National Watermelon Day: How to pick a good watermelon

Health

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Watermelon is possibly my favorite summer fruit…when it’s properly ripe. The problem is, I’m really bad at picking good watermelons. I’d heard you should pick them up and knock on them, but I had no idea what I was supposed to glean from that experiment (even though I still did it every time).

If you’re like me, you’re in luck. Here are some tips from food and health websites for picking a good watermelon:

#1: Pick it up
A good watermelon should feel heavy for its size. The weight indicates that the fruit is full of water, and thus juicy and delicious.

#2: Check the spot
Watermelons have a field spot showing where they rested on the ground while they grew. Yellower spots indicate that the fruit spent more time ripening on the vine, so it should be sweeter than melons with whiter spots.

Look for a watermelon with a mustard yellow field spot.

#3: Check the stem
The piece of stem left attached to a harvested watermelon is called the tail. A dry, brown tail indicates a tastier fruit because it shows that the watermelon was allowed to ripen more fully on the vine. Choose fruits with brown stems over ones with green stems.

Look for a watermelon with a brown, shriveled tail.

#4: Give it a tap
While lightly smacking or tapping the watermelon, listen for a deep, hollow sound — that’s what you want to hear. If it makes a dull or muted sound, put it back and try another one.

#5: Check out the shape
Pick a watermelon with a firm, symmetrical shape. Irregular bumps may indicate that the fruit received inconsistent water or wasn’t pollinated properly, while dents or cuts may signify the presence of insects or fungus.

#6: Consider the timing
Watermelons are in season in Pennsylvania from about July through September. They’ll taste best when they’re in season.

Once you’ve picked a delicious watermelon, you can eat it plain, or try incorporating it into a dish like a watermelon Mediterranean salad or a beverage like watermelon agua fresca.

My personal favorite: slice the watermelon into bite-sized chunks and drizzle a mixture of honey, lime juice, and chopped-up mint leaves over it. Is anyone else’s mouth watering?

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