How to Pick a Sweet Watermelon


Picking a sweet watermelon means picking one that has had sufficient time to ripen on the vine and therefore sweeten, without becoming overly ripe and mushy. The old trick of thumping on a watermelon until you find one with a dull thud is not the best way to determine which watermelons are ripe and which are not. Rather, carefully examine the watermelons and make a couple observations. Whether you are in the field harvesting your own watermelons or at the market or grocery store, if a watermelon "passes" all these observations, chances are it is a sweet, ready to eat watermelon.

  • Press your thumbnail into the rind. It should not easily penetrate. It you can insert your nail easily, move on to the next melon.

  • Feel the watermelon. It should feel a bit rough, not smooth.

  • Look at the color of the melon. It should be a dull green color. It should not be too shiny.

  • Flip over the watermelon and look where the watermelon sits on the soil. It should be a creamy, yellowish color, not green or white. This is most important indicator of a ripe watermelon, according to University of Illinois.

  • Observe the stem where it is attached to the watermelon. It should be brown and dry. This is true even in the field.

  • Select a watermelon that is a uniform shape and free from defects, such as bruises and dents, as well. It should also be heavy since watermelons contain mostly water. These will be the healthiest watermelons.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store uncut watermelons at room temperature for up to two weeks. Only refrigerate when you're ready to cut and eat them.
  • Cut watermelon only lasts up to two days in the refrigerator if tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

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