How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe
Watermelon is hands down my favorite fruit. And you would think after buying countless methods I would have a way to chose the best of the bunch. But even these days I struggle with how to tell if a watermelon is ripe.
Here’s what I’m thinking while selecting a watermelon at the store.
First, I look at the collection of watermelons stacked in a crate on the grocery store produce floor. A cloak of uncertainly overcomes me. Then the dread arrives. Am I up for lifting a melon to waist level to put the “ripe” one in my cart? I’ve been lifting weights all winter after all. “Lift with your legs,” echos in my head. I’m not deterred. I got this. I just have to pick the ripest one.
Next, I look around to see how many will notice if I climb into the watermelon crate to move a few of the melons around that I can’t reach from a standing position. I’m appreciative for my daily squat exercises.
All this trouble for a watermelon? Yes! Crazy, I know.
But even crazier are all the suggestions I’ve heard over the years on how to tell if a watermelon is ripe. Truths or myths? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
How to Select a Watermelon
Here are my “favorite” suggestions I’ve found online in no particular order of effectiveness.
- Thump it. It should sound hollow. Hmm…I’m not sure what hollow is supposed to sound like when thumping on a watermelon. YouTube doesn’t seem to offer melon melon thumping.
- It should feel heavy. Don’t all watermelons feel heavy? As compared to what? They ALL feel that way to me (except those cute personal watermelons).
- It should have a white belly. Or maybe a creamy/orangy colored belly. I can’t remember.
- A ripe watermelon should have “webbing” on it. Webbing? Now I’m wondering if the brownish/gray lines and spots are “webbing” or just part of the rind that’s worn off.
4 tips that MOST LIKELY indicate a ripe watermelon
- Look for the “field spot” on the watermelon. This is the easiest method to remember and the one I feel works best to indicate ripeness. The field spot is where the watermelon laid on the ground. The color should have a yellowish or orangish color to it. The darker yellow the color, the longer the melon has been in the field. AVOID the melon if the spot is white (or nonexistent). Move on to another melon in the crate.
- Compare the weight of a few watermelons in the crate. I choose the one that feels heaviest when compared to the others in the crate. You’ll notice the difference when there is one.
- Choose a dull skinned watermelon vs its shiny-skinned sibling. Easy enough.
- Round melons seem sweeter than their more elongated brothers. Just my preference.
How to Cut a Watermelon
Cutting watermelon used to be a huge challenge for me until I found videos on line. This one I found on YouTube by Jennifer Jenner is pefect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D68Lck4Y5Ig
- Place the watermelon on the largest cutting board that you own.
- Use the largest chef’s knife that you own.
- Cut the watermelon in half through the middle of the melon (NOT from stem to end)
- Set half of the melon aside.
- Place the cut half of the melon on the cutting board.
- I often slice of the top of the rind horizontally so I can have a flat surface to rest my knife on as I start to slice.
- Starting at the top of the melon, hold the knife at an angle and slice the melon.
- After shaving off the green and white rind, slice the melon from top to bottom.
- Turn the cutting board a half turn, and slice it again.
- Place a few paper towels on top of the melon (to help soak up all the pooling liquid)
- Place a large bowl over the top.
- Flip the bowl over and put a lid on it.
Storing a Cut Watermelon
If you want the watermelon chilled before serving, put the melon in the fridge for a few hours before cutting.
If it will be longer than a few hours before cutting, leave the melon at room temp on a counter.
I usually only cut half a melon at a time. I wrap the uncut half with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.