Watermelon is loved for its sweetness, for the fact that this fruit helps in quenching thirst and removing toxic substances from the body.
Although its pulp contains more than 90% water, it contains vitamins, trace elements such as phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
Folic acid, present in watermelon, helps strengthen the immune system, lycopene prevents cell degeneration, tocopherol protects them from aging. Riboflavin helps in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.
However, this sweet berry is tasty and beneficial only when you pick the perfectly ripened watermelon from your back garden or the supermarket.
But, is there a way to know if the watermelon is already good for consumption? How can marketers, farmers, your mother, and your grandmother know, just by looking, if the fruit is sweet and juicy?
A series of signs printed on watermelon indicate whether it is green or ripe, whether it is likely to be sweeter or less flavorful, and so on.
We have listed some tips and tricks for picking ripe watermelon so your mission will be simple and easy.
Table of Contents
- 1. Look for the Yellow Spot
- 2. Look at the rind
- 3. Check the Stalk
- 4. Determine the ripeness by sound
- 5. Determine the sex of the watermelon
- 6. Consider the Weight
- 7. Take it firmly
- 8. Color and Structure of the Watermelon Pulp
- 9. Recognize the aroma
- 10. Check the Seeds
- 11. Go for the Watermelons that have Homogeneous Appearance
- 12. Check for Holes
- 13. Examine the Leaves and the Vine
1. Look for the Yellow Spot
No watermelon is entirely green, as the part of the fruit that grows in contact with the ground tends to be less pigmented, and this is the explanation for that yellow spot we find on the watermelon rind.
The darker this spot, the more ripe the fruit will be. The white areas indicate that the watermelon is not yet tasty.
When the watermelon ripens, the entire skin is covered with small spots that are much lighter than other parts.
2. Look at the rind
Let’s consider how to determine a watermelon’s ripeness by its peel accurately. The watermelon skin should be free from cracks, spots, or dents, and the rind should be tough to touch.
As soon as the ripe watermelon breaks off on its own from the branch, the flow of water to it stops, and the peel quickly hardens.
If the watermelon is ready, you will not be able to pierce it with a fingernail, but you can very easily remove the thin layer.
The absence of a waxy coating or the opaqueness on the watermelon skin is another sign of its ripeness. The unripe watermelon shines beautifully in the sun.
If it glows, don’t take it. But if the color is opaque, that means it’s ripe, and you can eat it. Pay attention to the colors, how the black-green stripes of the watermelon are visible, which look like a net around the fruit.
These scars indicate that the bees maintained contact with the fruit during pollination. So the more stains like that, the sweeter the watermelon should be.
In the process of growth, like most plants, it needs nutrients. Chlorophyll is what makes the stem of the watermelon green and provides glucose. Once the fruit is ripe, chlorophyll production ceases, and the color slowly changes to yellow.
Therefore, if the color of the berry is bright and contrasting, it means that there was a lot of sun and heat during the growth process, which is what the plant needs for comfortable development.
3. Check the Stalk
The stalk can determine the ripeness of a watermelon. When the fruit reaches maturity, the stem begins to dry out.
A dry stalk and dry edges of the stalk circle are a sure sign of a ripe watermelon. But very often, melon is harvested unripe so that it is more convenient to transport, especially over long distances.
However, the stalk should be moderately dry, as the over-dried version indicates that the melon was harvested many weeks ago. As a consequence of the seller’s actions, the absence of a stalk suggests that the watermelon is not ripe.
4. Determine the ripeness by sound
It may surprise you, but by the sound, you can find out whether watermelon is ripe or not. As you tap on the surface of the watermelon, the sound resonates with the empty micro pockets in the sugar pulp of the fruit.
It only consists of giving a few small touches with your knuckles in the rind of the watermelon.
If doing so produces a dry and deep sound, it is indicative that the fruit is in perfect condition to be consumed. If the sound is barely heard, the watermelon is of poor quality.
5. Determine the sex of the watermelon
Farmers divide watermelons into males and females. If they are longer and elongated, they are considered “Male” and have a less concentrated and more watery flavor. On the other hand, the roundest ones, considered Female, are much sweeter.
6. Consider the Weight
To know if a watermelon is good, it must weigh much more than it appears. It must be like that because watermelon contains 92% water; therefore, the more it weighs, the juicier and sweeter it will be.
However, the berry should not be too light and, at the same time, not too heavy. The optimum weight of ripe fruit is from 8 to 12 kg.
Small watermelons will often be unripe. But when buying on the market, refrain from purchasing a watermelon whose weight is over 12 kg, since usually such specimens are obtained as a result of abundant fertilization, which is not helpful for humans.
7. Take it firmly
Watermelon is a fruit with a hard rind; therefore, you should not be afraid that it will break when you take it firmly.
On the contrary, handling it will help you firmly distinguish a good watermelon’s features. If you notice that it has soft parts, lousy handling may have advocated it, so it will not be a good choice.
8. Color and Structure of the Watermelon Pulp
It is not beneficial to eat watermelons if nitrates’ concentration exceeds the recommended value. People who grow melons for their families do not inject the fruits with harmful substances like nitrates to ripen faster.
A large amount of nitrates in watermelon indicates the uneven color of the pulp, the presence of cracks and yellowish fibers on the surface, and uneven seed color.
If a piece of fruit is placed in a glass of water, the solution becomes cloudy; we can safely consume the fruit. If it has a pink tint and a porous structure, the fruit has already ripened, acquired sugar content.
It is better to refuse watermelon if the liquid has acquired a reddish tint. The red color of the watermelon pulp indicates that there are a lot of nitrates in the berry. Or that it is overripe, and such a product is unsuitable for consumption by either children or adults.
9. Recognize the aroma
Take the watermelon that you choose and smell the aroma. Ripe watermelons will have a sweet, melon-like aroma. If it doesn’t smell good, it means the watermelon isn’t ripe.
However, if the sweet and robust aroma appears, the watermelon is too ripe and not fresh. This method isn’t that easy to master, so if you’re in doubt, try another way to find out if it’s ripe enough.
10. Check the Seeds
If you take a fruit already cut into quarters and wrapped, choose it with the flesh of a deep red. Opt for a piece with black or dark brown seeds.
Avoid pieces with white seeds or whose flesh appears mealy and separated from the sources. Place the watermelon in the refrigerator and consume it within six days after cutting.
Make sure that the piece of watermelon is always wrapped in cling film so that its flesh remains fresh and juicy. It will also avoid absorbing odors from other foods stored in the refrigerator.
11. Go for the Watermelons that have Homogeneous Appearance
Always select symmetrical watermelons; they must be round or long (depending on their kind), with no protrusions or deformities. The malformations of watermelons spoil a dry and fragile interior.
Because the alterations in its appearance indicate that its development has been inappropriate, as it has absorbed unequal amounts of sun and water. It also suggests that the fruit hasn’t ripened well because the farmers picked them too early.
12. Check for Holes
If you see small, deep holes on the cross-section of the watermelon or around its husk, the most recommended would be not to buy this fruit.
They can be the presence of insects that have damaged its interior. Another possible cause is nitrate injections to speed up its growth.
In this case, where these holes are not so deep, they may be proof of the presence of the wireworm, an insect benign for the watermelon, because it affects neither its quality nor its flavor. In this case, you could buy the watermelon without any problem.
13. Examine the Leaves and the Vine
Usually, a young fruit’s vine, leaves, and tendril are green. When the watermelon is ripe, the tendril tends to dry out and thus change color – it turns brown. If you see that the tendril is still green, it signifies that the fruit is not yet ripe.
With these tips and tricks, you can choose the right watermelon. It would be best to buy watermelons when this fruit is in its highest harvest season, around May to September.
Remember to take the health benefits of the watermelon; consume the watermelon when it is fully ripe. So it is best to buy this fruit when it is in its harvesting season.
However, the fruit is available all year round, so why not use these tips and tricks to choose the well-ripened watermelon for you and your family. Consider checking our other handy tips articles on water filtration and Greener festival celebration.