Watermelons are a quintessential summer fruit, celebrated for their juicy and refreshing taste.
However, the experience of biting into a slice of perfectly ripe watermelon begins with knowing how to select the ideal specimen from the grocery store or farmer's market.
With the peak of the season and so many melons to choose from, making the right choice to pick a good watermelon can feel overwhelming.
Our comprehensive guide will give you all tips and tricks on how to pick watermelon.
⬇️ Table of Contents
- 🍉 Pick a Ripe Watermelon: Look, Lift, Turn
- 🔍 Identifying the Perfect Watermelon
- ⚖️ Feel the Weight
- Give It a Thump!
- 🐝 Sugar Spots and Pollination Points
- 🍉 Cutting and Storing Watermelon
- 🥒 Don't Forget the Rind
- 🍉 Seedless Watermelons: A Convenient Alternative
- The Nutritious Punch of Watermelon
- Wrapping Up: The Art of Picking the Perfect Watermelon
🍉 Pick a Ripe Watermelon: Look, Lift, Turn
To choose a good watermelon, start with its outward appearance. A ripe melon should have a uniform shape, whether it's round or oblong. Avoid watermelons with cuts, dents, or soft spots. These could indicate an overripe or damaged fruit.
Next, lift the watermelon. Since watermelons are 91 percent water, a ripe one should feel heavy for its size, even if it's a small, 20-pound watermelon.
Then, turn the melon to inspect its underside or the ground spot where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. A ripe watermelon will have a creamy yellow spot or ground spot, also called a creamy yellow spot or the "field spot."
The riper the melon, the more water, and the darker the ground spot. A white or green spot indicates the melon is not yet ripe.
🔍 Identifying the Perfect Watermelon
When you're at the grocery store or farmers market, you may wonder, "How can I tell if a watermelon is ripe?"
The first step is to observe the melon's appearance. An overripe or underripe watermelon may lack the sweet, refreshing flavor you seek.
Look for the Field Spot
A ripe watermelon will typically have a green stem and a noticeable field spot—this is part of the stem of the watermelon that sat on the ground as it ripened in the sun.
When ripe, this "ground spot" should be a creamy yellow. The watermelon is likely underripe if the tip of the ground spot is white or non-existent and won't be as flavorful or sweet.
Check the Appearance
A shiny green watermelon is usually not ripe enough. Instead, opt for watermelons with soft spots and a dull skin color.
The shape also matters: while watermelons can be round or oval, they should be symmetrical. Irregular bumps or dents indicate that the watermelon received inconsistent amounts of sunlight or water, which might affect its taste and texture.
⚖️ Feel the Weight
Believe it or not, the weight of a watermelon is a great indicator of its ripeness. A ripe and heavy watermelon is dense and full of juice, which means it will feel heavy for its size. Compare different watermelons of the same size and pick the heaviest one.
Give It a Thump!
Many people swear by the "thump" test to check a watermelon's ripeness. When you thump or knock on a ripe watermelon, your knuckles should bounce off, and the melon should produce a deep hollow sound afterward. If the flesh feels mushy or soft, it's probably starting to spoil.
🐝 Sugar Spots and Pollination Points
Sugar spots are dark, rough patches or hollow points on the watermelon's skin where sugar seeps from the fruit.
While at first glance, they may seem like imperfections, these spots often indicate a sweet melon.
Similarly, dots in the melon with a line (not a scratch) on the melon's surface are pollination points; the more there are, the better!
🍉 Cutting and Storing Watermelon
Once you've picked your perfect watermelon, it's time to cut it up. Cutting watermelon into cubes or sticks, rather than the typical triangles, is a great way to make it easy to serve and eat. Always remember to use a sharp knife for crisp, clean cuts.
Store cut watermelon in the fridge in a large container for up to 5 days. Uncut watermelon can also be stored at room temperature for a few days, but it's best to refrigerate it as quickly as possible.
It's important to note that watermelons do not continue to ripen after being picked, so avoid leaving them out for too long.
🥒 Don't Forget the Rind
Consider giving it a second life instead of throwing away the watermelon rind. In southern culinary traditions, watermelon rinds are pickled and served as a delightful relish or condiment.
Although it may sound unusual, it's a delicious way to utilize every part of this wonderful fruit.
🍉 Seedless Watermelons: A Convenient Alternative
For those who find seeded watermelons inconvenient, seedless watermelons are a great option. However, keep in mind that "seedless" doesn't mean without seeds. These watermelons contain small, white, sometimes black undeveloped seeds that are safe to eat.
The Nutritious Punch of Watermelon
Apart from being a mouth-watering treat, watermelons also pack a punch of health
benefits. A typical serving contains only 106 calories and provides 27g of carbohydrates, 2g of protein, 1g of fat, 4mg of sodium, 1g of fiber, and a whopping 22g of sugar.
It's also an excellent source of hydration, as it's composed of 92 percent water content.
By picking a perfectly ripe watermelon from the bunch, you are not only enjoying its succulent, flavorful, sweet taste but also getting a good dose of nutrition!
Wrapping Up: The Art of Picking the Perfect Watermelon
Picking a ripe, juicy watermelon doesn't have to be a guessing game. Remember these tips the next time you're faced with a pile or bunch of melons, and you'll know how to pick a ripe and sweet watermelon.
Look at ripe watermelons for a deep yellow field spot, dull (not shiny) skin, green stripes, a uniform shape, and sugar spots or pollination points. The watermelon should also feel heavy for its size and sound hollow and deep when you give it a thump.
Remember that watermelons do not ripen further once off the vine, so it's best to refrigerate them quickly. And, before you discard the rinds, consider trying them pickled for a new culinary adventure.
Remember, sweet and juicy watermelon isn't just about luck; it's about knowing what to look for.
Armed with these tips, you can pick the perfect watermelon every time. Enjoy your best watermelon either in slices or cubes or even freeze it for a refreshing summer drink or watermelon slushie. The possibilities are endless when you start with a perfect watermelon.
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