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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to everyone that replied. Here's what I learned:
go back to seeds
yellow under the bottom
heavy for it's size
know the seasons
I'll report back.
ok, I'm picking them great now. Here is what I've learned.
1) The sound is for the consistency of the watermelon, whether it's mushy or not.
2) Tons of bee stings, the more the merrier and even better if they have this black stuff coming out of it (see picture)
3) Yellow, yellow, yellow under the bottom. The yellower the better.
I've had great success when meeting all the 3 of these. I'm looking for about 5mins, but at least I am getting good melons.
I've bought 2 of those "mini" watermelons in the past 2 weeks, and both were excellent. A few seeds, no yellow spot underneath, no bee stings, but still sweet, juicy and delicious. Just planted 2, also, so hope for some good home-grown ones later this summer. Are the mini-melons a whole different ballgame from full size melons?