You’re walking around in the fruit aisle in the supermarket and a giant green pile catches your eye. It’s a pile of watermelons–huge ones. They are on sale. Your mouth starts to water. You haven’t had watermelon in a while. You’re already imagining taking a bite of a cool, sweet slice of the juicy red flesh of the fruit. It’s settled. You have to buy a watermelon. The question is, how do you know if it’s good? Here are some tips that will help you choose a tasty watermelon.
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Choose what size melon you want to purchase. There are many different sizes available–some are enormous and oval, some are fatter and oval and some are the size of basketballs. If you don’t plan on eating or serving the entire watermelon that same day (and let’s face it — cold watermelon tastes much better than the kind that’s been sitting in the sun or in room temperature all day, unless the supermarket is exceptionally cold), you’re going to have to refrigerate all or some of it. Take this into account and ensure you will be able to fit it inside your refrigerator.
Choose if you want your watermelon to contain pits or seeds. Seedless watermelons are often non-organic, so take that into account if you only eat natural foods. Also, many people swear by pitted watermelons–they claim they are sweeter. Note that many supermarkets will only offer one kind and not specify what types they are in writing. Ask a supermarket worker before buying your melon.
Pick up a watermelon that strikes your fancy and rotate it over in your hands. Inspect it for bruises, discolorations, bumps, dirt or whatever else makes it seem undesirable to you. Bumps often indicate the fruit has been dropped on a hard surface, which likely means part of the flesh inside has been affected.
Choose a melon that is medium to light green but not yellowing, with several spots of light green on it. Also look for a large yellow-white spot on it.
Tap the watermelon lightly several times. It should sound as though your palm is bouncing off the melon. This indicates the fruit is likely fresh and its flesh is very hard, which is how the best melons taste. The surface should not feel soft–you should not be able to mash it. This indicates the melon is overripe–a side effect of too much refrigeration or general bad condition.
Many supermarkets will allow you to exchange or receive a refund on uncut fruit if it is found to be rotten. Ask an attendant ahead of time if that is the case.
If you don’t want to risk buying a rotten uncut watermelon, you may want to buy a melon half instead. Note that these are likely not to be as fresh and more prone to becoming overripe much quicker.