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Watermelon Controversy! - Seeded vs. Seedless?

  • s

At our July 4th cookout were were discussing the merits of seeded vs. seedless watermelon.

My feeling is that old fashioned watermelon, with seeds, is sweeter, juicier, and has a better texture.

The new seedless varietes always seem to have a pulpy texture and are never really juicy. Also, the seedless varieties always seem to have something missing in terms of taste. They also have a paler, slightly whitish color not the deep red of the seeded varieties.

I have no great desire to spit out seeds, (thought it can be fun) but I am definitely not ready to give up on good old fashioned watermelon.

Any other Chowhounds want to weigh in on this one?

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  1. I agree. Watermelon with seeds (both seedless and seeded sound like they describe a product with no seeds) are much better, texturally and sweetness wise. I've always found that the ultimate watermelon flavor comes from the area right around the highest concentration of seeds. For some reason it is almost always the sweetest and most watermelon tasting part of the melon.

    My old roommate and I would buy a whole large watermelon, eat a quarter of it, then chop up the rest into bite sized pieces, poke out all the seeds, and put it in a giant tupperware cake thingy in the fridge. In such a ready to eat form it never lasted more than two days, despite there only being two of us.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ben f

      Yes, indeed. "To seed" is to remove seeds from something. Therefore, "seeded" has always meant, til now, that it had seeds, but they have been removed.

      In other words, the term now means anything and nothing.

      My answer is that you should serve dinner guests either seedless or seeded watermelon, both are tasty if you get a ripe specimen, but the ones with seeds should be reserved for feeding the kids on the lawn.

      1. re: ironmom
        Pat Goldberg

        Or for women wishing to become pregnant!!!

    2. I have developed a personnal watermelon protocol:

      With seeds - for eating plain

      Seedless - anytime I need to chop it up for salads, sorbets, watermelon balls, i.e., if something else is going on to disguise the not-quite-perfect taste.

      1. s
        Stanley Stephan

        Have you tried yellow watermelon? It is even sweeter than the red.

        Red or yellow, the ones with seeds are sweeter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Stanley Stephan

          Hello again Stanley -

          My grandfather only planted yellow watermelons. He scoffed at the red ones. He saved the seed from year to year and when he died in '95 (at 96) he had some in an envelope in the frige. My grandmother didn't think about it the next summer, so it was '97 before she gave them to me. I planted, but only one little sprout came up. (I guess age was a problem) It was doing OK until I got over zealous with the garden hose and blew it right out of the ground. I'm still kind-of traumatized about it. I blew my chances of having an "heirloom" watermelon that really was an heirloom.

        2. s
          scott duncan

          To be honest if you don't want to spit out the seeds is it a big deal to swallow them? I really dislike spitting seeds out and instead just eat them (and take my word for it the tales from childhood are not true).
          For me the watermelon controversy would be how to pick out a good one. I have tried all of the methods (looking for "bee stings" tapping, thumping, hefting, appearance,etc.) and I have come to the conclusion that the best method is to just grab the closest one because at least that way you don't waste alot of time on it if it isn't that good.


          1. By the way the "pulpy" texture can be in any type of watermelon. It is a symptom of poor care by the farmer. Either over/under fertilization or watering. I can't remember which.

            I do know that the watermelons from when I was a wee youngen' in the '60's and '70's were much sweeter and had much more watermelon taste than most you get nowadays.

            Of course the ones from farm stands that were picked that morn can be incredible. Last year out on the Island I had a variety that was low seed hybrid variety called something like sugar candy or sugar baby. It was a perfectly round melon about 20% bigger than a basketball. It was almost too sweet. Very crisp and juicy. I even froze some and served it scooped as an ice for desert. It looked and tasted like I slaved for hours making a homemade gelato. I served it splashed with a bit of tequila.

            1. j
              JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

              The ones with seeds are definitely better. When you do selective breeding (such as to make smaller seeds) for aesthetics or for convenience, inevitably the flavor suffers.

              1. Watermelons with seeds are much sweeter and juicier. I am having a hard time finding a nice natural watermelon with seeds. May be time for a trip to the Valley... (Rio Grande Valley in So. Texas home of the best watermelon)

                1. To me, doesn't matter (that much). Both are good. I just hope the watermelon growers don't go too far make the mistake of breeding all the flavor out of the melons. I don't like think rinds on water melons.

                  Given the choice, I like seeded. I think it tastes slightly better with better mouth feel. However, everyone in the family likes the convienance of seedless so guess which we get?

                  1. I prefer the flavor of "with" seeds but I can't seem to find any in the local markets. Seedless has taken over.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Motosport

                      Agree--and seem not to be able to find the larger, longish (rather than oval round) shaped melons that I remember as a kid, sold off the back of trucks on Brooklyn streets ,for 5 cents a lb.

                    2. Yes, you are correct on all points. The problem now is you can't find watermelon with seeds, everything is seedless. Well, at least in my neighborhood (outside Boston.) Haven't seen watermelons with seeds in a while.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Jpan99

                        Later this summer, hit the farmers markets and you'll find watermelons with seeds. Or if you have a hankering now, just head to Russo's in Watertown.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Thanks, I'll definitely hit the farmers markets. I haven't noticed seeded watermelons at Russo's, only seedless. I'll have to take another look, thanks!

                          1. re: Jpan99

                            Russo's carries a wider variety of melons during the summer. They're usually outside.

                      2. Watermelon WITH seeds is definitely sweeter. IMO

                        I recently saw a Utube video or blog post that talked of slicing out the sections that have the most seeds.
                        When peeled you can see how the seeds concentrate along regular lines.
                        Sounds like a sticky messy job but worth it if you like gobbling down delicious chunks of seed free watermelon.
                        Oh and the cut out chunks can still be squeezed in a colander for the juice.

                        1. I agree ... summer seems to be the only time to buy (at a reasonable price) watermelon. The local produce market as well as most of the chain supermarkets seem to be moving toward All Seedless. Although I admit, I have had a good one or two (I use a knock-test) ... but lately I've been very disappointed. I long for the 'good old days' ... bright red ... juicy ... sweet watermelon. I agree ... these new seedless varieties may have the advantage of being priced right ... seedless and look and sound good ... it even looks good opened ... but then the taste test ... oh what a disappointment to have a 15 lb. melon go to waste. If it's not sweet and juicy ... what's the point. We need to change the way we produce food and get back to the old way of doing things.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Isn't spitting seeds at one another the point?!