With summer around the corner, thoughts turn to barbeques and outside picnics… and the amazing fruit of the season. One signature taste of summer is always watermelon, but how do you pick a perfectly ripe fruit for the best taste? One farmer has offered up an expert opinion about picking the perfect watermelon and there are several tips that are guaranteed for the best results. Take the guesswork out of picking a ripe watermelon by following these guidelines:
Field Spot: If you’ve ever looked closely at a watermelon, you’ll notice there’s usually one area that’s a bit lighter in color than the rest of the fruit. There’s a good reason for that – it indicates the side the watermelon was sitting on in the field at the farm. But does it mean anything? Actually, the lighter area can be a clue about the ripeness of the fruit, as you’ll want to pick one that is more golden in color over one that is lighter, creamy yellow, or a yellowish orange hue. The darker the color, the longer it was on the vine getting ripe!
Shape: This is an interesting point… the shape of a watermelon indicates its gender, with “boy” watermelons being tall and oblong, and “girl” melons being rounder and more stout. Does the shape mean anything when it comes to taste though? Interestingly, the boy variety are typically more watery, while the girl watermelon will usually be sweeter.
Size: Yes, size matters. Many people want the biggest watermelon they can find, but bigger isn’t always better, as usually a more average sized fruit will provide the best taste. Look for something around mid-size when shopping and steer clear of the most impressive looking, sizewise. The watermelon should, however, feel heavy for its size, because it will be juicier.
Webbing: Another area to inspect is called “webbing,” which are the brown spots that look “web like.” There’s actually something to these webs, with many experts noting that these indicate that bees touched the pollinating parts of the melon’s flower many times and, the more pollination, the sweeter the fruit. You’ll want to look for that webbing when you pick your fruit and not disregard it as some type of blemish.
Tail: The tail of a watermelon, or the stem from which the fruit was picked, can indicate how ripe the fruit was. Here’s what to look for: a green tail may mean it was picked too soon and therefore not at peak ripeness and taste, while a tail that’s dried up, though it may look less appealing, means it has a better taste because it was allowed to ripen perfectly.
Among those who commented on the video about picking out the perfect watermelon, was one person who had some insight on how to “thump” a melon to find out if it’s ripe: “The tapping on the watermelon is a technique not easily mastered. The thomping sound with bass indicates more red watermelon, i.e. less of the white area under the skin. The less the white area, the sweeter the melon. The higher pitched the thomping sound… the less sweet it is.”