I’ve already eaten two watermelons this spring, and both were awful. The kids and my husband (who seem to have less discerning taste buds than I do) eat the watermelon. Although it’s a pain to lug a 10-pounder from the car and spend 15 minutes cutting it (then cleaning up the mess) only to discover the fruit is a little bland and dry.
Have you ever thumped 15 watermelons at the store, shrugged your shoulders and grabbed the one you thought just “might” be a good one? Stop thumping and shrugging. These tips should help you find the perfect watermelon.
1. Check out the bum
When you pull a watermelon off the vine, it’s done. It won’t ripen anymore. Farmers pluck some watermelons a bit early to get them to the market. The bottom of the watermelon should have a creamy patch without much tripe. The bigger and darker the patch, the better.
2. Check out the color
Watermelons should be a darker green. Very light watermelons may not have had enough time to ripen. Watermelons should have contrasting dark and lighter stripes.
3. Lift a few
Watermelon is primarily made of water. If a watermelon feels light for its size, it is probably dry, which won’t taste good. A juicy, ripe watermelon will feel heavier than it appears. Try picking up a few to compare.
4. Check the shape and shine
Watermelons should be oval and uniform. Skip the melon if it has bumps, lumps, and indentations. The melon’s coloring and shape are indicators that it got enough sun and water to grow and ripen properly. Ripe watermelons should not shine. The shine could be an indication that the melon is not quite ripe.
5. Say no to stem
If the melon still has a stem on it, move along. The melon didn’t come off the vine easily, indicating that it wasn’t quite ripe. Look for a melon with a slightly indented end where the stem would be. The melon will have fallen off the vine on its own.
6. What about knocking?
Knocking on watermelons is a surprisingly divisive topic. What About Watermelon explains that knocking is pointless. While you can knock and listen for a hollow sound, you’ll get better results by examining the color, shape and yellow spot.
White On Rice disagrees, saying that if you hold the watermelon like a baby and give it a good thwap, you’ll feel the vibrations in your bottom hand if the watermelon is right. Give it a whack, but look for the other signs as well.