How to Pick a Watermelon

Have you ever wondered how to pick a good watermelon? Did you even know there’s an easy way to spot a good one?

Some people like to thump on the watermelon. I have no idea what they are listening for. Maybe something with the density. Others pick them up, thinking a heavy watermelon will be full of juice. Honestly, I think every watermelon is heavy and picking them up out of those big bins or a stacked pile of round objects is not easy.

There are several good options I can spot from this view already. Don’t throw your back out digging into the bin.

My mom has never picked a bad watermelon. The trick is to look for a nice sized buttery yellow patch on the watermelon. Nowadays, this may look more yellow than you are used to seeing with conventional butter. You want the rich yellow color of organic butter or grass-fed butter. The coloring on the fruit comes from the way the watermelons sit and ripen while on the vine. Don’t worry about scratches or minor surface-level blemishes. Due to the thick rinds, there aren’t many flaws of note for the watermelons that make it to the store.

Look for the yellow color on the left.
Both of these have the butter yellow coloring, but the top watermelon is better due to the larger yellow area.

You can easily roll the watermelons over to look at the coloring if they are in those large cardboard bins. The yellow spot will also exist on the mini watermelons. The area is usually smaller on the minis, but look out for the color. Typically you will have the most options for watermelons in the summer, though you can usually find a good one at all times of the year. If they are all green, leave those melons alone and get a different fruit.

The winner!

And that’s it! Once you’ve scoped out the watermelon of your desired size with a butter yellow patch you’re good to go. Take it home and store it in a cool, safe spot on a counter or floor until you are ready to cut it.

Next up this week: how to cut your watermelon.

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