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Watermelon weekend ... Wondering about watermelon

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What works for you with watermelon?

I’m buying the summer’s first watermelon (and feeling alliterative). What do you think is the best variety?

SEEDLESS OR SEEDED? WHAT’S SWEETER?

One person thought that seedless wasn’t as sweet and used that for recipes. The seeded were for eating au natural.

STRATEGIES? SPIRITUALLY CONNECTING TO YOUR MELON

- Heavy for size
- “yellow belly" – look for the creamy white patch
- Thump and listen for a low tone. Reject a higher tone. Find a deep hollow sound
- Look for dull-ish skin – super-shiny skin means the fruit is immature
- Press gently where the stem's been cut off. Any give means it was on the vine too long.
- look it over - It should be firm and symmetrical with no bruises, cuts or dents.
- * smell for sweetness
- Farmer knows best? Ask the farmer (not helper) to pick one.
- find a reliable vendor and shop locally
- look for "bee stings". The little marks on the skin are the "bee stings".
- an ooze of black syrup from the stem end denotes the sugar from the fruit.
- the rind should feel smooth
- the watermelon should not be wrinkled (didn’t need to tell me that)
- check the sticker for USDA grade (U.S. Fancy, U.S. No. 1, and No. 2." )The USDA has standards based upon ripeness, uniformity shape, rind and flesh quality.
- wait? Is it too early in the season? Are early season melons any good?
- grab the nearest. Saves time since stategy doesn’t work anyway.

STORING?

The watermelon link below suggests:

- Store watermelon on the warm side (55° F for cut melons).
- Whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature but keeping them longer than that will cause them to lose flavor and texture

I put a sheet of plastic wrap against the cut end and store in the fridge

Since I don’t like mess, often I’ll cut it up in cubes and store in Tupperware containers. It keeps for a few days in the fridge and I always have a handy snack without having haul the carcass out and slice it to order. If I’m ambitions, I remove the seeds too.

DOES SIZE MATTER?

IMO, those little basketball-sized or smaller melons like baby dolls are often sweeter than the larger melons. However if I’m going for a large melon, I find the largest available.

VARIETIES?

Supposedly there are about 1200 varieties worldwide with anywhere from 50 - 200 in the US (depending on what site you look at). All of these fall into 4 categories:

Picnic (aka Allsweet), Ice-box, Seedless and Yellow Flesh.

Are dry-farmed melons better?

I love a variety call “Moon & Stars”. I highly suggest the red-fleshed version.

Yellow or red? Any other colored flesh out there?

* In the SF Chronicle link below there is a mention of orange watermelons. Also it says that "The red ones contain more lycopene, an antioxidant that's believed to contribute to good health."

* The Chron also says to ask the farmer the variety. I found this true. They are rarely labeled, but if you ask, the vendor often will tell you the specific kind. This is a REAL help as some types are sweeter than others.

* One farm thought the Crimson was the best variety. I'm still a moon and stars fan.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

Great picture by Melanie Wong

http://static.flickr.com/30/47903375_...

A good watermelon site

http://www.watermelon.org/

Here’s a great thread from last summer, some of which is summer-ized in this topic.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Got recipes? Here’s a link to Home Cooking.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

* NOTE: Edited 7/14/06 about 10 pm. On the home cooking site there was a link to this great article about savory watermelon recipes. However, there were some nice watermelon hints at the end of the article that I added and noted with a *

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi...

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  1. this is my favorite watermelon picture:

    http://www.directgardening.com/detail...

    1 Reply
    1. re: byrd

      LOL. Great picture. I wonder what a two hundred pound watermelon tastes like.

    2. Seeded have better flavor, but in the SF Bay Area, it's too early. Watermelon's a late-summer crop and this has been a cool year. Even in a hot year July watermelons aren't great.

      1. try out those chinese star-anise flavored w-melon seeds. ive become hopelessly addicted.