Unlike other summer fruits, it's not always entirely apparent whether a watermelon is ripe or not. Rather than risking it all and committing to a honker of a melon that is either flavorless and underripe or mealy and overripe, pay close attention to the following 3 indicators. This is how the pros pick a perfect watermelon without ever having to slice it open.
The spring’s/summer’s largest and most gorgeous (IMO) fruit is coming back into season, and we’re all jumping for joy. There’s something undeniably pleasurable about carving open a juicy watermelon and nibbling on a wedge, all the way down to the rind (while juice streams down your chin and fingers, obviously). That being said, there’s nothing more disheartening that cracking that puppy open, only to see that the flesh is soft, mealy, and smelling borderline offensive.
To avoid this traumatizing (not a dramatization) experience, we talked to Sarah Frey, Founder/CEO of Frey Farms and Founder of Tsamma Juice to get the low-down on how to know which melon is the one you’re taking home. Unlike most other produce items, watermelons do not continue to ripen after they’ve been picked, so you’ve got one shot to nail the perfect fruit.
Knock It and Listen
The sound that your watermelon makes when knocked on can be a huge indicator of its ripeness. According to Frey, you want to listen for a crisp, sharp ring (but not too high pitched). A high pitch can mean the melon is immature. On the other hand, a deep, low-toned clunking sound can mean it’s overripe. Make sure that when you’re knocking the fruit that you are physically holding it (not while it’s resting on the counter or another surface). This will yield the truest sound of what’s going on inside the melon.
Check the Underbelly
Just like any other produce item that lays in a patch, there’s going to be a portion of the melon that was laying on the ground, not receiving the sun exposure that the rest of the fruit did. Frey says that you want to look for a light yellow underbelly. If it looks extra white, it’s probably underripe.
Look For Strong Striations
You know that beautiful design that runs from the north and south pole of a watermelon? Those darker green lines are called striations, and they signal ripeness, according to Frey. So, let these bold, more pronounced striations be an indicator to you that this watermelon needs to purchased and taken home for consuming IMMEDIATELY.