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May 1, 2007 02:11 PM


Over the last year and a half, I've had very bad luck with finding sweet watermelons. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it just me, or are watermelons going the way of tomatoes and apricots: where shelf-life has become more important than quality. They are one of my favorite foods and I've normally had good success in finding quality melons. Not so in the past 1-2 years.

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  1. Try the farmer's market for heirloom varieties, which often have more flavor (and sometimes, more seeds, too.) Look for a yellowish white spot where the melon ripened on the vine--this is where it rested on the ground. My father was a thumper, but I haven't found it to be a relible test of ripeness. Some farmers will actually split the melon for you, so you can see if it's to your liking. It's much harder to transport home that way, though, and you have to eat it right away. Another thing, don't store it long before eating even when stored whole. Watermelon is better fresh, and the flesh will become mushy relatively quickly after picking in comparison with other melons.

    2 Replies
    1. re: amyzan

      I agree with amyzan. I don't usually buy it in the market. But sometimes I'll see a truck selling whole or half watermelons - that's almost always a lucky day.

      1. re: amyzan

        Thunping has always worked for me (you want a nice hollow sound), but then again I'm in Texas where watermelon is abundant. If you're at a farm stand or somewhere where they've been picked fairly recently you can also translate the method for cantalope (sniff where it was formerly attached to the vine and look for a sweet smell...if it smells sweet it almost always is).

      2. If you want to be certain of having a sweet watermelon, check out the cut melons that are wrapped in plastic, or have the produce clerk pick, cut and wrap one for you. What you want to look for is the white veining through the pink flesh. This seems have worked for me - it's a trick I learned from a gentleman who was from Texas - a state famous for watermelons. We worked together at the supermarket, and he could eat a quarter of a melon in about five minutes, and spit seeds out like they were bullets flying out of a machine gun...

        1. I've noticed that last year, but prior to that, I had many good years. I just saw them for $6.99 each at Safeway but am going to wait till they are cheaper. I can eat A LOT of watermelon, so those little ones isn't going to be enough for me in one sitting.

          1. I get most of my watermelons, as well as other types of melons at Pavilions (aka Vons and Safeway) and any time I get a dud, I return it and get a brand new one.