Square Watermelon

Those clever Japanese farmers, always coming up with another way to make food aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. While browsing at Urban Fare, I glimpsed the future of fruit, Japanese-style: square watermelon.

Square watermelon!When I first saw the square watermelon, the immediate thought that entered my mind: genetically modified watermelon?! How did that get approved without me hearing about it? As it turns out, the watermelons themselves are entirely natural, their shape a product of the method used to shape the melon while it is still growing.

A farmer in Zentsuji, realizing the value of Japanese refrigerator real-estate, invented a way to create the fruit by growing them in glass boxes until they are 19cm square. The result is a cube-shaped fruit that fits easily on the refrigerator shelves of grocery stores and consumers alike with a minimum of wasted space.

The fruit don’t come cheap, with only 400 fruit available for purchase in the world this year. The Shima Oh variety shown at Urban Fare retail at CDN$ 99, so don’t expect to see it at your next barbeque. That said, it will be interesting to see what other fruit can be cubified using the same technique, if only for the potential to avoid fruit rolling down the grocery aisle.

Of course, the part I dread is the day they can make cubic fruit genetically, without the glass boxes.