How To Pick A Superstar Watermelon

How to Pick a Watermelon – Tips for finding a ripe and sweet melon!

How to Cut a Watermelon
Picking out a watermelon at the grocery store is such an anxiety plagued experience, isn’t it?

If you pick a bad one, you’re stuck with 15-20 whopping pounds of watermelon terribleness. And then your options are to either force yourself to eat this yucky watermelon or throw it away…and both are less than desirable options.

So my goal today is to help you pick sweet, ripe watermelons because I know how disappointing it is to get home, take your first bite of some sort of produce you buy, only to find out it sucks.

All the tips here are tidbits I have gathered from personal experience and lots of conversations with produce people and farmers. Please note that there are now some really wonderful tips in the comments section as well, like looking closely for bee sting marks!

Here’s what to look for when selecting a watermelon:

  1. Pick a dull looking watermelon.  A shiny appearance indicates an underripe melon. This applies to honeydew melons too.
  2. Find the field spot.  This is a creamy spot on the melon, and it’s where the watermelon was resting on the ground.  The field spot should be a yellowish creamy color, like shown with my watermelon:how to pick a ripe watermelonThe darker the color of the creamy spot, the longer it was on the vine sweetening up.  If it is white (or not even there), put it back, because this indicates an underripe melon.
  3. What’s all that knockin’ about?  A dull thud indicates an underripe melon.  You will get a dull thud if the flesh is soft, which you don’t want.  Your knuckles should bounce off the melon, and the surface should be pretty hard/firm.
  4. Pick that bugger up.  Is the watermelon heavy for its size?  Note: this applies to pretty much ALL produce.  When I pick up onions for example, I pick the heaviest one for its size.  That means there is lots of water in there.  The watermelon pictured here in my post was a whopping 18 pounds!  It was heavier than the other comparably sized melons around it.
  5. While you’ve got the watermelon in your arms, make sure it’s uniformly shaped.  Irregular bumps indicate it may have gotten inconsistent amounts of sun or water.

While you’re here, let me show you how to cut the watermelon up so it’s in delicious little chunks that are easy to eat:

how to pick the best watermelon

Cut the top and bottom off so it can lay flat on a cutting board (I like this one because it has grooves on the side that catch the juices).

how to pick a sweet watermelon

Run a sharp knife down the sides, taking the rind off.

watermelon picking and cutting tips

Cut it into the desired number of disks, then cut it up into chunks.

Then freeze the cubes to make a Watermelon Slushie!


Happy summer!