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!
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.
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.
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.