Here are some Summerhill Secrets on choosing a watermelon that’s sure to be ripe and sweet, gathered from conversations with farmers, produce buyers, food bloggers and
our food creators. Let’s face it — no one wants to be lugging around 15 to 20 pounds of miserable melon. And if you choose a dud, you’re either stuck eating the sloppy mess or tossing it out altogether…neither of which are good options.
Pick it up! Big or small, the watermelon should feel heavy for its size.
Look for yellow spots (known as the “field spot”. Yes, this is actually a time when you want your fruit to look gnarly or discoloured. Watermelons develop a splotch wherever they rest on the ground. When that area turns a creamy yellow, it’s now ripe. If you see a nice, dark yellow mark on one side of the fruit, you’ve picked a good, sweet one. If the field spot is white or pale yellow it’s likely underripe.
Give it a tap! Knock the underbelly of the watermelon. A perfectly ripe one will have a deep hollow sound, which means it’s brimming with juice and at the peak of perfection. If it’s under-ripe or over-ripe, it will sound dull. You want your knuckles to bounce off the melon’s firm skin and not sink in whatsoever.
Avoid high shine. If a melon (honeydew included) is overly shiny on the outside, it’s underripe and needs or needed more time on the vine. Dull is actually better.
Look for uniform shape! It doesn’t matter if the melon is round or oval. But, you do want one that is free of irregular bumps or kinks. That usually means there
was inconsistent sun or watering.
Look for sugar spots or pollination points. If you see black spots on the melon, this is from sugar seeping out, which means you’re getting a sweet melon. If you see a group of dots in a line (not a scratch but actual dots) these are pollination points and the more of them, the better. They indicate a nice sweet, ripe melon.
Overall, you want to take an extra minute at the watermelon section to knock, tap, weight and examine the fruit. Then, it’s all about how you slice it, dice it and enjoy it. Here’s
one of our favourite summer snack recipes.