlorine it can get!

    (Don’t get me started about the 6 teenage kids who knew they could not swim but decided to wade in a RIVER!!)

  42. My dad scared me with the watermelon-growing-in-your-belly thing when I was a kid, and to this day I still can’t bring myself to eat the seeds. (Not because I’m still scared…I just don’t like hard crunchy bits in my watermelon.) But I have no problem taking the time to pick them out of a seeded watermelon, or spit them out, depending on where I’m eating it. My mom also used to tell me that eating the white part of the rind would make me sick. (I still do it.)

    My daughter, who will be 3 in a few days, has been known to snarf down slices of watermelon, seeds and all, and then practically gnaw the rind down to the outer shell almost before anyone can blink. Guess I’m a bad mother too for letting her do it, but she just LOVES her watermelon! :o)

  43. I was told that you can get pregnant by swallowing watermelon seeds. 🙂

  44. I wouldn’t eat apple seeds because they contain cyanide (that’s why they’re bitter) but I can’t imagine watermelon seeds would hurt anyone. I’m sure I’ve swallowed more than a few in my life without choking or otherwise damaging myself.

  45. One does not have to injest a peanut to have a strong allergic reaction. You could argue that they’re going to have to learn to negotiate life around nuts when they’re adults- but as adults they’ll have more freedom to stay away from or leave places where there are peanuts. In school, they don’t have that choice. It’s a matter of balancing the right of one child to attend a public school with the rights of all the other children to eat peanuts. One kid vs. many, but the right of school vs. the right of peanuts. For me, the right to attend school trumps the right to eat peanuts.

    I just wish everyone would respect my right to not get a headache and stop using perfume… (I’m mostly joking with this one- I can usually leave the area and get some fresh air)

  46. Hmmmm I wonder if the seeds would grow inside the children now adays? I dont know with those evil pestisides mutated all the seeds now a days *rolls eyes*.🙂

  47. ok, here ya go: “A far lesser danger than that of choking on alarmist corporate b.s.”

  48. I thought the danger of eating watermelon seeds was that a huge watermelon would then grow in your stomach. At least, that’s what my older brothers said.

    I’d almost forgotten the importance of watermelon seeds to a kids’ picnic. It’s no wonder today’s kids need so many material things.

    But I must say, my eldest kid won’t eat something if she thinks it might have a seed in it. She’s kinda weird that way. Please don’t tell her that bananas and strawberries have lots of seeds . . ..

  49. Kate and EricS, you’re not thinking clearly. I choke on drinks ALL THE TIME. Nothing is safe to put in your mouth. The intravenous thing sounds like the safest option to me. We’ll just have to install those blood vessel catheter thingies into everyone so there aren’t any needles.

    PS I hate watermelon and all other melon varieties.

  50. My elders, parents, uncles, grandparents told all the children they’d get pregnant if the swallowed a watermelon seed. The younger ones didn’t know the meaning of the word, and the older boys couldn’t understand how it was possible for them.
    My Mexican friends make no fuss about the seeds, add a dash of chili sauce and devour. A few seeds are usually saved and dry-toasted for later snacks.
    We all eat the melon from crescent-shaped slices, and have yet to see choking on seeds.

  51. Sarcasm: “Oh yes, because we all learn about all the horrible deaths for all those years over the means that is the watermelon seed.”

    As a kid, I ate a ton of watermelon, but I never once choked on a seed. I spit them at people, but I never choked on them.

  52. Our CSA box included a seedy watermelon in it last week (with yellow flesh – that sort of creeped me out – mus tbe an heirloom variety).

    My 6th grader wasn’t bothered at all by the yellow flesh, but had never seen brown seeds in watermelon (I can’t find any seedy watermelons at the stores), and he didn’t have a clue what to do with the seeds.

    “Spit em’ of course!” He looked at me like I had two heads, then grinned broadly. “Outside!”, I replied.

  53. I would only buy the seedless type for making salsa or a drink. Eating them as fruit means making a mess. The best one I ever had was fresh out of the community garden. We ate them over the compost bin, seeds and juice everywhere.

    My Aunt Ann had a better one: seeds give you appendicitis. That’s got a kernel (hah!) of truth in it, since one theory is that we have an appendix to catch all the rocks, seeds, and junk we used to eat as hunter-gatherers. Now people get diverticultis and other problems that might come from our wimpy seed-free diets. I personally try to ingest popcorn kernels and other hard seeds regularly.

    I also think it is because the seeds are so obvious: black, hard,shiny and big (making them fun to spit). We think nothing of eating cucumber seeds, which are also pretty big and even slimy.

  54. Soylent Green…yum…NOT. Great Charleston Heston sci-fi movie to rent. Netflix has it.

  55. I remember, way back when (4th grade, 1984) when watermelon – a big 12 pounder, chock full of real seeds (the hard, shiny brownish black ones – not those silly prepubescent flimsy white things the kids are calling seeds these days), was a HUGE treat — like a once a YEAR on-the-last-day-of-school treat. That big juicy green “baby” was my third grade sacrifical lamb – I think we might have been chanting and dancing circles around it as it was being sliced on the playground in late June. Back then – may of will recall – there was no designated “snack” time during the school day. If a teacher found you to be obedient and well-behaved you “earned” a pretzel stick from the jar on her desk; and man was that a treat – I used to suck on those all morning. For the rest of us, you ate your packed lunch and that was it. If you were lucky your mom signed you up for Friday pizza lunch (btw – a sad square of bread with an even sorrier combination of “sauce” and poorly melted cheeez – but how proudly we all carried our trays with that “prize” atop) – ice cream was a bonus; not a given (and also not a massive big-as-your-7-year-old-face dietary monster as I’ve recently noticed in my kids’ school cafeteria).

    All of the fun that is/was a watermelon … it’s just gone … how do we get it back?

    Apologies for the nostalgia — apparently it’s human nature and all that criticizing of my parents and grandparents is seriously catching up with me … and turning me into them.

  56. But how are kids supposed to learn to shoot watermelon seeds at their little brother? At least this is what my brother and I would do. We would store the seeds in our cheeks as we were eating the water melon and then we would shoot them at each other. THOSE where fun days. I still LOVE shooting ppl with watermelon seeds– I need to practice more, my aim is not as good

  57. I think the seeds served a real purpose … we would have all gorged ourselves onthe delicious and unheard of watermelon treat had it not been for the necessary breaks to expel those big slimy seeds (hence the development of seed spitting contests me-thinks).

  58. the peanut allergy is no joke if you saw the state my daughter was in after one of her pupils ate snickers in the IT room she works in you wouldn’t think so either

  59. I guess the best solution is to stop feeding kids anything because there’s a real danger that they choke on anything they put in their mouths…

    Intravenous feeding is the way of the future! Just wait a couple of years and that will come to be😉

    The US is a sad, sad world…

  60. My kid doesn’t mind the seeds in watermelon, as I infuse it liberally with vodka.

  61. A funny (supposed to be true) story I heard: a kid was told by his mom not to eat a watermelon seed because it would grow in side of him- Later that week while shopping with his mom he saw a very pregnant woman next to him in line- he looked at her belly, looked at her and in a very serious (and, of course, loud) voice said “I know what YOU’ve been doing!”. Mom was properly horrified.
    I love watermelon with seeds.

  62. We actually had watermellon eating conests where I grew up, and at a public fair! 20 kids would line up at a time and try to finish theirs the fastest. If you were squeemish about the seeds, you simply would not win. Maybe two judges watching, and no one ever choked.

  63. We bought two watermelons this summer in denmark, one seedless and tiny at the supermarket that was about 4 lbs, and one 20lb seeded watermelon from the turkish greengrocer down the street.

    The seeded watermelon was more flavorful and juicier and we ate it quicker than the seedless one.

  64. Christ on a cracker…this is taking things to an extreme! Although my daughter doesn’t particularly like watermelon seeds, I either try to take them off, or tell her to just spit them out. In fact, that’s what we loved to do as kids: eat the watermelon and spit out the seeds. One time, I even tried stringing them into a necklace (crazy things we do as kids). Don’t ever remember anyone choking on watermelon seeds.

    And does anyone remember this little ditty (sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques”)

    Watermelon, watermelon
    How it drips, how it drips
    Up and down my elbows
    Up and down my elbows
    Spit out the pits, spit out the pits

  65. This is just plain nonsense. Why not ban pomegranates, because by God, the darn things consist entirely of seeds on the inside. Shouldn’t that be the obvious next step?

    And I, for one, enjoy nibbling on the seeds, they have a pleasant nutty flavor that actually goes well with the watermelon’s own taste, and they are also said to be a digestive stimulant… and they contain a variety of beneficial substances and vitamins:

    http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/nutritional-watermelon-seed.php

    They’re particularly high in protein, and minerals like zinc and iron. All of which are highly recommendable as part of your kid’s diet…

    And let’s be honest — how many kids do you actually KNOW that have choked on the seeds? And even if there ever were any, how many of them ended up in ER, and could not be relieved of their distress by a good old pat on the back?

    Fear and superstition once again trump over common sense.

  66. I was never clear if gum stayed in your stomach forever or grew a gum tree. Meanwhile I’ve been trained to spit out watermelon seeds for so long it never occurred to me to eat them… but I’m not a big fan of watermelons so it doesn’t come up often.

    I do hate seeded grapes in general.

  67. This has nothing to do with watermelon seeds, but I wasn’t sure where else to leave the comment.😉

    I was watching t.v. with my two kids yesterday, since it was 102 degrees outside and just sitting out side made you sweat. We were watching the Disney Show Phineas and Ferb. It occurred to me that they were the poster children for Free-Range. Have you ever seen the show? It is pretty funny. They go all over the world, and build all sorts of dangerous inventions, all without the supervision of their parents.

  68. Purely out of curiosity, I googled “watermelon choke death” and came up with ONE instance (in a forensic museum somewhere) of a child choking to death on a watermelon seed. I wonder how many billions of children have eaten watermelon WITH seeds, and only one fatality…
    “Oh, even one is too many….”
    Sorry, but we cannot remove ALL hazards.

  69. I buy seedless because I personally don’t like the seeds but worried about my kids choking???? Not even a little bit.

    I was laughing hysterically at the idea of packaging all food with a warning label “caution, you may choke if you use this product properly”. I still can’t get over McDonald’s having to label it’s coffee with “warning, the beverage you about to enjoy is HOT”. No kidding..it’s coffee. If it was cold, I’d complain.

    The one and only time I ever did choke was on a teeny, tiny crumb of a blueberry muffin. There was no warning label on that…maybe I should sue??? (joke)

  70. WARNING: TO AVOID CHOKING HAZARD, WATERMELON MUST BE CUT IN VERY SMALL CHUNKS BEFORE ADDING TO FRUIT SALAD. IF CHOKING OCCURS, TAKE CHILD TO NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM.

  71. This really is a produce-related expression of Biblical direction that would mean that American argiculture has heard Glenn Beck’s exhortation that we as a nation take “God 101.”

    Genesis 1:28 is God’s direction to Adam: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” So really, the seedless watermelon can be seen as a sacred mission and a demonstration that our dominion over the world extends even unto the lowly melon.

    Even a rationalist like Kant would call the seedless watermelon a “categorical imperative” as a moral demand that we must create it because we can as an expression of our humanity.

    It is also an expression of our free will. As Aquinas wrote, “But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought.”

    So, despite the fact that one can find theological and philosophical support for the seedless watermelon, I will ultimately side with the argument of free will (As expressed by Nietzsche who argued that free will is best expressed when adversity — seeds–can be turned to advantage–seedless fruit salad) and embrace my God-given power to spend 39 cents a pound for a whole watermelon with seeds, versus the $3.99 a pound for the pre-sliced, refrigerated wedge of seedless watermelon so temptingly offered me by Whole Foods.

  72. My grandma used to tell me that if I took the seeds and stuck them on my forehead and gave them all names of boys, then the last one to fall off would be the boy that I would marry. Hehehe. My grandma was silly. 😉

  73. My tbought is–how do they pick the seeds out? Do they bust the thing open & then put it back together after they’re done? That’s not a job I’d like.

    Haha.

    Sorry but you can’t eliminate every risk, & you shouldn’t even if you could. Yes you’d still be alive, but what kind of life would it be?

    I’m 41 & can remember riding in the back of my father’s, uncle’s and grandfather’s open-bed pickup truck–at highway speeds. So fun it was. Yes I belt my kids in, but I don’t think doing that was wrong.

    The robbery of childhood fun occurring today is downright criminal. I support every means of opposing is.

  74. So basically then everything is a choking hazard? Ugh.

    And, just as an aside, isn’t fruit supposed to have seeds so, just a guess here, that it can reproduce and we can have more fruit? Are they actually engineering this lovely summer snack without seeds now? Wouldn’t that result in no more watermelons? Guess that will solve that choking problem.

  75. The choking hazard is only minor, the real hazard is of course that the seed starts growing and that the poor child will end up with a melon in the stomach.

  76. That’s so crazy! A year or so ago I went to the store with the purpose of buying a watermelon so the kids and i could have a watermelon seed spitting contest. Fun right?? Well it would’ve been if I could’ve found one! Grr..so disappointing!

  77. @Shar_B – Yeah. I was thinking that it’s probably as much about agribusiness controlling their patented watermelons as it is about the ease of a watermelon without seeds.

  78. I’m Utterly shocked (!)that no one has mentioned the possiblity of children drowning while eating watermelon, it has to be right up there statistically with choking on the seeds 8?

    by the way apple seeds do not contain cyanide, they contain a chemical that in certain cases can be broken down into cyanide. not eating them because of the cyanide “risk” is like not drinking water because of the hydrogen “risk”

  79. The people who only eat watermelon sliced in salads are obviously not from the south. We still love a good, cold watermelon on a hot day, eating it right off the rind. And it’s not just the kids who have seed spitting contests. I don’t even like watermelon, never have, spitting the seeds is the only reason I eat it!

  80. I will start a list of all of my friends who choked on watermellon seeds. It will be as long as the list of one eyed friends who ran with pencils.

    Oh the joy of spiting seeds at friends, gone forever.

  81. I’m doing a paper on the backlash of overparenting, and I just wanted to let you know that you’re one of my inspirations for taking a stand against overprotective insanity from parents these days. Thanks for that! I hope that when I’m a mom in the future, I can be comfortable with allowing my kids to have a life and not hover around them 24/7.

  82. That should be no surprise…it’s a CALIFORNIA company!
    Kids can’t wipe their own butts until they reach five years of age if they survive all the other “dangers” here in California.
    OK, a tad exagerated, but after moving here from NY state, I can’t believe some of the so-called “safety measures” that are in place here.

  83. Watermelon seeds are SLIPPERY. If the children spit them out on the floor, for instance at, or near the top of a steep staircase. Why, someone could slip on that seed and fall down the stairs and break their neck!

    As an aside, seedless watermelon is grown with seeds. Where do those seeds come from? (look it up on google, it is pretty interesting, and re: a previous post, BEES are still involved in seedless fruit pollination. It is CROSS pollination that the orange growers worry about.)

  84. Shar B, to my knowledge most seedless fruits are actually natural mutations, not “developed” in the way I suspect you’re thinking. Because plants aren’t animals, they can reproduce via cloning (and by that I mean “in a time-honored way that’s been going on for thousands of years” – there’s nothing new or scary about it!) This DOES reduce genetic diversity, which isn’t good (think “Irish Potato Famine”, except that watermelons aren’t a staple food), but from a marketing point of view it isn’t *bad* either – you get a consistent product without seeds. (Actually, it’s not just seedless fruits that are primarily grown from cloning methods, because growing from seed can be chancy with a lot of them. Take apples. You bite into your granny smith, plant the seed outside, and 20 years down the line you might get yummy apples. Or you might get hard, small, sour, icky apples. Either way, they won’t be granny smiths, because those don’t breed true.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seedless_fruit

  85. i will say i recently had a friend hospitalized, & surgery conducted due to issues created by a watermelon seed.
    it was labeled in the store as seedless but wasnt . alas a minority situation but labeling for those who have an issue isnt outside logic

  86. You can make pretty good bread with watermelon seeds or pumpkin seeds.
    Seriously, people are forgetting the normal shapes and tastes of foods. In most of any places you’ll find watermelons with seeds and whatever else that should have seeds. Not only is it not dangerous to eat them, nature depends on them.

  87. Dave… at the risk of sounding insensitive, I have to ask… what sort of issue would make one CHRONICALLY unable to eat foods with seeds in them, and also unable to tell by looking that their watermelon was, in fact, seeded?

  88. @Anna – you’re quite right, impossible to have watermelon seed spitting contests when all the watermelons are seedless. Last year at my daughters’ summer camp the camp directors told us they had to contact practically every farm on our state and the next in order to find watermelons with seeds in for the seed-spitting contest! I have to say though that it’s a lot easier to make watermelon sorbet with the seedless variety. But for eating as slices, seeded is fine, since we all go outside to eat those anyway.

  89. how can you have watermelon spitting contests, and the resulting feral watermelons, without seeds???

  90. @Uly….People with diverticulitis should not consume foods with seeds; not even strawberries. Though whether doing so routinely causes a need for surgery…I don’t know.

  91. I want to see these watermelons with the giant choking-hazard seeds…

    We can all name exceptions where things are dangers to some people, but really, people should know to avoid foods that are bad for them. It will bring down the fast food industry!

    I have a friend whose boy has a sensory disorder and has difficulty with crunchy foods. She doesn’t seve him raw veggies because of this. He was at a friend’s house and tried to eat a raw carrot. It caused him lots of pain. Fortunately my friend didn’t blame the other kid’s parents.

    Does anyone remember when the watermelon flavored Tangy Taffy had the candy seeds? Why did those go away! Same reason?

  92. Anthony this is tone and attitude is uncalled for

    ?The way see it, if little Tyler knows he’s allergic to peanuts and eats one anyway, then he fully deserves whatever happens to him. Evolution is a real bitch.”

    The problem with peanut allergies is that many people who are allergic are allergic by touch. I don’t have to eat peanuts to die, I just have to shake hands with your child after he eats a granola bar. This is what scares the administrators witless.

    That said I am opposed to peanut bans in schools/public (planes/subs different because of recycled air) buildings. We who are allergic – have to learn how to deal. My school has several PA students, we have a set of very simple rules.

    1. The classroom of a PA child is peanut free. The child should be able to move around the classroom without fearing touching a surface is going to kill them.

    2. In the cafeteria child can get up and move without permission if someone sits down near them with a peanut product. If the product doesn’t seem at first glance to have peanuts the default is the kid is right and the teachers double check with parents and me later (certain fast food places use peanut oil for example and the average person is unaware)

    2A. You eat something with peanuts – you wash your hands. You eat a possible suspect food (most store bought cookies have may contain warnings for example) you wash your hands.

    3. Food provided by the school is peanut free. (Lunches, Field day treats, snacks during Test (bow down to the test))

    If the teachers aren’t sure if something is safe – they come ask me.

    The touch thing is also why I’m opposed to the bans. I fear that some day in a school like your child’s a PA child is going to die because the attitude “you can’t be having a reaction – this is a peanut free zone.” (I had teachers say similar things. Thank God my parents gave me full permission to defy adults like that or I would be dead at least 3 different times)

    What I see happening. Is your child lends Tyler a hoodie. A hoodie that you just washed in one of those good smelling laundry detergents. Thing is they use a derivative of the peanut protein in those detergents*. If Tyler is like me he can go into a full blown allergic shock from the contact.

    *According to the docs that treated me after I mysterious full on reaction while house sitting for my Aunt. The bed sheets cause the problem.

    Epi pen is not a be all end all cure. Some people can’t use it because they will go into cardiac arrest. You still have to go to the hospital and be monitored. Usually further treatment is involved.

    In Texas/my district teachers are NOT allowed to administer an epi. It has to be the school RN. We can shock a kids heart with the kit in the wall, but can’t used a pre-measured almost impossible to screw up epi. (kit is also pretty much impossible to screw up as long as you put the pads in the right place) I’m trying to get this law changed. Since they fear heart problems, maybe we should use the epi where the kit is stored.

  93. I don’t know either, Beth. Either way, it’s hard to miss watermelon seeds. If you can’t eat foods with seeds (and we’re not talking peanut allergies which, as has just been explained, can sneak up on you in strange places), shouldn’t you check your food before you put it in your mouth?

  94. I haven’t seen a “seeded” watermelon in stores for probably almost a decade. Seedless is all I ever see and all you can buy around here. I absolutely love watermelon, and also love the ease of eating it seedless…😉

  95. I usually buy the watermelons with seeds. I think they are closer to natural. What would you have to do to breed watermelon with no seeds? God made fruit with seeds.
    Also, we would miss a fun game if we got seedless watermelon–watermelon seed spitting! My kids all got first place at the fair a few years ago, then the contest was discontinued because it was thought that my kids had a “trick” to spitting the seeds the farthest.

  96. the seeds are the least of our worries–the REAL danger is the juice–and ALL watermelons have that. it drips down the face and arms and could attract bees, which could sting a child. that would hurt–but worse, the child could be allergic to bees. all this because of a watermelon. now they need to make juiceless watermelons.

  97. What would you have to do to breed watermelon with no seeds?

    Not very much, just a little bit of hybridization – the same thing that makes, for example, some of your favorite types tomatoes.

    When you cross watermelon plants with two sets of chromosomes with watermelon plants with four sets of chromosomes (both naturally occurring types of plants!), you get watermelon plants with three sets of chromosomes, which by their nature are infertile and don’t produce seeds. That’s all.

    God made fruit with seeds.

    And also the ability for humans to create fruit without seeds. For that matter, sometimes seedless fruits occur because of natural hybridization or natural mutations (look at grapes).

    Many types of plants have been endowed by nature with the ability to reproduce asexually, unlike us humans.

    Look, seriously, the “OMG! A WATERMELON SEED! YOU COULD CHOKE!” line is a bit of whaked-out nonsense, but there’s nothing scary or frightening or even particularly “mad science-y” about seedless watermelon. They’re not any less natural than the other type of watermelon (other than that all cultivated plants and animals are inherently “unnatural” because they’ve been created over generations of careful breeding) – and they’re a heck of a lot MORE natural than, say, the computers you and I are typing on.

    Ah, look, here’s a site I picked up from google, helpfully saying everything I just said. (Great minds and all that.)

  98. There’s inherent risks any- and everywhere.
    Even in melon seeds. Does that require anyone to stop eating them? Not so much.

    I lost a child in a drowning accident. Our 2 year old fell face down in a 2 inch water puddle in our yard. All it took was a mis-step, us looking in another direction for a minute and then it was over. It was a freak accident, one in a million (or so) chance of it happening at all.
    We have 5 other children. Despite the tragedy, I can’t keep them away from water. There’s a point in anyone’s life where you have to accept that it is risky to live. The next step is deciding on whether it’s to rule your life and have yourself wrapped in bubble wrap, or go on living.
    Melon seeds or 2 inches of water or not.

  99. […] Kids! Watch Out! It's — God Help Us — a Watermelon Seed … Genesis 1:28 is God's direction to Adam: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, […]

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  101. Somewhat late response here but there are 2 case series in the medical literature (one from Hong Kong and one from Turkey) with multiple cases of aspiration of watermelon seeds (85% of foreign body aspirations in children split between peanuts and watermelon seeds in the Hong Kong case series albeit, only 27 children in that series over >10 years with 1800+ cases reviewed in the Turkish series [the later looking at a wider range of foreign bodies in adults and children over a longer period of time]). While I’ve never heard of it happening either, as mentioned by multiple posters, it certainly seems to be a real (although obviously very small) risk. Won’t stop me from eating them but I don’t let my 2 year old eat the seeds (or any other food with enough potential risk, even if unlikely).

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