Is there a better summer fruit than watermelon? Of course not. Picking out the perfect watermelon at the store can be challenging though – how do you select a perfectly ripe watermelon that’s ready for your next picnic or barbeque? Turns out, it’s not nearly as challenging as you would think. Of course, everyone has their own technique to test out watermelons when they’re picking one at the store. This can include thumping the fruit, pressing on the outside to see if there’s a little give, and even sniffing the fruit.
If you’ve tried all of these techniques and still ended up shrugging and just grabbing a watermelon, hoping for the best when you get it home to cut it up, here’s a fail-proof way to pick out a ripe watermelon.
Look at the fruit’s field spot. The field spot is the lighter area of the melon where it rested on the ground when it was growing. It’s noticeably lighter because it’s been sitting in the field on that side. But how can that predict how ripe the fruit is? Most agree that choosing a watermelon with a golden creamy-yellow field spot means it’s the best fruit. The darker that color, the longer it was ripening on the vine and getting sweet. Avoid those that don’t have a field spot or that have a white spot, which means it was picked too soon.
Check out the webbing. While you might try and grab the watermelon that looks the most pristine, without any marks on it, there is actually something to the webbing, or lines, that you’ll see on the outside of the fruit. These scars indicate the number of times bees touched the flower while the fruit was growing and, with more pollination, the watermelon is typically sweeter.
Gender matters. Turns out, there are ‘boy’ watermelons, that are longer and taller, and ‘girl’ melons, that are shorter and rounder. The girls are sweeter, but the boys are more watery. Additionally, heavier watermelons have more water and are juicier.
Fruit size is a consideration. You may be inclined to pick the biggest watermelon you can heft, or assume that a smaller, more compact melon is sweeter. It’s best to choose a watermelon that’s neither too large nor too small, because the best ones are just average sized.
Does it have a tail? Whether or not the watermelon still has a stem intact can be a good indicator of ripeness. The ones with dried stems usually taste better than those with a green tail, which indicates it was picked too soon.
Those commenting on the YouTube video offered their experience with selecting a ripe watermelon, with one commenter explaining their personal experience:
“I actually used to work part-time at a farm where we used to pick watermelons when I was in high school. The knocking is not pointless. If you knock the watermelon in the middle and it sounds hollow like an empty wooden box, it is ripe. If it sounds like a solid noise it’s unripe. The farmer’s family taught us that they had been growing watermelons for 5 generations.”
Another commenter offered a tip that probably many follow:
“My tip: Knock on the watermelon and pretend like you know what you’re doing.”