Most people think that picking the perfectly juicy, red and tasty watermelon is a game of luck. Watermelon season usually runs through the summer from May to September, but this can also depend on the climate in your region. I’ve had some bad experiences selecting these fruits myself, but now, I know better than to go home with two watermelon heads and find over-ripe, rotten fruit all over. Sometimes, you may cut it open and you’ll have bland, whitish, under-ripe fruit in the center. Although watermelons are 92% water, a perfectly ripe watermelon fruit should have simple sweetening sugars and enough lycopene to give it a rich red color.
If you’re looking to change your watermelon-buying game for life, an experienced farmer has some awesome tips for you this season . Since no one’s going to cut it open and put it back if it’s not ripe, you have to learn to select the right one by assessing its shell.
Here are five important things to bear in mind when choosing the perfect watermelon:
Yes, watermelons have genders too. The female fruits are the sweeter variety. The males tend to be watery and more on the tasteless side. Look out for those shorter, rounder fruits (the girls), rather than the elongated, spherical ones (the boys).
Look out for the field spots
The field spot is the part of the watermelon’s shell on which it was resting out in the farm or field. Field spot colors can range from creamy-white to creamy-yellow and golden-yellow. Go for the ones with the golden-yellow spots. They are usually the ripest and sweetest.
Not every glittering thing is gold – don’t go for the shiny ones
It’s a trap. Go for the ones with a dull, uninviting appearance. They usually have the reddest fruit inside. Shiny, perfect colors indicate an unripe fruit. Don’t fall for it, especially when you’re with a little kid.
A lot of people believe that the larger fruits have the sweeter taste. This is true for the most part. However, don’t go for the extra-large ones. Usually, all the parts on the inside wouldn’t be equally sweetened, and these take longer to ripen. The smaller fruits are quicker to spoil. Go for the average-sized fruits. They are somewhere in between and are always the perfect ones. Also, not all large watermelons are heavy enough. Heaviness is an indication that the fruit is juicy, so go for the average-size, heavy ones.
To check the ripeness of the fruit, knock on it and observe the bounce-back of your knuckles. If the fruit is still good, the shell should be hard and firm, and your knuckles should bounce right off. If it’s starting to spoil, you’ll get a dull sound and a soft feel on your knuckles.
The webbing is the outer scarring that shows the frequency of pollination of the watermelon plant. Bees have to pollinate the flowers, and the more the pollination, the sweeter the fruit would be. Go for the fruits that have deep brown webbings. They are usually the sweetest ones.
The fruit tail
Even if the tail has been nipped to the bud, you should still be able to see a stud somewhere. Go for the fruits with a dried brown tail. This shows it was picked at the right time and should be sweet enough. Fruits with a fresh, green tail are often under-ripe and bland-tasting.
A plate of chilled, red, juicy watermelon in the heat of the summer is life-saving. From the above tips, I’ll say that the perfect watermelon is the female, gold-spotted, brown-webbed, hard-shelled, average-sized, dull-colored, dry-tailed, heavy fruit.
- HFH Admin. How To Pick The Perfect Watermelon: 5 Key Tips From An Experienced Farmer. Healthy Food House. https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/pick-perfect-watermelon-5-key-tips-experienced-farmer/?utm_source=Grid&utm_medium=Grid&utm_campaign=Grid. Retrieved 26-07-19
- Petre, Alina. Lycopene: Health Benefits and Top Food Sources. Health Line. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene. Retrieved 26-07-19
- Admin. Watermelon Facts. Interesting Facts. https://www.interestingfacts.org/fact/watermelon-facts. Retrieved 26-07-19