How often have you brought a watermelon home and cut it open to find it watery and bland? Disappointing, right? But read on to discover the signs of a sweet, juicy melon. Next time, you’ll spot the best one in the lot.
First, pick it up and feel its weight. If it’s heavy for its size, that’s a sign that its full of juice.
But is the juice in that watermelon sweet?
A yellow patch on the bottom end, which is where the melon lay on the field, indicates that it was picked when ripe. If the field patch is green or cream-colored, the melon won’t be sweet. Look at the photo below. The melon on the right at the second row from the bottom has a good-sized, dark yellow area around the bottom. That would be the one to take home.
If you look closely, you’ll also see that in the yellow part are brown lines, called webbing. The lines are signals that pollinating insects visited the watermelon flower. The more pollination, the more webbing, and the sweeter the melon.
A ripe melon will have a dull, not shiny surface that’s mostly smooth. Reject melons with cracks or soft spots.
Now turn the melon around and observe the stem. A green, inflexible stem shows that the melon isn’t ripe yet. Ideally, a good melon’s stem should be brown and almost dry.
Last, give its underbelly a good thump. A ripe melon will answer with a hollow boom, not a dull, dense sound.
A practitioner of Chinese medicine once told me that watermelons are a paradox: very yang with their bright red color, and very yin with their abundant juice. A mystery! Aren’t watermelons wonderful?