Is there a fruit more associated with a season than watermelon? Maybe fall and apples but the red, sweet, dripping melon is an automatic taste reference point for hot summer days in July. Picking out the perfect watermelon for your BBQ or beach picnic can be tricky.
There aren’t a lot of outward clues between a sweet and juicy watermelon and a dry, cottony dud. So how do you pick the perfect summer watermelon? Do you just close your eyes and pick? No. There are a few things you can look for that will increase your chances of picking a ripe and ready winner.
Here’s a few tips on how to pick out the perfect, ripe, sweet, and juicy watermelon:
1. Pick it up. Small or large, it should feel dense and heavy.
2. Since you’ve picked it up to test the weight, turn it over and look for the patch mark where it’s sat in the field. If the mark is large, yellow-ish, and easy to stop, that’s a good sign that it’s been growing for awhile and wasn’t rushed to market. Avoid the melons where the spot is white or worse, non-existent.
3. Go for the ugly ones. You don’t want the unmarked (see above) or shiny melons. Those aren’t ripe yet. Seek out the ones that are more flat or matte colored and look for spots and veins. These are both indicators of a sweet melon where the sugar has leaked out of the fruit and onto the rind.
What about the knuckle method? You’re probably heard about, or seen someone at the store, rapping their knuckles on the rind to see if it sounds hollow, this method is more of an old wives tell and very subjective. It might work, it might not. Maybe use it as a tiebreaker if the three tips mentioned don’t lead you to the one perfect melon.