Heirloom watermelon from Iraq. Large 15-25 pound fruits are oblong with an excellent sweet flavor. The hard, light green rind makes it a good candidate for shipping, storing and farmers’ markets. Ali Baba watermelons are native to Iraq.
Ali Baba Watermelon History
Heirloom watermelon from Iraq. Large 15-25 pound fruits are oblong with an excellent sweet flavor. The hard, light green rind makes it a good candidate for shipping, storing and farmers’ markets. Ali Baba watermelons are native to Iraq. The company obtained the seeds through a partnership with Iraqi seed collector, Aziz Nael. Today the parental lineage of Ali Baba watermelons is believed to have been lost in Iraq due to war, but the seeds have been distributed to other online retailers across the United States to expand cultivation.
How To Grow Ali Baba Watermelon Seeds
Sow seeds 1/4 inch outdoors or ¼ to ½ inch deep in seed-starting pots indoors. If direct seeding outdoors, sow 4 to 6 seeds per hill, eventually thinning to 2 to 3 seedlings. Cool climates with short growing seasons, start seeds indoors 2 to 3 weeks before your last frost date. Plan to transplant seedlings into the garden about 2 weeks after that date. In warmer climates with long growing seasons, sow seeds directly outdoors 1 to 2 weeks after your last frost date, as long as the soil temperature has warmed to at least 70°F (21°C). Warmer soil helps prevent poor germination. Handle seedlings with extreme care when you transplant. Their roots are very fragile, so try not to disturb the soil when removing them from pots. After transplanting, cover the plants with row covers to keep pests at bay. Remember to remove the row covers when you see both male and female flowers on the vine, as pollinators will need to access the flowers.
Preserving And Storing
When freezing watermelon, cut the melon into two-inch cubes or slices. Place the pieces on a cookie sheet, so they don’t touch and freeze them so that the watermelon juice doesn’t make the chunks stick together. Once the pieces freeze, store them in an airtight container or freezer bag and set it in the freezer for around six months. Throw a few melon pieces into smoothies, on top of ice cream, or in a summer spritzer.
Most watermelon sorbets are made by freezing a watermelon pureé that is sweetened with a simple sugar syrup. While making the sugar syrup is easy enough, it takes some time to make and cool and then incorporate the syrup into your watermelon puree.
Ali Baba watermelons are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system and promote collagen production within the skin. The fruits also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that gives the flesh its red hue and has been shown to help reduce inflammation. In addition to antioxidants, the melons provide some magnesium, fiber, and potassium.
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