Watermelons are a delicious and refreshing summer treat, but choosing the perfect one can be tricky. A bad watermelon is hard to eat and often goes to waste, while the right one will have you savoring every bite.
Whether you’re shopping at the grocery store or picking your own from a farm, here are some expert tips for selecting the best watermelons every time. From examining its size and shape to checking its color and feel, these easy steps will help ensure that you get maximum flavor out of each melon. You’ll also learn how to tell if a watermelon has gone bad so that it doesn’t end up in your shopping cart or refrigerator!
Why It Is Important to Pick a Good Watermelon
Choosing a ripe, sweet watermelon is essential for enjoying the best flavor and texture. As a highly perishable fruit, it’s important to pick one that is not overly ripe so that it has enough time to mature in your refrigerator before you eat it. Unripe watermelon can be unpleasantly crunchy and flavorless, while overripe watermelons can be mushy and have a sour taste.
How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon
1. Examine the Size and Shape
Watermelons come in different sizes, from small personal melons to larger ones that can weigh up to 50 pounds! Pick one that is appropriate for how much you plan to eat. Watermelons are round or oblong and should be symmetrical in shape, with no soft spots or indentations.
2. Check the Color
Look for a watermelon that has an even green-grayish hue over its skin. Note that lighter splotches may indicate areas of ripeness.
3. Feel Its Weight
A ripe watermelon is heavier than it looks, so pick one up and feel how heavy it is for its size. The rind should also feel hard and firm, not spongy or soft.
4. Tap on the Melon
Gently tap on the melon and listen for a hollow sound, as this indicates that the melon is ripe. Avoid any watermelons that sound dull or have a thudding sound.
5. Look for the “Field Spot”
A yellow or creamy white splotch on one side of the melon indicates where it was resting on the ground while growing in the field. This is an indication of ripeness, as this area would have received the most direct sunlight.
How to Tell if a Watermelon is Bad
Even if you follow the above steps, there’s always a chance that your watermelon may have gone bad after you bring it home. Here are some signs to look for:
1. Look for Signs of Decay
Check the watermelon for any discolorations or soft spots, which are indications of decay. If you find any signs of decay, the watermelon is likely no longer safe to eat and should be discarded.
2. Give It a Sniff
Nothing can quite tell you the quality of the fruit like smelling it. Does it have an off, sour scent? If so, then skip over it – this is likely a bad watermelon. Furthermore, give the melon a feel – if it’s slightly slimy or mushy, then avoid as well. The best flavor and ripeness happens when a watermelon is firm to the touch!
3. Cut It Open
If you want to know definitively, cut into the melon and look at the flesh. A bad watermelon will have a mushy texture and can be discolored or have an off-taste.
Tips on Storing and Cutting up a Watermelon Correctly
Once you’ve chosen the perfect watermelon, it’s time to prepare and store it correctly. Here are some tips to keep your melon fresh for as long as possible:
1. Store in a Cool Location
Watermelons are great when they’re freshly picked – they can even be stored at room temperature! However, if you’re looking to make them last a bit longer, it’s always best to pop them in the refrigerator. Keeping watermelons cool is key for retaining their incredible taste and texture. So wherever you get your hands on this delicious fruit, don’t forget to pick out a nice cool spot for storage!
2. Cut It up When Ready to Eat
Watermelons require special attention due to their high perishability. Make sure to cut them up right after you buy them – not only will it prevent them from rotting, but you’ll enjoy more flavor and texture for the freshest taste! Get those knives ready before your next dinner party because once you slice the watermelon, it’s time to get eaten!
3. Re-Seal the Remaining Slices
Don’t let any leftover slices of melon go to waste! Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious sweet treat, wrap up any remaining pieces in some plastic wrap. Make sure the wrapping is airtight so the moisture stays inside, which keeps the remaining slices feeling as juicy and ripe as if it was freshly cut. Place your sealed folds in the refrigerator. This way, you’ll have plenty awaiting for your next melon snack craving, whenever that might be.
4. Freeze for Later Use
Fresh watermelon can now be enjoyed any time of year! If you’re looking for a tasty treat, freeze your fruit for later use. It’s easy: simply cut the melon into cubes or slices and then store in a sealed container or zip-top bag. Keep frozen for up to six months and enjoy significantly sweeter, tastier watermelon all year round!
What To Do With Leftover Watermelons (10 Creative Ways)
Don’t let any watermelon go to waste! Here are some creative ideas for using up leftovers:
1. Make a Smoothie – Blend leftover melon into a delicious smoothie, or freeze chunks and use them as ice cubes in your drink.
2. Make Popsicles – Soak chopped pieces of melon in a sweet syrup and freeze to make delicious popsicles.
3. Make Jam or Jelly – To make a homemade jam or jelly, boil down chunks of watermelon with sugar.
4. Use It in a Salad – Add fresh chunks of melon to a green salad for extra sweetness, or add it to your favorite fruit salad.
5. Make Watermelon Pizza – Spread cream cheese or ricotta over a slice of watermelon and top with your favorite toppings (think feta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, nuts).
6. Freeze It – Freeze leftover chunks of melon in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
7. Make Watermelon Sorbet – Blend frozen cubes of melon with honey or simple syrup for a refreshing summer treat.
8. Pickle It – Add cubed pieces of watermelon to a vinegar-based brine and let sit overnight for a unique twist on pickled fruit.
9. Grill It – Cut a watermelon into thick slices and season with spices before grilling for a sweet summertime side dish.
10. Bake It – Add chunks of melon to muffin, pancake, or waffle batter for a fruity twist on breakfast.
Finding the best watermelon can be a bit of an art, but with these expert tips you’ll know how to pick the sweetest and ripest melon every time when you visit the grocery store. From inspecting the color and shape to giving it a good thump, following these steps will help ensure that your watermelons are always delicious! And don’t forget that there are plenty of creative ways to use up those leftovers. So go ahead and enjoy this juicy fruit!
With a bit of practice, you’ll be an expert watermelon picker in no time! Soon you’ll be able to select the best watermelons for your family and friends, and be the envy of your neighborhood! So keep these tips in mind and have fun picking out your next perfect watermelon. Good luck!