Few things are more disappointing than bringing home a tasteless watermelon, except maybe eating a pineapple that isn’t ripe, depending on your taste preferences. Avoid ever having to feel the remorse of wasting one again by learning how to pick a perfectly ripe watermelon from the bunch. A few simple visual and audible (yes, really) indicators are all you need to help ensure you leave the grocery store with the sweetest and most flavorful melon every time.
Look at the Stripes
The coloring of your watermelon helps indicate the ripeness of the fruit. You should pick a melon that has a strong, consistent stripe pattern. The green stripes should be a deep, dark green, while the pale stripes should be a creamy, light yellow. Additionally, you may want to choose a dull-looking watermelon. If the melon is very shiny, it is likely underripe.
Find the Field Spot
Probably one of the most important indicators of the quality of the watermelon is the field spot of the melon. Inspect your watermelon and locate a large, discolored spot on the surface, also known as the field spot.
This marking shows where the watermelon sat on the ground as it ripened. As a rule of thumb, the color should be a creamy yellow or near orange, which indicates a melon full of flavor. If it’s white or light yellow, you may want to choose another one. White field spots suggest that the watermelon lacks flavor.
Inspect the Stem
In order to choose a watermelon that has had sufficient time to ripen and mature, you will want to inspect its stem which should be dry and yellow-brown. A green stem may signify that the watermelon is not yet ripe and will lack flavor and sweetness.
RELATED: Surprise, Watermelon Is So Much Healthier Than You Thought
Knock On It
Though your fellow grocery shoppers may shoot you an inquisitive look, knocking on your watermelon may help you choose the best one. First, give your fruit a gentle tap and listen to the sound it makes.
If the pitch sounds deep and hollow, the fruit has more water and is likely riper. By contrast, if your knock sounds higher-pitched and denser, it may signify that your rind is too thick and your fruit has not fully ripened to its optimal state.
Check for Spots
Dry weathering spots and vein-like webbing lines are great indicators of an extra sweet watermelon. These spots show where sugar has been seeping out of the fruit. Thus, make sure to inspect all sides of your melon before you commit to one.
Choose the Heaviest One for It’s Size
Get a quick workout in while you shop and lift the watermelons at the store to pick the perfect one. When raised, they should feel heavier than they look. The denser it is for its size, the higher the water content, resulting in a sweeter watermelon.
Select a Rounder Shape
Look for a watermelon that is rounder and more evenly shaped, as opposed to an oval one. The rounder melons are sweeter, while the more oval ones tend to be watery and less flavorful. Also, make sure to inspect the surface for any irregular lumps and steer clear of those as well.
Buy When They’re In Season
As much as you may want to eat watermelon all year round, the best time to purchase this fruit is during its peak season, which lasts between May and September. Now get ready to pick the best of the best and try out one of these refreshing watermelon recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do watermelons ripen after picking?
Watermelons do not continue to ripen once harvested. Once they are separated from the vine, the ripening process stops. To reach their peak sweetness, watermelons must be harvested at just the right time so they are not under or over-ripe. When you choose a watermelon at the store, it is as ripe as possible. You cannot leave them on the kitchen counter and hope they will ripen with time, as you might with bananas or pears.
Should watermelon be refrigerated?
Refrigeration depends on the state of the watermelon. Whole watermelons should be kept on the counter at room temperature to maintain their sweetness and overall flavor. Once a watermelon is cut, it must be refrigerated to keep it from drying out and going bad.
How long do watermelons from the store last?
Uncut watermelons can last on your counter at room temperature anywhere from 7 to 10 days. But this changes once you cut into your watermelon. Once cut, watermelon is only good in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days before it starts to go bad.