How to NEVER Buy a Bad Watermelon Again

From The Blog

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store, staring down a giant bin of watermelons, trying to decide which one to take home. You give a few a tap, a sniff, and maybe even a gentle squeeze, but let’s be honest—you’re really just guessing. Well, my friend, it’s time to put an end to the watermelon roulette and learn how to pick a ripe, juicy melon every single time. With a few simple tricks, you’ll be the reigning watermelon whisperer of your neighborhood.

1. Look for the Yellow Spot

The first thing to look for when selecting a watermelon is the yellow spot on the underside. This is where the watermelon rested on the ground as it ripened in the sun. The spot should be a deep, creamy yellow or orange color. If it’s white or pale green, the watermelon may not be fully ripe.

The yellow spot is like a watermelon’s tan line—the darker and more pronounced it is, the more time the melon had to develop its natural sugars and flavors. So, don’t be shy about flipping those melons over and checking out their bottoms!

I remember the first time I learned about the yellow spot trick. I felt like I had unlocked a secret code. Suddenly, I was the watermelon whisperer, confidently striding out of the store with the perfect melon tucked under my arm. Trust me, once you start looking for that telltale yellow spot, you’ll never go back to blindly grabbing any old melon.

2. Give It a Thump

Another classic way to test a watermelon’s ripeness is to give it a good thump. Hold the watermelon up to your ear and give it a firm tap with your knuckles. A ripe watermelon should have a deep, hollow sound, like a drum. If it sounds dull or flat, the melon may be under-ripe or over-ripe.

Now, I know what you’re thinking—won’t I look silly tapping on watermelons in the middle of the produce section? Absolutely. But who cares? Embrace your inner watermelon whisperer and thump away. Your taste buds will thank you later.

I once had a friend who was a professional chef, and he swore by the thumping method. He would spend a good five minutes tapping on every watermelon in the store until he found the perfect one. People would stare, but he didn’t care. He knew the secret to a perfectly ripe melon, and he wasn’t afraid to look a little silly in pursuit of it.

3. Check the Shape and Skin

A ripe watermelon should be symmetrical and uniform in shape, without any weird bumps or indentations. It should also have a dull, matte finish to the skin, rather than a shiny, glossy one. A shiny watermelon is usually an underripe one.

You should also look for a watermelon with a thick, sturdy rind. Give it a gentle squeeze—it should be firm and resist your pressure. If it feels soft or mushy, put it back. No one wants a mealy, overripe watermelon.

I once bought a watermelon that was lumpy and lopsided, thinking it would be fun to have an “ugly” melon. Big mistake. When I cut into it, the flesh was pale pink and grainy, with hardly any juice. Lesson learned—always go for the symmetrical, evenly shaped melons.

4. Size Matters

When it comes to watermelons, bigger isn’t always better. A good watermelon should feel heavy for its size—after all, it’s mostly water! If a large watermelon feels light and hollow, it may be past its prime.

On the other hand, a small, dense watermelon is often a sign of a fruit that ripened quickly and didn’t have time to develop its full sweetness and flavor. Aim for a medium-sized melon that feels substantial in your hands.

I once lugged home a massive watermelon, thinking I had hit the jackpot. When I cut into it, I discovered that half of it was nothing but rind and seeds. Meanwhile, my friend had a small, unassuming melon that was the sweetest, juiciest thing I’d ever tasted. That’s when I realized that size isn’t everything—it’s the density and weight that really matter.

5. Look for the Sugar Spots

If you really want to get fancy with your watermelon selection, keep an eye out for “sugar spots” or “webbing” on the rind. These are the brown, rough patches that look like scratches or scars. Believe it or not, these spots are actually a good thing—they indicate that the watermelon was visited by bees during pollination, which leads to a sweeter fruit.

The more sugar spots, the sweeter the melon. So, if you see a watermelon that looks like it’s been through a few battles, snatch it up! Those scars are actually badges of honor, telling you that this melon is going to be a real treat.

I once found a watermelon that was so covered in sugar spots, it looked like it had been mauled by a bear. I was a little hesitant to buy it, but my curiosity got the best of me. When I got home and sliced into it, I was blown away by how sweet and flavorful it was. Those bees really knew what they were doing!

6. The Stem Test

If you’re really serious about your watermelon game, you can try the stem test. Look for the spot where the stem was attached to the watermelon. If it’s green and fresh-looking, the watermelon may have been picked too early. If it’s dry and brown, that’s a good sign that the melon had plenty of time to ripen on the vine.

You can also try the “broom straw test.” Balance a piece of straw on top of the watermelon. If it spins around in a circle, that means the melon is ripe and ready to eat. If it just sits there, the melon might need a little more time.

I’ve never actually tried the broom straw test myself, but I have a friend who swears by it. She carries a piece of straw in her purse just for this purpose. It’s a little unconventional, but hey, if it works, it works!

7. When in Doubt, Ask the Experts

If you’re still feeling unsure about your watermelon-picking skills, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many farmers and produce sellers are happy to share their expertise and guide you towards the best melons. They might even let you sample a slice before you buy!

I once struck up a conversation with a farmer at my local market, and he ended up giving me a full-blown lesson on how to pick the perfect watermelon. He even cut one open right there on the spot so I could taste the difference between a ripe and an unripe melon. It was like having my own personal watermelon mentor!

So there you have it, folks—the ultimate guide to picking the perfect watermelon. With these tips in your arsenal, you’ll never suffer through a subpar melon again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for some juicy, sweet watermelon. I think I’ll head to the store and put my new skills to the test. Happy melon hunting!

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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