A good watermelon is a staple, healthy summer snack, so it is important to know how to pick one, regardless if you are at the grocery store or the local farmers market.
When it comes time to pick the perfect melon, people often make their selection based on three characteristics: presence of seeds or lack thereof, size and ripeness.
Determining ripeness requires some knowledge; how can you pick a ripe watermelon?
Sweetness is off the charts this summer
Typically, a producer measures the sweetness of a watermelon by their Brix count, a way to measure sweetness. On this scale, measurements of 10 are standard and measurements of 11 are considered very sweet.
According to Juan Anciso, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist in Weslaco and professor with the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, this year’s Brix count measures watermelon sweetness, especially those from the Rio Grande Valley, off the charts between 11 and 13.
Tip 1: Find the yellow belly, or the field spot
Other than cutting open a watermelon to see the inside, the field spot is perhaps the best indicator of the ripeness. This spot on a melon shows where it was laying on the ground while attached to the vine.
Tip 2: Tap the underbelly and listen for a deep sound
Another way to find a ripe watermelon is to lightly knock the outside with your knuckles. A ripe melon will have a deeper sound, as opposed to an over-ripe one that will have a more hollow or flat sound. A duller, more hollow sound can mean the flesh is starting to go soft and spoil.
Tip 3: Look for a dull and heavy watermelon
Although it may not be the most photogenic nor the easiest to carry to your car, the best watermelons will be dull in appearance and heavier than the rest. A shiny melon indicates the insides are under ripe.
Also, the best melon of the bunch will most likely be heavier than the rest. On average, a watermelon is 92% water, which makes them so juicy. A heavier melon likely holds more water, which will make it juicier.