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Aug 12, 2009 10:47 AM

Please teach me how to pick a really good watermelon.

So it's mid August and I have yet to find a truly good watermelon. They aren't as sweet as I'd like and some are downright mushy. I actually had to throw away an entire watermelon I got from the Park Slope Food Coop, it was that uninspiring. So please give me your best tips on choosing a good watermelon. It's funny, I always rap on it a few times, but don't know what I'm listening for. Thanks!

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  1. When I'm selecting a watermelon, I tend to use my whole hand not my knuckles. I tend to get a more consistent sound this way. I listen for the lowest, most hollow sounding watermelon. In my experience, this means a more solid and juicy sweet melon than the others. It's not an exact science, but I tend to get good results.

    1. I've been successful with the following method:

      First: it should be heavy for it's size.

      Second: I always look for a largish yellow spot - I was told it indicates that the melon was allowed to ripen a good while on the vine before being picked.

      Third: I slap the watermelon, looking for a low, hollow sound as mentioned by the above commenter. If there's not much of a hollow sound, I move to the next one.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jencounter

        Agree with you, should be very heavy.

        I also use my nose, sniff the stem end, Should smell sweet and melony. Also shaking it a bit can give you an idea of how much solid melon is there, as opposed to mushy juice.

      2. Well, a watermelon is a berry -- a freakishly huge one but a berry nonetheless. Somehow thinking of it in that category has helped me pick out good ones. I don't know if that's of any assistance to you, but there you have it!

        Fresh-looking, juicy-sounding, etc.

        I think buying from a reputable source is important too -- if the produce is freshly picked, fabulous; if you can talk to the person who grew the darn thing, so much the better. Last year I got the Watermelon By Which All Others Shall Be Measured at a local farmers' market. It was heavy as a brick, bright green, no sunken spots -- just perky looking, you know? -- and sounded like a bass drum when slapped.

        Good luck!

        5 Replies
        1. re: LauraGrace

          Where did you get the info that a watermelon is a berry? It is a melon, one of two categories, musk melon and watermelon. And melons are part of the gourd family, like pumpkins & squash.

            1. re: LauraGrace

              I get what he's saying, but with that logic, then every fruit would be a berry. Who else seems to classify it that way.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                According to Wikipedia, it seems the watermelon is a false berry, along with blueberries and other common "berries".

                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                  Interesting, wiktionary mentions nothing of it being a "false berry".