How to Pick A Watermelon

Watermelon season is in full swing, here in Florida.  Trucks filled to the brim on the side of the road and market displays are stacked high.  So how do you pick the right one?

watermelon coverPicking perfect sweet and juicy treat can be intimidating.  I stand at the display not sure where to start and worried I will select another bad one.   There is an art of picking the perfect summer watermelon.

The secret is in the weight! Just as the name indicates, it is the juice or water weight that is a key factor in determining the ripeness of a watermelon.

watermelonI consulted with a couple of produce experts for tips in choosing the perfect watermelon.

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon

1. Pick-it Up:  First off, the bigger/larger the melon doesn’t determine the sweetness.  No matter the size, the watermelon should feel heavy.  You must pick-up a couple of melons, comparative in size,  and compare how heavy they feel.  Pick the heaviest.

2. Look for the Yellow Spot:  Watermelons develop a yellow patch where it rests on the ground.  When this area is a creamy-yellow it is ripe.  If the patch is more white, it is not ripe or did not ripen on the vine – decreasing the sweetness.

3. Give it a thump! :  I always see people at the market tapping on the melons, what are they listen for?  If you thump a watermelon on the underside and it sounds DEEP and HOLLOW it is ripe.  If the thumping is a dull sound, it indicates that the melon is under or over ripen.

These tips are the farmer’s standard.  You can also observe if the skin is dull or shinny and the firmness.  I have also heard of an unconventional ways such as the “straw test”.


Central Florida has incredible Farmer’s Markets around the city throughout the week. (Source)

Another great tip for upping your odds of picking the perfect watermelon is purchase it at a farmer’s market verses the grocery store.  The farmer’s market vendors are more conscious to bring the best and ripen produce to market, which increasing their sales.  Verses the grocery stores who purchase in bulk and suppliers will pick early leaving the melon to ripen off the vine. Resulting in a higher  odds of decreased sweetness.

If you do manage to pick a watermelon that isn’t sweet enough, no worries it is still fantastic and refreshing juiced.

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