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Do you just gamble when buying melons or you know what to look for ?

I figure most are not in season here in the U.S. watermelon,casaba, honeydew, cantaloupe and others I see the ones imported from other countries in the store. I really don't care for them. When they do come into season do you know how to pick a nice ripe one or you just guess ? Are some varieties better than others? Looking forward to summer.

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  1. i can tell ripeness of some varieties, such as cantelope and honeydew, from the smell of the melon.

    5 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      Yes, the nose is the key for things like cantaloupes, honeydews, etc.

      For watermelon, and to some extent cantaloupes and honeydews, look at the veins on the skin. More of what my nephew calls "melon-cose veins" the sweeter.

      Although nowadays with watermelons, you're just better off buying ones that are cut in half as they're so prevalent and priced almost equally with whole ones.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        ditto on the "melon-cose" veins. perfect description. a brown straw-like pattern on a watermelon's yellowing belly, or a light brown web on things like honeydew.

        1. re: alkapal

          Never heard about the "melon-cose" veins. The yellow belly is important, as it should have a yellow spot from being left on the ground to ripen.

          1. re: alkapal

            They are called "sugar lines", and while prominent on cantaloupes, are not a notable feature of honeydews. On the latter, look for a slightly rosy yellow glow, and a tacky, rosin-like white bloom on the exterior.

            Thread on selecting produce: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7845...

        2. re: westsidegal

          Yes smell the ends for sweetness. The top and bottom. Prolly top is better where the stem was

          Sorry but I have to plug Aldis on watermelons. They seem to have quality control. Never got a mushy one. With seeded watermelons I look for signs of being mature such as a large yellow-white area from sitting in the field a looong time

        3. LOVE LOVE LOVE nice ripe cantaloupes & watermelons, but can't remember last time I bought one in supermarket? I wait till SMALL, local road-side stand has them. Place I shop says... not good, we'll replace it... have never had to do that. When whole car smells like cantaloupe after a mile or 2 drive... know I have a GOOD thing!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: kseiverd

            put a cantaloupe in the trunk and within 3 minutes i can smell it in the front seat. i know of no other item (maybe fried chicken) that makes its presence known so quickly and pervasively.

          2. I just grab one. I think it's fate. You either get a good one or you don't. Sometimes you can't control things.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rungj

              Actually, you can control things, if by things you mean selecting a ripe melon.

            2. I never seem to have much luck with honeydew and cantaloupe but last week I bought a watermelon at Trader Joe's and it was excellent. I couldn't believe how good it was. Today I bought another one. Haven't cut it yet but just looked at the sticker and it's from Florida.

              And to answer your question, I pretty much just pick one. I have heard the thing about having more veins makes for a better melon but with the watermelons, I just guess.

                1. I try to do this...

                  Unfortunately, I can never seem to remember any of the tips when I'm at the store.

                  1. heavy. check.

                    stem ends smells like a lovely melon. check.

                    not bruised nor evidence of mold at stem. check.

                    examine the coloration of the area where the melon laid on the ground to ripen. check. (for watermelon, you always want a yellow patch with brown pattern like grass, or with honeydews a light brown web, e.g.).

                    1. With cantaloupes and honeydews, I go by smell when I buy them and while they ripen, and I have about a 70% success rate, about the same as avocados.

                      1. I used to pick a 3-acre cantaloupe patch three times a week in Texas. When they're ready, they just come free from the stems with a nudge. Any indication on the stem end that it was forcibly removed, (looks green, cut, stem attached, etc) it's not ripe.

                        I think that melons are one of those things best obtained from a small, local farmer who knows his stuff. Yeah, you may have a short annual window of opportunity, but it's worth it when it's good!

                        1. I use two ways to tell if a melon is ripe. Firstly, it should give a little if gently pressed at the stalk end. And, second, the smell test - if it doesnt smell of melon, it isnt ripe. Not fool proof methods but, taken together usually work. It's rare that I come home with a melon as they are almost never ripe.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Harters

                            I always press the stem end to check for a little give - I'd say that works most of the time.

                          2. I generally buy melons based on weight-to-size.

                            I tend to avoid fruit when it is not in-season.
                            Exceptions for me would be lemons and avocados, both of which I keep in my kitchen year round (bad!!! I know!!!).

                            1. Thanks for your replies. I never had used my nose for cantaloupe. I just would look at all of them and spot the one that looked a little darker in color. I'm like trying to find a diamond in the rough.

                              1. I buy Cantaloupe & Honeydew by smell. A ripe watermelon will have a bit of flex at the stem end. This indicates that the rind is thin & the melon is ripe. No flex & it's green, too much flex & it's pithy & gone to seed.

                                Corn/lopes, however, are very hard to tell....