When I think about the summers of my childhood, I think about days spent by the pool or a playground, enjoying a piece of juicy, refreshing fruit. My favorite fruit to have as a snack on those hot summer days were large slices watermelon, dotted with little black seeds.

Recently, however, I have noticed that those seeds have disappeared from watermelons. So, I went on a quest to find out where they've gone, because without them, I'm a little confused as to where seedless watermelons are coming from. 

How seedless watermelons are made

According to Texas A&M's Agricultural Extension Service, it all has to do with the chromosomes of the watermelon. A regular seeded watermelon is a diploid or has two sets of chromosomes.

To make a seedless watermelon, the chemical colchicine is used to double the amount of chromosomes. When this four-chromosome plant is bred with a diploid, you get a triploid (three sets of chromosomes). This is what becomes the seedless watermelon. 

Got it yet? An episode of NPR's "All Things Considered" describes things a bit more simply. The seedless watermelon is "the watermelon version of a mule... it can't reproduce but it exists."

This means that if you want to grow your own seedless watermelons, then you're going to have to buy two different types of seeds. One with two sets of chromosomes and one with three sets.

Minus the black seeds, you might notice that a seedless watermelon still contains little white seeds. However, those aren't actually seeds —they're immature versions of the black seeds and are not able to reproduce.

Why seedless watermelons were created

watermelon, melon
Tess Wei

But why get rid of the seeds in the first place? Those seeds are iconic. Look at anything "watermelon flavored" and chances are its packaging contains a seeded watermelon. If someone makes a watermelon cake, then you can bet that there is some black seed decoration.

It turns out that most people want seedless watermelons because they are easier to eat, but then they complain that they don't taste as good as the watermelons of their childhood.

Arden Sarner

In fact, as reported by NPR, in a blind taste test between seeded and seedless watermelons, the seedless watermelons always won. Todd Wehner from North Carolina State's Department of Horticulture says that it's nostalgia that makes people believe seeded watermelons are better.

So next time you're at the grocery store or a farmers market, pick the perfect watermelon and reminisce over the watermelon seeds of summers past.