During the long summer days and nights, you could do much worse when it comes to refreshments than having a ripe, juicy watermelon. Melons are actually berries that grow as the fruit of a large flowering plant. There is proof that watermelons were cultivated in Ancient Egypt, and today they grow in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.
But knowing a thing or two about melons won’t count for much if you don’t know how to select the right one for your consumption pleasure. There is nothing more frustrating than lugging a huge watermelon all the way home, only to find out the fruit is dry and bland once you cut it open. If melons all look the same to you, worry not: here are six tips that will help you select the tasty, juicy ones out of the bunch.
1. Check out the bottom
Once you pull a watermelon off the vine, its ripening is done. Often, some of the watermelons are plucked a bit early in a hurry to get them to the market. If you observe the bottom of a melon, there should be a creamy patch there. The bigger and darker it is, the riper the fruit is.
2. Check out the color
Watermelons ready to eat should have a darker green color. Very light watermelons may not have ripened long enough on the vine. According to A Delightsome Life, the best ones have contrasting dark and lighter stripes.
3. Lift a few
Watermelons are primarily made of water. If one feels light for its size, it means is probably dry (and not very tasty). A juicy, ripe watermelon will feel a little heavier than it looks, so don’t hesitate to pick up a few for comparison – it might make all the difference in the world.
4. Check the shape and shine
The fruit should be oval and uniform. If the melon has bumps, lumps, and indentations, skip it. If a watermelon has an even shape and coloring, it means it got enough sun and water to grow and ripen properly. Ripe watermelons shouldn’t be shiny – actually, the shine is an indicator the melon isn’t quite ripe.
5. Say no to stem
If the watermelon still has a stem on it, don’t bother. This means it didn’t come off the vine easily so it wasn’t quite ripe. You could look for a melon with a slightly indented end where the stem would have been – this indicates the melon fell off the vine on its own when it achieved ripeness.
For some, knocking on watermelons is the best method of selection, for others – pointless theater. According to What About Watermelon, this approach is pointless and the shopper would be much better off to look at the shape and color instead of listening for a hollow sound.
White On Rice disagrees, claiming that the watermelon should be held like you would cradle a baby and given a good thwap – if the melon is good and ready, you shall feel the vibrations in your bottom hand.