Finding the perfect watermelon is more art than science. While you could bore a hole into the thing to find out for sure, you’ll also ruin the watermelon in the process. With help from the National Watermelon Board and other groups, we put together how to pick the best watermelon in three easy steps.
How to Pick the Best Watermelon
Step 1: Inspect the Exterior
The first step is to inspect the watermelon. You’ll want to make sure that it’s free from bruises, cuts, splits, and dents, and it should definitely not be oozing. The exterior should be smooth and symmetrical.
Also, when you rub your fingers over the melon rind, it should feel slightly bumpy. A very smooth surface can be an indication of a young, under-ripe melon. Therefore, the surface should be dull. A shiny appearance shows it hasn’t ripened yet.
Step 2: The Lift Test
Next, the watermelon should be heavy. A watermelon is more than 90 percent water, meaning most of the inside is — or should be — juice. If it doesn’t feel heavy for its size, it could be under-ripe or dehydrated.
Some people prefer the age-old technique of “thumping” the watermelon. If this is you, you’ll want to hear a deep, hollow “thud”. If the thump sounds “tight” or higher pitched, it’s probably an underripe melon.
Step 3: The Spot Test
Lastly, flip the watermelon over and look at the ground spot. That’s where the watermelon sat on the ground as it ripened in the sun. It should be a buttery yellow as opposed to too green or too yellow.
Additionally, you could also look at the watermelon’s webbing, which is actually a form of scarring that starts when the fruit is pollinated. The more it’s pollinated, the more it’s scarred (webbed), and the more sugar in the melon, the sweeter it is.
And that’s how you find the perfect watermelon.
If you love watermelon like we do, check out some great recipes for watermelon snacks and cocktails.