With the sunny months comes those seasonal cravings for all things fruity, and one absolute staple of the summer is a good old watermelon to beat the heat.
When scavenging through the market to gather the perfect picnic addition, you may not have known that there are a few tricks to guarantee you are getting the best watermelon available.
Before getting slice happy with your summer treat, here are 6 tips to make sure you choose the perfect watermelon that’s both ripe and sweet.
1. Field spot. When choosing your watermelon, you’ll notice that they have a creamy or yellow spot on the shell. This discoloration is the field spot, which is the part of the melon that rested on the ground.
The field spot indicates how long the melon sat basking in the sun and sweetening up on the vine. Ideally, you want to find a watermelon with a yellowish creamy color. Avoid watermelons with field spots that are white as it indicates an underripe melon.
2. Webbing. Some people may be deterred by the brown webbing which can vein more visibly over the skin of a watermelon. However, this is actually a favorable trait when choosing a watermelon.
The webbing indicates the number of times that bees touched the flower that produced the melon. Excess pollination creates more webbing which means the watermelon will be sweeter.
3. Gender. You might be surprised to know that watermelons have genders. Taller and longer watermelons are classified as males and rounder and pumper ones are considered female.
Choosing which gender to go for depends on your taste. Male watermelons tend to be more watery and female watermelons tend to be sweeter. However, unusual shapes may indicate that the watermelon struggled to grow from a lack of sunlight and water.
4. Size. You may be prone to grabbing the largest watermelon if you’re feeding a surplus of people, but larger watermelons aren’t always as tasty.
When choosing the perfect watermelon, you’ll want to find one that is average in size. When it comes to weight, the heavier the better as it indicates that there’s more water inside.
5. Tail. The color of the watermelon’s tail can indicate its ripeness. Avoid any watermelon tails that appear green as this shows it was picked too soon and the taste will be affected.
The best tail to choose is one that appears dried and somewhat withered. When the watermelon is done developing, it will start to detach from the vine so a dried tail proves it wasn’t picked prematurely.
6. Give it a thump. You may have seen other grocery store patrons tapping away in the watermelon bin with an ear perked. These people aren’t crazy, they just want the best out of their summer treat.
When tapping the underbelly of a watermelon, listen for a deep hollow sound as this indicates that it’s ripe. Underripe and overripe watermelons will have a more dull sound to them.