Why Do People Put Mustard on Watermelon?

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Thanks to the light and sweet flavor of watermelon, the juicy fruit pairs well with myriad ingredients. This includes salty and savory foods, like feta cheese and fresh dill. (Hello, dreamy summer salad.) But have you ever tried watermelon with ... yellow mustard?

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Apparently, it's a thing. In fact, you might have heard of the combo if you frequently browse TikTok. Since the summer of 2021, watermelon with mustard has been trending on the platform — and folks are ​still​ obsessed with it. In fact, the hashtag "#mustardwatermelon" currently has 2.4 million views and counting.

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But why do people put mustard on watermelon, exactly? According to fans, the salty and peppery flavor of yellow mustard enhances the sweetness of watermelon. And when you consider the ingredients in the condiment, it actually makes sense.

After all, eating salt with fruit is a common practice, as the salt brings out the fruit's sweetness. The same can be said for spicy, peppery ingredients such as chili powder or ground black pepper. Yellow mustard happens to contain both of these flavor profiles, allegedly making it the ultimate sweetness enhancer.

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But here's where things get tricky. Yellow mustard ​also​ contains vinegar, which is extremely sharp and acidic. Your taste buds may or may not enjoy this flavor with watermelon, so it's something to keep in mind.

Regardless, if you're curious about the food pairing, be sure to try it with yellow mustard. It's said that other varieties, like Dijon or honey mustard, don't work well with the melon — though we certainly won't judge if you like it.

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What to pair with watermelon:

The mild and refreshing taste of watermelon pairs well with savory, salty, and sweet flavors. So, if watermelon with mustard isn't your thing, try it with these ingredients instead:

  • Honey
  • Fresh herbs, like basil or mint
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Brown sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar

As mentioned above, simple spices (think: salt and chili powder) also taste delicious with watermelon.

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