Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jul 12, 2011 07:29 PM

How to pick a good watermelon?

You guys helped me learn to pick citrus fruits, now help me to pick good watermelons. Is it the sound? The bee stings, the color or what? I prefer seedless, but will go back to the seeds if it's good and SWEET!

Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMO, seeded waterfruits are always better. I'm stumped on how to consistently pick a good one, but a farmer friend says to check for a sappy substance on the stem if there is one. If not, Iusually check for tell-tale signs that the melonwas aloowed to ripen in the sun - usually a very yellow ish portion where it laid on the ground. Right now is high time for watermelons. You'll have a greater chance at picking a great one right now and for the next few weeks. Don't try to pick a good one in January.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Also agree with you on seeded being superior...WHY did we have to SANITIZE everything??? sheesh!...seeds are not so bad to deal with and I think the fruit tastes.BETTER!

      1. re: gordeaux

        Yes, seedless watermelons sorely lack in the flavor department. I hate them. Unfortunately, the places I usually shop no longer carry seeded watermelons. I haven't seen old-fashioned seeded watermelons on sale in a few years now. A real pity because watermelon is (or used to be) one of my favorite foods. I very rarely bother to buy them now.

      2. I agree with gordeaux. I just look for the yellow underside. Though sometimes you just get a bad one, no matter what you do. We got one at the local grocery store a few weeks ago that was dry and pink inside with literally no sweetness or flavor to it. Since it was a huge seeded watermelon, I didn't want to throw away 6 bucks, so DH took the two halves back to Kroger, and before trying another one, the manager okayed it for the produce guy to cut another in half before hubby took that one. That one was dry and pink inside, too, so the manager had the produce guy remove the rest of them from the department, and my husband got a refund and went to another grocery store for melon.
        The best ones have been from a little produce stall in the middle of town. Seeded and as sweet as ice cream! Seems like the ones with good strong stripes of green taste sweeter.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jmcarthur8

          There's only one rule that works for me: unless you can taste before buying, don't buy a watermelon during the first month of the season. Growers want to take advantage of the high early season prices and rush the melons to market ASAP, even though the quality may be poor. Also, even if they have a nice yellow spot, all that means is they got enough sun to turn the rest of the exterior green. Melons harvested later in the summer have been exposed to higher temperatures and that might be what makes them sweeter.

          There may be some expert melon thumpers out there, but it seems like a waste of time to me. All those melons in the store came from the same farm or several farms in the same area, so there's not going to be much variation in quality.

          1. re: Zeldog

            Even if melons come from the same plant or the same farm the quality could vary considerably depending on when they were pollinated, growing conditions, watering, soil fertility, etc.

            1. re: Zeldog

              When in produce school for a major market chain, they had taught us to thump three melons and then hand the customer the third . . imagin that!

          2. Give it a gentle slap with your fingers. Soft, sandy watermelons will have a duller sound. Crisper watermelons will have a sharper sound because sound waves move more efficiently through harder objects than softer ones. Also, check for a yellowish spot where the fruit was lying on the ground.

            1. A good watermelon will have a field mark (that yellow spot from where it's been resting on the ground), will be heavy for its size (pick up several for comparison), and will emit a nice hollow thud when tapped.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gilintx

                This. Heavy for size and reverberative when smacked.

              2. I thought scientists had engineered "bad watermelons" out of existence. That, and seeds.

                Haven't had a truly awful watermelon in years. Some almost too good.