How to determine melon ripeness
Can somebody advise me how to tell if melons are ripe? I just cut a Canary last night and it was hard and bland. I just hate it when that happens!!!
Some melons are wonderfully fragrant when ripe. I don't know if these were picked ripe or not, but smell is an easy sign.
With the vast majority of melons which are picked before they're ripe, I shake them vigorously. If I can hear sloshing noises, that means the center is liquid and at least the middle of the melon will be tasty. If there's no sound, the seeds are still tightly bound to the fruit and it's unripe.
Ask the produce clerk. Many years ago, I asked a produce clerk for help, he explained how to check the different melons, and even cut one up for us to taste.
Canary melons are difficult but with the exception of checking the color and feel of the rind they follow all the melon rules (except watermelon) for deteriming ripeness
- they should be a uniform bright yellow color
- they should have a slightly waxy feel
- they should be heavy for their size
- they should be fragrant
- they should yield slightly to pressure at the stem end
These will ripen after buying so leave on the counter until the melon starts to smell delicious.
Of course, it is always nice to go to a market that allows samples.
Good one, cheryl h, about listening for sloshing seeds. I'll give that a try next time.
A great tip that I learned a long time ago for honeydews:
The skin should have a slightly waxy feel. Unfortunately, these honeydews are not easy to find, but when you come upon one, it's a pretty foolproof indicator of ripeness.
I have heard that if a honeydew isn't ripe when picked, it will never ripen.
That, along with the suggestions to look for a sweet fragrance, and a blossom end that has a little give, when pressed, are the best indicators.
I find that good melons, as well as good fruit in general, have become much harder to come by, over the years. I'm not sure why. I remember years ago, having no problem finding sweet and juicy melons, nectarines, peaches, etc. - at least where I shop in Brooklyn, or Staten Island, NY.
Now it's a rarity to find good ones.
I'd love to hear some other opinions on this obsevation.
Ripe melons always have a brown spot where they sat on the ground as they ripened. Some spots are large, some are just slightly off color, some spots are softer. Don't buy a melon that's completely even in color and doesn't have a spot - it was never close to being ripened on the ground before it was cut off and sent away.
A melon that was vine-ripened will have a dent on the stem end. When the melon ripens, it begins to separate from the vine, thus the dent. A melon with a stub of stalk indicates that it was picked way too early.
I also smell the stem end.