Cutting a big round watermelon is not so easy. Fitting watermelons in a small refrigerator or a rectangular box can sometimes be an uncomfortable task. And outside a box or crate, you can’t easily place one round watermelon on top of another, because they’re spherical.
Here’s where we pause to admire the Japanese once again. It’s not enough for them to be innovative in electronics, automobiles and all the areas that we know them to be, so they devised the perfect solution – cube-shaped watermelons.
More popularly known by the slightly erroneous name “square watermelon”, these watermelons don’t come cheap. Growing “square watermelons” results in higher farming costs so this is reflected in the price.
But it’s not just the farming costs. The Japanese have a different attitude to fruits in general so a custom-made square watermelon is treated like an ornament. The price is double or triple the price of a regular watermelon. Costing around $100 to $300 in Japan, they can cost as much as $800 outside the country or even reach the $1,000 mark!
One of the secrets for the high price of the square watermelon is probably the fact that the change in the watermelon’s shape is done by a physical process and not genetic engineering. The taste, texture and nutritional values remain the same with this process.
So this is how they do it: when a watermelon is still growing, Japanese farmers place the watermelon in a transparent glass box or an acrylic box. The box allows the fruit to receive sunlight and grow, while compelling the fruit to conform to the shape of the box.
This process is believed to have come from a farmer on the Japanese island of Shikoku, somewhere in the early 1980s.
Some Japanese farmers take this art a notch higher. They grow heart-shaped and pyramid-shaped watermelons which are quite appealing to the wealthy in society.
And some even grow watermelons with some kind of a human face. That’s sure to break some wallets if you get carried away by the beauty of it!