Fifteen Spatulas

How To Pick A Superstar Watermelon

how to pick a good 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.

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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 Lime Slushie! This video shows you how to make one of my favorite and also simplest drinks with watermelon:

Happy summer!
Disclosure: this post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

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Comments

  1. norma posted on April 25, 2011 at 10:37 am (#)

    I really appreciate this tutorial. One day I walked in to my favorite mart and I heard a lot of thumping…yep, they were having a watermelon sale and I really thought I was at a pow wow….now I can join the crowd thanks to you…

    • Joanne replied on April 25th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Happy watermelon picking!

    • Anonymous replied on April 15th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      To pick a good cantelope the most important thing is to make sure there is no stem left on the “belly button” (I never heard it called that before but love it”). If there is stem left, it was not ripe when picked.
      Nancy

      • Kimberly replied on May 17th, 2012 at 1:35 pm

        The navel also needs to me slightly soft. If it is rock hard, it’s not ready yet.

        • Glenna replied on June 7th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

          You can also smell the stem end of a cantaloupe and if it smells sweet, then it’s good. If you smell nothing, it will taste like nothing!

      • diane replied on July 18th, 2012 at 1:06 am

        The skin under the “mesh” needs to be brown as well….if not then it was picked too early & wont be sweet, even if you “let it ripen”

  2. Amy White posted on April 25, 2011 at 10:58 am (#)

    When I knock on a watermelon, I listen for a really nice hollow sound, like knocking on a wooden door. Works every time. I always compare several melons and pick the most resonant one. I never thought about the dull appearance of the skin, but I’ll look for that now too.

    What I really need is a tutorial on picking a canteloupe! When they’re good, they’re so great, but when they’re bad… do you ever notice they sometimes have a slight fishy taste? In general, though, I just seem to end up with underripe canteloupe or honeydew.

    • Joanne replied on April 25th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Amy, I know what you mean about the canteloupe! I have had a few bad canteloupes myself, and it is very disappointing. I think I know what you mean about the slight fishy taste…when a melon goes slightly bad, it has a really gross rotten taste and aroma to it. The only canteloupe tips I know are covered by Mary Helen in a comment below…make sure it smells fragrant and push on that belly button to see if it gives slightly.

    • Kathy Midkiff replied on March 17th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      An amish girl told me to pick a cantalope with white around the stem where it came off the vine, if it is green it is not ripe, and of course the smell is wonderful when the stem is white.

    • Anonymous replied on April 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Push in their belly buttons (indention where it was picked from the vine). If it gives, the canteloupe is ripe. If its hard, the melon is underripe. Needless to say, if you push through and get mush, too ripe.

      • jan replied on June 8th, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        one really good way to get a good cantaloupe is to find one that is as smooth as possible—the rougher it is, the greener it is.

    • Jason replied on June 1st, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      This is what my mom taught me, listening for the right sound, and it seems to work really well. People look at me weird when I put the watermelon up to my ear and give it a couple taps, but I can only remember a couple times when it thumped really deep and hollow sounding and came out being a dud.

  3. seedotkay posted on April 25, 2011 at 11:11 am (#)

    My dad uses the knocking method! And always ends up picking the best watermelon! =]

  4. betsy posted on April 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm (#)

    Thanks for the chopping tutorial! I’m about to slice up my probably less than stellar mellon to freeze for slushies and teething treats for the baby. Your method seems much less complicated than my usual slicing in half and hoping for the best routine.

    • Joanne replied on April 25th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      This method of chopping is much quicker and is the easiest way to deal with watermelon. What I used to do is cut it into slices, then sort of slide the knife under the rind…but it was so time consuming because I would have to do every single piece individually! This way takes only a couple minutes to slice up the entire watermelon.

      • ShellyR replied on April 9th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        Thank you for vindication, lol! I’ve been cutting my watermelons this way for years and always get funny looks/comments. It was just easier and faster for me. Appreciate the tips on picking the best method, too. I knew about the thumping but not the rest. Can’t wait for watermelon season!!!

        • Joanne Ozug replied on April 10th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

          HAHA that’s so funny! It’s definitely the smartest way to do it ;)

          • Bethany replied on June 16th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

            This is actually how the professionals chop up ALL melons (it works WONDERS on cantaloupe and honeydew as well..) My husband is a professional chef, and when I’d help out in one of his old jobs in the catering kitchen I’d spend a lot of time prepping all the melons for the fruit platters…you could get a couple dozen melons done quickly…then they’d leave then cut in half on a cookie sheet until we had to slice them for use on the platters…

      • Linda G. replied on May 13th, 2012 at 2:17 am

        I’ve always cut my watermelon into slices and then slide the knife under the rind but not anymore; I am definitely trying your method out! I love having cut and ready to eat pieces of melon in the fridge. I’ve not tried the pickled melon rind before but my mom has made kimchee from the watermelon rind once or twice. :)

  5. Mary Helen posted on April 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm (#)

    Thanks for the Watermelon picking tips! I am looking forward to trying these out. As for canteloupes, I do believe you can pick a good one by pressing on its “belly button”, the spot that was attached to the stem/vine. It should be a little soft and bouncy, and if you put your nose up against it you should be able to smell the sweet, tasty insides. I think the field spot and weight vs. size ratio is important with cantaloupes as well. Good hunting, everybody!

    • Joanne replied on April 25th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Mary Helen, those are great canteloupe tips, thanks for sharing them. Those are the only two tips I have heard of. I haven’t noticed the field spots on canteloupes but will start taking a look!

    • Judy replied on February 16th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I asked a produce clerk how to pick a good cantelope. He said to look for mostly brown coloring under the webbing. Works every time.

      • Joanne Ozug replied on February 16th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        Fantastic! Thanks for sharing Judy!

    • Kimberly replied on May 17th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Smell is by far the best way to pick any melon. Good smell=good taste. No smell=no taste.

  6. Sharon Pfaff-Campbell posted on April 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm (#)

    Watermelon Jenga – new summer sport! Can’t wait to try out what I have learned! Love your site!

    • Joanne replied on April 25th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Thank you Sharon =) LOL Pete and I don’t have jenga so we have an alternative hehe

  7. Dusty Lee posted on August 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm (#)

    If there is bumps on yor watermelon and it is cause by the drought that we had inmissouri for the last two months will it affect flavor?

    • Joanne replied on August 11th, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Hi Dusty, Yes, irregularities in smoothness or shape are an indicator of uneven watering, which it sounds like it did experience exactly that because of the drought. Did you grow your own or something? Who knows, maybe it will still taste good, you never know!

  8. Gaby@GabHousewifeChronicles posted on February 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm (#)

    Thanks for the tips! Definitely gonna try them soon!

  9. jessica posted on February 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm (#)

    OK now I want watermelon LOL. Now if someone could write how to choose a coconut Id be great. I bought one which sounded like it had lots of the coconut water in it and when I hit it the entire inside had seperated from the coconut and there was mold growing in it :P Gross.

  10. dana m posted on February 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm (#)

    I have to admit, I was skeptical about this since I rarely get a nice watermelon. Guess what?? They had minis at Costco. So I followed your tips and that sucker was a yummy one! They worked!! Wahoo!! Here’s to a successful watermelon picking season.

  11. Lauralee posted on March 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm (#)

    I have another tip…in addition to these things…look for bee stings, that means the watermelon is sweet.

    • Mattie replied on June 7th, 2012 at 12:50 am

      I had a produce team lead from Sam’s club tell me that the thing that indicates be stings are the tracks on the watermelon. The more tracks the more bees the sweeter the melon.

    • Julia replied on June 9th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      yes, the bee sting. My produce guy showed me that too. Look for a small poked, or scarred area, with some dried up scar sap, that means the bees were eating/sucking it because it is a sweet one. If you find a watermelon with a few of these “scars” you’ve scored!

  12. Lauralee posted on March 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm (#)

    I have another tip…in addition to these things…look for bee stings, that means the watermelon is sweet.

    • Melissa replied on July 17th, 2014 at 1:53 am

      YES! I worked for a women in VA and she taught me about the bee stings. I have never looked for anything else. No thumping, pushing required. We always choose an amazing watermelon. Once it is sliced and chunked, it’s gone within 24 hours! I have to scoop out some before the fam gets to it to make sorbet for slushies. Again, gone super fast.

  13. Valencia posted on March 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm (#)

    Great tips i love watermelon but how do you tell if it’s overripe? That is sometimes more disappointing to me than an underripe watermelon.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on March 11th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      If it’s overripe the watermelon will start to get soft and mushy. Make sure the watermelon you pick is nice and firm. Hope that helps =)

  14. D. LeBlanc posted on March 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm (#)

    Someone once told me that in order to pick a sweet cantelope you should find one that is more yellow in color. The belly button thing also works well.

  15. Luna posted on March 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm (#)

    I have also found a watermelon with a scar is super sweet. I think it is because the vine has to send extra nutrients to repair itself.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on March 24th, 2012 at 9:23 am

      That’s really interesting, I’ve never heard of that one. Thanks for sharing!

      • Sandee replied on April 16th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

        I was picking a watermelon one day, when a little old scruffy man, told me he had been a watermelon farmer for 30 years and he showed me how to pick the right one. He told me that the “scars” on melons are actually “sugar marks”. That the sweeter melons will have sugar marks, but too many isn’t good! So I incorporate the sugar line method with the thumping and get a great melon every time!

        • Linda G. replied on May 13th, 2012 at 2:23 am

          Oh, thank you for sharing the farmer’s tips! I seem to look for those sugar marks and bee stings, too! Unfortunately Western Washington doesn’t get the best tasting fruit in general.

        • Mattie replied on June 7th, 2012 at 12:53 am

          What do you mean by “scars”? Are those the lines on the melon?

          • Christain replied on July 4th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

            I have heard this also. Where I am from we have a lot of watermelon farmers. The sugar marks are the “stretch marks” of the watermelon that kind of looks spongy. Not the normal stripes watermelon have. Also check the stem on the water melon. Sugar will begin to seep out of the stem as well.

            • Joanne Ozug replied on July 4th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

              Very cool, thanks for sharing!

  16. Nikki posted on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm (#)

    This is a VERY useful guide for me, especially since I’m deaf and I have no way of knocking on it and knowing whether the melon is dull or not. I am very grateful for the visual and feel aids!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on March 24th, 2012 at 9:19 am

      That’s so great Nikki! Good luck and happy watermelon picking =)

  17. Shea posted on March 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm (#)

    Always wanted to know this!!!! You’re great. Found you from pinterest.com… so glad too cause you’ve got some GREAT tid-bits! :) thank you again!

  18. Jennifer A posted on April 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm (#)

    I cut the watermelon the same way. I keep the ends though like massive watermelon bowls and just sit on the couch and eat them with a spoon. Hey, at least its not ice cream.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on April 7th, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Ooo I like your idea of using the ends like that! HAHAHA watermelon is much better than ice cream ;)

  19. Alyssa posted on April 7, 2012 at 2:06 am (#)

    Another indicator is bee-stings. You can see on the picture above, that there are little stings on the mellon (I counted 4). Bee’s will go back to the mellon if it is sweet; if not, they leave it alone. If the bee’s love it so will you!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on April 7th, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Hi Alyssa, that is SO cool!!!! Where are you seeing the 4 bee stings? In the field spot picture???

  20. Janine Arthur-Kingston posted on April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm (#)

    I learned to cut all melons like this from,believe it or not, the butlers at the Playboy Mansion. We must be doing it right…..

    • Joanne Ozug replied on April 11th, 2012 at 7:54 am

      HAH! I love this comment. LOL.

    • Tigerlily Cross replied on June 8th, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      I grew some watermelons last year (1st time ever) & passed them on to neighbors who’ve supplied me with delicious berries,tomatoes, peaches– then I ate one — I was shocked….it was bitter & awful, so THANKS now I know what to look for when it’s ripe ….and I realize also what kind neighbors I have & we all had a good laugh later on!

  21. Debbie Stieritz posted on April 11, 2012 at 8:49 am (#)

    I used to do the thump, and stopped for some reason. Since then my melons have been hit or miss, these are great tips! I also cut all of my melons this way, it is so fast and makes things look so nice!!! You have to be careful with button pressing on cantaloupes, the more people who come by and press on the harder ones start to soften the buttons up and they will give before they are ripe, I go by smell more than anything with them! Off to go melon shopping!!!!!

  22. Bill White posted on May 17, 2012 at 2:27 am (#)

    Some good tips there….I hate to sound arrogant, but I sold fruit for a number of years and have started a book on how to pick good fruit. From the things I’ve heard here, I think the book is needed.
    If you don’t mind me saying, an under ripe watermelon does not thud. It has a high-pitched ping. An over ripe one has a thud/splat sound like patting your belly. A ripe melon is like the person who mentioned the door sound. I like to refer to it as hitting the side of a canoe…but not everybody canoes! It reverberates like a drum. A seedless melon seems to require a higher pitched ring to it, otherwise it may be overripe.
    Yes on the yellow underbelly and sugar marks. Not sure I agree with the shiny skin being underripe….I’ll check that out. Even with my skills, I often wind up with a loser with watermelons. With cantaloupes, I rarely get a bad one.
    CANTALOUPES: The one very best way to tell if it’s a sweet one….you want very thick and bumpy ‘netting’ all over the skin of the melon. That’s a slam dunk. Of course you want it to be yellow and not greenish. Caution: A cantaloupe with a thin netting may have a heavenly scent, but it will be somewhat bland tasting. There! I just gave away my best secret. If everyone knew that, the grocers would have to throw away all the rest of the cantaloupes that people wouldn’t take home!
    my work now is with fruits and nuts of the human variety…www.thehealthycouple.com

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 17th, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Hi Bill, Please, no worries about that at all, I am happy you’ve joined the discussion and shared such a detailed comment, thanks for that. I am very taken by your cantaloupe comment regarding smell…I give the most weight to smell when I’m picking out fruit, but you’re right, I’ve gotten some cantaloupes that smelled good but were disappointing. Hopefully from now on I won’t get a bad one!!!

  23. Kimberly posted on May 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm (#)

    Actually the best way to determine if fruit is going to be good is smell. All of these tricks do no good if a watermelon or whatever has no real smell. A strong scent indicates ripeness and flavor.

  24. Kat posted on May 22, 2012 at 1:44 am (#)

    Thanks for sharing this. I can’t wait to go look for a good watermelon now!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 22nd, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Good luck Kat!

  25. Marci posted on May 22, 2012 at 10:58 am (#)

    The itsy bitsy brown holes in the watermelon are bee stings. Look for a watermellon that has a lot and the sweeter the melon will be.

  26. Elaine posted on May 25, 2012 at 2:20 am (#)

    I have actually asked the produce man to cut a melon in half in their back room…they will do that, and if it’s not red/ripe enough, they will even try another one for you.
    Then, they wrap the 2 halves in plastic wrap and sell it to you for the same price as it was sold as a whole melon.
    No one wants to get home with a melon for company dinner, and find it to be too pink!
    Great tips and enjoyed the video as well. Thanks!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 25th, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Hi Elaine, Thanks for sharing your tips with all of us! I think it’s always a great reminder to ask for things like that. Have a great holiday weekend =)

  27. whitney posted on May 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm (#)

    Thank you! Thank you! Have always wondered about this. Tried your suggestions today and got the best watermelon i have had in ages!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 26th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Whitney, fantastic!!! So glad the watermelon tips helped you!

  28. Erin Motz posted on May 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm (#)

    This was great! I’ve heard of the knocking, but the field mark is totally new to me. So helpful, thank you :)

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 27th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Erin, Yeah I think the field spot is one of the best indicators!

  29. Lael posted on May 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm (#)

    Ive actually heard that knocking in it really didn’t matter but it’s the belly button on it that needs to be inspecteded. If its dark almost oozing with a crusty, sugary substance then it’s perfect , of not then its a no go. Have you heard abt this approach?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 29th, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Hm, very interesting. I haven’t heard of that but I will start taking a look every time I pick up a watermelon. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Allison posted on May 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm (#)

    I love watermelon and I’ve already gotten burned on two bad ones this year. I go around knocking like an idiot because, to be honest I never knew what I was listening for! I’m so thankful that you made the printable to take with me to the store – on number two I already knew I’d be printing this baby out. Thanks so much!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 30th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Good luck Allison! So far from the comments I’ve gotten people have had success, but I must say, the other day while I was at the store the produce guy offered to cut one open for me and let me taste it…and that’s the best way to tell of all, isn’t it! haha.

      • Bill White replied on May 30th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        Another comment, yes Joanne, having the melon cut is one of the best ways to find out if you got a good one. Sometimes I buy 2 or 3 if I need to make sure at least one is good. Then I bring the others back if they’re not good.
        One caveat to that: Over my years of selling fruit, I’ve found that a watermelon gets sweeter after it’s been cut and in the fridge for half a day. Soooooo, if you have it cut at the store, if it’s not a super-tasting melon, but good, it might taste better after a half a day in the fridge.

        • Joanne Ozug replied on June 4th, 2012 at 11:11 am

          Hi Bill, yeah, I’ve done that with cantaloupe before. I bought one and it was almost inedible, I took it back and they refunded me. I think it’s good to remember as an option.

          Also you’re TOTALLY right about it getting better in the fridge. It’s amazing!

    • Leesa replied on July 19th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      I’m with you Allison! My daughter ask me what I was listening for and I said I didn’t know!! ha/ha I’m so excited about these tips! Off to the market! Thanks so much!!

  31. Bill White posted on May 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm (#)

    Oh, I meant, if I don’t have the melon cut, I may buy 2 or 3 at a time.

  32. Kristina posted on June 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm (#)

    I once knew a man that watermelons he grew in his backyard. He told me the way to know they were ready was they had a curly “pigtail” on them that was dried out which meant they ripened on the vine. He said he did not cut them off the vine, he let them ripe on the vine. They were so good!!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 4th, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Hey Kristina, very interesting, I’ve definitely seen these little pigtails!

  33. Barb posted on June 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm (#)

    While shopping at the local farmer’s market, I had a grower tell me to look for the “sugar beads”. These are little black sticky dots (melon sugar) that develop on the ends or scars on the watermelon. This will guarantee a sweet melon everytime…since then I stopped thumping the melons and haven’t been disappointed either!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 4th, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Barb, thanks for sharing this, I’ve never heard of this technique. It’s amazing all the reader contributed tips that have been shared here in the comments. I will keep my eyes out for those!

  34. cathy posted on June 7, 2012 at 2:12 am (#)

    On the cantaloupe question,, SMELL IT! it should smell like a cantaloupe. It should be heavy and have rind should slightly give near the belly button. Too soft and it is over ripe. [you can freeze and use in smoothies.] Under ripe and it is just hard and never develops that sweet-sunny flavor. Best way, grow your own. On the watermelon, the stem [should have part of one if you can find it] and be dried up. Means it ripened out in the field. Heavy – yes. Honey Dew- the same. Also the firmness at the belly button will let you know if it is too old. Soft is never good on a melon of this type. Growing moons and stars watermelon, hoping to get a few.

  35. Felicia posted on June 8, 2012 at 7:36 am (#)

    Wanted to let you know I shared this ( and linked back) to this post! It is awesome! Perfect for summer!

    http://allthingsfee.blogspot.com/2012/06/lifesavers-series-cleaning-fruit.html

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 8th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Felicia! I’ll go check out =)

  36. 33bowls posted on June 8, 2012 at 11:18 am (#)

    Slightly OT: Add Apples to the list of food to listen to. A light finger flick or tap will help determine where it is along the continuum between crisp and mushy.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 8th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Awesome, thanks for sharing!

    • Bill White replied on July 20th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Yes. It’s a good test.

  37. qfarms posted on June 9, 2012 at 3:20 am (#)

    very good and skilled show

  38. liz posted on June 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm (#)

    thank you for the wonderful explaination sharing with my children :)

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 9th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks Liz!

  39. Anonymous posted on June 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm (#)

    Great information! Love watermelons!

  40. Robyn posted on June 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm (#)

    Thanks for the tips! As far as the bowl in the fridge. I hate when my watermelon chunks sit in the juices and get soggy so I took 2 large Rubbermaid bowls of the same size and drilled holes in the bottom of one of them. Then you set or “stack” that one in the other one. It leaves about an inch between them where the juices drain into leaving your chunks nice and crisp. It also gives you seed-free and pulp-free juice to use for other recipes!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 16th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Brilliant Robyn, thanks for sharing your tips!

    • Cindy replied on July 3rd, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      I have used the colander method for years. No more mushy pieces in the bottom of the bowl.

    • edrita replied on July 13th, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      never thought of that… thanks for sharing i am going to try this!

  41. Mettalchic posted on June 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm (#)

    Did you also know that you can eat the rids? You can pickle them and they taste great. Just in case you didn’t want to compost all that rind of an 18 lb melon. Less waste, more food! :)

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 24th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Yes, I love pickled watermelon rinds! I mention them in my video. Thanks for the tip =)

  42. Trisha posted on June 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm (#)

    Another good indicator is bee stings!

  43. Christi posted on July 3, 2012 at 2:26 am (#)

    A produce manager told me years ago, when I was catering a dinner for 80 and needed guaranteed ripe watermelon, that the “striping” on the melon should be broken up and no longer defined – indicating that they’re ripe. He was right, in 20 years I’ve never picked out a bad watermelon!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 3rd, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Christi, what a neat tip to share with us. I will start looking for that! Thank you!

  44. Anonymous posted on July 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm (#)

    Great information. I like your writing style too. Easy to understand.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 6th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you, I’m so glad to hear it!

  45. denise posted on July 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm (#)

    I was told at the farmers market this morning to always look for “Bee Tracks.” If you look at the picture above where it has the yellow field spot, you will see the brown scuff tracks. Those are made by bees. The bees are attracted to the sweetest melons.

  46. Rita posted on July 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm (#)

    Hey I just wanted to say I eat my weight in Watermelon (Don’t ask) so have gotten pretty good about picking–you’re right on. What I needed was your cutting method; Thanks. Happened across your site via DIL and immediately bookmarked. It rocks!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 11th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Rita! Fantastic, glad the cutting technique helps you out! What is DIL? LOL I’m drawing a blank for that one!

      • Sherry replied on July 31st, 2014 at 12:19 am

        Daughter in Law :)

  47. Vickie posted on July 16, 2012 at 8:39 am (#)

    Hi there,
    I grew up on a watermelon farm and one top you might want to add is to look at the stem. This is a dead giveaway to how long the watermelon has been off the vine. If it’s brown, your watermelon is going to be over ripe. However, the best tip would be to go to a farmer’s market…way better watermelons than the grocery store :).

  48. Trish posted on July 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm (#)

    Great tips for picking watermelon and cantaloupe.
    Does anyone know how to pick honeydew melon?

    • Bill White replied on July 20th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      HONEYDEW MELONS
      http://www.thehealthycouple.com

      To answer your question about honeydew melons, this is an excerpt from my not-yet-published book:
      Surefire buying method: Find a honeydew that has 1) sweet smell, 2) some yellowish tint with the green, and here’s the best test, 3) has a mildly sticky feel. When honeydews are really ripe, the normally smooth, slick-feeling skin will get sticky. Unless the honeydew is really starting to feel mushy on the outside, it will be great. I usually scan the entire selection for the yellowish coloring and then pick out those to feel for the stickiness and then smell for a sweet smell.

      Storage: Honeydews will continue to ripen after picked, as is true of all melons. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE UNTIL IT STARTS TO HAVE AN AROMA OR FEEL STICKY. Honeydews, like underripe watermelons, can stay at room temperature for a week or two, depending on its ripeness. If you put it in the fridge too early, it may not ripen well even when you take it out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for a few days.

      NOTE: You can buy a honeydew that has no smell or sticky feel. Usually they will ripen in a week or so. However, some honeydews are picked so green that they will never ripen.

      • Joanne Ozug replied on July 20th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        Bill, this is absolutely wonderful. When is your book going to be published?

        • Bill White replied on July 20th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

          A number of people want to know that. My main work now is working with couples who are in distress. The book hasn’t been my top priority. However, I’m working on a series of books on healthy relationships. I may get the fruit buying book out as I’m publishing the others. As you can tell, I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I have a couple of titles for the book:

          BLUEDICKS, SPERM WHALES, AND BLOOD ORANGES
          A Humorous (Okay, Hilarious) and Professional (Okay, Helpful) Look At How to Buy Fruit That Actually Tastes Great

          PICKING GOOD FRUIT IS LIKE GOING ON A BLIND DATE:
          You really never know what you got until it’s too late

          I thought your readers would appreciate knowing how to buy honeydew (and as I’ve written before on this blog cantelope and watermelon.) I think people get tired of buying something that tastes more like a cucumber!

          • Joanne Ozug replied on July 20th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

            LOL! I like the picking good fruit blind date one. Well, such is life, I suppose. Always so much to do and limited time available. Let us know about the progress =)

            • Bill White replied on July 20th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

              Thanks for the vote on the title, Joanne. The reasoning behind the first title is related to the humor I bring out about how things are named…including fruit. I think you would find that enjoyable and fascinating.

              I will keep you posted on my progress.

      • Trish replied on July 21st, 2012 at 12:38 am

        Thanks for the info on how to pick out a honeydew melon. Now I should be able to pick out watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. All the tips have been great.

  49. Lee posted on July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am (#)

    “If you really want to make sure the watermelon is good, ask them to cut it open for you and let you try it. I’ve started doing this recently ever since a produce guy offered to let me taste.”

    Really? Where do you live? I don’t know of ANY store that would honor your request! LOL

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 19th, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Really? I don’t live anywhere special…just a medium town in Georgia. Every store in town will do it. Whole Foods, Publix, etc. The only reason I did this was because the produce person offered. Ordinarily though I just buy one with the tips and I get a good one. But in general, if I buy something in the produce section and it’s bad, I take it back for a refund.

  50. Renna posted on July 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm (#)

    I just want to thank you for this past post of yours. I discovered it on Pinterest, saved the info to a memo on my phone, then referred to it the next time I shopped for a watermelon. I no longer need to refer to the memo, but I still follow your suggestsions when I shop. I am happy to say, we’ve had 4 good watermelons in a row, since I discovered your advice. THANK YOU!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 27th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Renna, that is wonderful! So glad to hear it! Glad I can help you pick great watermelons =)

  51. Kerri posted on August 8, 2012 at 11:59 am (#)

    You forgot a critically important step – wash that baby before cutting into it. Watermelon grows on the ground where it lays on dirt and is available for any nearby wildlife, or farm dog can pee on it. If you don’t wash it first, and cut into it, any residue on the outside will be pulled into the melon. All produce should be throughly scrubbed in warm water with a vegetable brush. You don’t need any soap, but a little vinigar in the water is my preference. If you have the store cut it open for you, make sure they scrub it too.

    • felix unger replied on September 12th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      You sound like Howard Hughes without the money. You are probably better off not eating fresh fruits with that kind of attitude. Washing lightly is enough, and has been for thousands and thousands of years.

      • Tish replied on October 24th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        Washing is important less because of possible dog pee or even booger hands but because of potentially dangerous bacteria. If you look at the news a lot of cases of people getting salmonella or other types of food poisoning is from unwashed produce and not necessarily under cooked meat. Grocery stores sell a lot of things besides fruit and you don’t know how stuff is transported. Light washing may have been good for thousands of years but people also died from preventable diseases for thousands of years. Not saying you need to bleach it or anything, but a nice rinse with a touch of soap or vinegar sounds like a good idea to me.

        Also, my father-in-law (60 yr old southerner) got sick from unwashed watermelon once and now he pretty much insists on washing it as well.

      • Ashley replied on April 15th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        It might change your opinion when I tell you that sometimes the people who pick the fruit pee in the fields. I’m a lot less concerned about the dog. Regardless, after you comment, wouldn’t you feel a little guilty if someone followed your advice and ended up in the hospital or dead? People die every year because of this. Just let her wash her fruit with vinegar! Makes no difference to your life.

        • Rachel replied on April 29th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

          Yes workers pee on the produce…I was mortified to learn of workers peeing in the lettuce, they thought it was funny to see the pee come foaming out of iceberg lettuce.
          Nasty!
          Please wash your produce!

          • Dana replied on April 29th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

            Yuck! I felt better not thinking about that. However, will be healthier scrubbing the heck out of my produce. I always wash but now that you say that maybe not enough:) Like others, I wasn’t as concerned with animal pee. I was mostly concerned with pesticides, but now also with farm workers having fun at my expense!

    • Toni replied on September 19th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Geeze when we were kids (living in Montana), we only had watermelon in the summer at the lake. My dad picked out the melon at put it in a fishing net and placed it in the lake to stay cold! I dont think it ever crossed his mind to wash it first! We saved the rind for grandma and she made watermelon rind pickels. How times have changed!

    • Katelyn replied on October 9th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      I totally agree – I’ve worked in grocery stores & have seen first hand just how nasty some of the employees handling the produce can be, and that’s on top of whatever could have made a “deposit” on the fresh fruits & veggies when they were still on the ground, vine or in the tree. It’s just a good practice to wash this stuff, I don’t think it’s being pretentious or anything, just a way to avoid germs. Think about all the booger-fingered kids in the store who have touched all that stuff as they walk past it too…..LOL!

    • Anonymous replied on December 24th, 2012 at 1:09 am

      what happen to drinking water from the water sprinklers at the park!? wash the fruit with a vegetable brush? really…..I pick the apples give it a wipe with my shirt and take a nice crisp bite! strawberries ……I’ve eaten the in the field right after I picked it! lets live a little…..this is why are youth is obese you’re giving them too many steps! hahahaha

      • Anonymous replied on April 30th, 2013 at 9:36 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more. People worry too much about stuff now and do not live. Everyone is more worried about what will happen if I do or dont do this… Really watch a kid for a day and take their way of living into perspective. As a kid did you ever consider what was going to happen when you rode your bike without a helmet, or what happened when you picked up that frog or bug.. NO Life needs to go back to the way things used to be. People would be much HAPPIER and there would be much less stress in the world… Live Life and enjoy it, you only get 1.

    • Diane replied on February 28th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      YES! There was a lot of folks getting sick last year from eating cantaloupe. Because cantaloupe has a rough surface, bacteria especially likes to hide in its pits. When you run a knife through the outer layer into the meat the bacteria goes with the knife. Wash cantaloupe carefully and thoroughly!

  52. Lindsey posted on August 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm (#)

    Thanks for the tips! I always cut my watermelon this way and it works so much better than the way I used to do it a long time ago. I have never been good at picking melons with the thumping method, what I do is very lightly run my fingernail over the skin if it comes off easily I have always gotten a perfect tasting melon! It doesn’t work if you have fake nails on but just lightly scrape and if the skin comes right off that means tasty! I will definitely try some of the other tips in the future to see how it works for me!

  53. Allissa posted on September 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm (#)

    I think all of your suggestions were wonderful except for one. My husband and I own a Farm Market in Michigan and we grow our own watermelon to sell there along with tons of other produce. We are actually prohibited by law from cutting up produce for customers to sample. It poses too much of a health risk without a proper licensed kitchen to wash and cut the produce in. So, while I think sampling produce is a great sales strategy, readers, please do not assume that a farmer is trying to hide something by not offering samples and I would be wary of sampling produce anywhere that a licensed kitchen is not in sight. Just a little insight from a girl in the produce biz. :)

    • Joanne Ozug replied on September 3rd, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Allissa, I’ve never been to a watermelon farm, how neat. All the groceries around here sell cut watermelon and they cut it in the kitchen for me. That makes sense that a farm wouldn’t do that…especially if it’s illegal. That’s pretty intense! Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • Anonymous replied on October 7th, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Great point !

    • DBM replied on October 12th, 2012 at 12:19 am

      My Grandma and Mom stressed NEVER never take a sample from a farmer selling fruit….Thier theory was that you never knew if he cut his toenails with the knife he used to cut your sample !

      • Anonymous replied on April 23rd, 2013 at 4:49 pm

        Good grief your momma and I must be related as I say the same thing! ;)
        ~Honey

  54. Tom posted on September 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm (#)

    Not a fan of the watermelon thump advice. I raised watermelons in my younger years and a REALLY solid thump is a sign of an over-ripe melon. A deep but solid thump is a melon that can be delicious. A high pitched thump is a sign of an unripe melon.

  55. Anagha posted on September 9, 2012 at 6:23 am (#)

    Hey, thanks for sharing this. I’m a big fan of watermelons and now u made it easy to choose them and cut them. Thanks once again..:)

    Anagha

  56. Reyhan posted on September 17, 2012 at 1:40 am (#)

    LOL! Watermelon Jenga….. LOVE it! Thanks for the tips on picking out a good watermelon, too!

  57. brittany posted on September 23, 2012 at 12:03 am (#)

    I usually buy my melons from the grocery store (we have bilo, walmart, food lion and ingles most prevalent around here). I really don’t think they would cut open the melon! Especially if I tasted it and didn’t like it! There is no giving it back…not to my knowledge. Most places I’ve been to, I always thought it was you buy it then cut it up at home. What kind of places would let you sample a few different melons before you decided which one you wanted, if any?
    Curious,
    Britt

    • Joanne Ozug replied on September 24th, 2012 at 12:11 am

      Hi Brittany, I shop at Publix and Whole Foods, which are well known for good customer service, and they also sell cut watermelons, so this is possible at those kinds of stores. I am familiar with Walmart but have never shopped at a bilo, food lion, or ingles. I guess it depends what their policies are. Whole Foods for instance lets you return food you don’t like or weren’t satisfied with, so if I don’t like something I just return it, and they also encourage you to taste things if you want to (or at least, the Whole Foods by my house does this haha).

    • Sara replied on September 26th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      I have worked in produce at two different commissaries (military grocery store). The smaller one I worked at, we used to cut up the melons for people all the time. The second one I worked at, our manager didn’t care all that much about customer service so he didn’t allow us to. My point being, I think it just depends on the specific store and who runs it.

      • Lauren replied on April 29th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        I am a Military Wife and I am just wondering why the produce at the commissary sucks. At least at Bliss it does. I can not even buy bananas unless we plan on eating them that day or they go bad. Do you know why this is?

        • Joanne Ozug replied on April 29th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

          I have been told that it’s because they buy from whoever is willing to give them the lowest price. I agree, the commissary can be pretty bad for produce, but I have found it varies a lot from commissary to commissary. The one I’m at now is actually decent!

        • Rachel replied on April 29th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

          No kidding! Been to dozens of commissaries, growing up military and inlaws retired military, I’ve never seen any of them with good produce.

    • Dani replied on April 29th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      I know Safeway and Fred Meyers allow you to sample any food. If you ask a sales associate to taste a melon, they have to cut it. that goes for a candy bar, a loaf of bread….anything. They want happy customers.

    • Michelle R. replied on April 30th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      I only have a Walmart and a Safeway in my little town. Both of these stores will let you return produce if it wasn’t good. Just bring your receipt back and any unused portion of the product, and they will replace it. No questions asked. My Safeway also offers samples of the fruit, which I might talk to them about! I never took samples, but now I have good reason. I know they don’t wash the fruit before they cut it open because I’ve watched them do it. It is a sad day when we have to be THIS careful with food!

  58. jan jones posted on September 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm (#)

    oh, wow! you are my hero! my husband LOVES watermelon, and I get to not only buy it but cut it as well. so your post is a goldmine for me! thanks so much!!

  59. trista posted on October 1, 2012 at 11:46 am (#)

    You might mention how important it is to wash watermelons. They can lead to food-borne illness, but often don’t get washed…icky!

  60. Lauren posted on October 2, 2012 at 3:56 am (#)

    My grandpa tought me to look for the little grey strips that have black dots in them. He said they were bee stings, and that was the sweetest because the bees could tell better than we could. It has worked pretty good for me.

  61. JAN posted on October 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm (#)

    all the tips are great and I do one more thing. I let the watermelon sit for 3 days at least and then cut.

    • Anonymous replied on May 9th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Curious as to why you let it sit for 3 days

    • Tina replied on May 26th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      In the fridge?

  62. Jane posted on October 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm (#)

    Hi, I see that you have a “pin it” button, and then next to that you have a copyright notice that images cannot be duplicated, which seems a little contradictory. I was just wondering if it was ok to “pin” your images to Pinterest? I don’t want to infringe on a copyright! Thanks.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on October 20th, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Hi Jane, Ah yes, I can see that. The copyright notice is to try to deter people from copying and pasting my entire posts and claiming it as their own (it happens constantly). Pinning is definitely fine. I will try to work on my wording =)

      • Jane replied on October 20th, 2012 at 9:39 am

        Thank you!

  63. Kelly Reardon posted on October 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm (#)

    I live in the South and we live watermelon! Unfortunately, I am allergic to it now :( But I can still enjoy the watermelon rind pickles!!!! They are so good!

  64. Justina posted on November 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm (#)

    What knives do you use/own?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on November 19th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      I have quite a hodgepodge of knives. I started out with some cheaper ones (Wusthof stamped knives, Chicago cutlery) but eventually got some Shun knives which are my favorites. I also have some Japanese one I got from my stepdad but I don’t know what it’s called. If you’re looking for a good knife, I would say just make sure it’s hand forged, not stamped, and you can find some good reviews on Amazon.

      • Anonymous replied on February 16th, 2013 at 9:20 am

        Love my Wusthof’s and at $500 for a 7-9 piece set they are a huge step up from most knives that I think of as cheaper.

  65. Just Me posted on December 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm (#)

    A deep solid thump with a bit of vibration will give you a delicious watermelon. We grow them every year and haven’t had a bad one yet, testing them this way. Also, the girl in the video would have an easier time, if she used a longer narrower knife.

  66. Jamie posted on December 29, 2012 at 2:03 am (#)

    Thanks for the advice! I will def try cutting mine like that next time.

  67. Socorro Alaniz posted on January 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm (#)

    In addition to your wonderful advice, I was told by a produce worker, who use to grow watermelons in Durango, Mexico, to look for bee stings on the watermelon. It will look like trails of dry tracks on the skin of the watermelon. Bees will pick out the sweetest ones and do most of the work for you! Thanks.
    CoCoinBonita

    • Joanne Ozug replied on January 6th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing a great tip with us! Others have mentioned the bee stings and I have started to notice them now that I know they are there.

  68. Samantha posted on January 20, 2013 at 9:15 am (#)

    I’m not a big fan of watermelon, but you can also use this cutting technique with other melons like cantaloupe. Slice in half, scoop out the seeds, flip so the flat side is down, and slice off the rind. You’re left with a little dome of fruit which can be sliced in half inch lines then one perpendicular cut across the middle.

    Oh, and I totally agree about the washing thing. I’m less concerned about hand germs than I am about pesticides and animal droppings. I rinse everything before cutting. I even read somewhere that you shouldn’t drink water at a restaurant with a slice of lemon in it that still has the rind because you don’t know if the lemon was washed.

    • SoWeGA replied on February 4th, 2013 at 1:32 am

      The warning about the lemons is more because they are never stored properly and bowls of lemon are often reused.

  69. Erin @ The Lovely Life posted on February 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm (#)

    Hi Joanne,
    Great post! I found you on Pinterest, and just wanted to say thanks for this! This is a much better way to cut a watermelon! I used to work at a produce stand in Dunnellon, FL, and we sold watermelon all through the summer. An easy way to remember what sound the watermelon should make when you thump it is to compare it to these sounds:
    -Tap your forehead with your hand (high sound) —> underripe melon
    -Tap your stomach with your hand (low, heavy sound) —> overripe melon
    -Tap your chest with your hand (bouncy, solid sound) —> perfect melon

    • Bill White replied on February 11th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Erin!!!! That is ingenious! It is right on. I put in a number of posts about picking vaious melons on this site in case you want to check them out.
      Thank you for the great tip!
      Blessings

    • Toni replied on June 6th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Neat! Thanks Erin!

  70. Penny posted on March 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm (#)

    We cut our watermelon this way. However, we use an electric knife to do the job. It is so easy!

  71. Ali Mc posted on March 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm (#)

    Hey, just found you through Pinterest! Love the tips. I’m definitely going to be using them the next time I pick out a watermelon. Thank you.

    PS: I too love spatulas :)

  72. Sidney posted on April 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm (#)

    An easier way is just to quarter it and score it. That cubes it effortlessly. I do this for a living – I work in the fresh made section at the grocer.

  73. Mommypage posted on April 9, 2013 at 1:21 pm (#)

    We love your advice! It’s hard to find the perfect watermelon but your tips are very helpful. Thank you!

  74. jan posted on April 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm (#)

    Absolutely wash the melon. Farmers use fecal matter to fertilize their crops. Cow and horse poop. I would want to wash the melon first. Recent cases in Toronto, Ontario of hep B from store bought veg and fruits should be enough to make you want to wash everything .You wouldn’t put the shoes you wore to the melon patch in your fridge, so why would you put an unwashed melon in there? Or on your counter or cutting board?

    • Nana replied on April 29th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I totally agree with ‘jan’. I live in a large farming area in the Southeastern U.S. where there are many pig and turkey farms in our area for national brands of meat. Years ago, most farmers would incorporate some type of dry manure fertilizers into the land as they planted crops. Many of these farms are now required to have lagoons for their animal waste, and they began to fertilize crops by spraying manure from these lagoons over their fields. This includes not only melons, but other produce as well, including soybeans and cotton. I’ve wondered if many of the E coli outbreaks may have been a result of not only the way produce is handled by farmworkers and/or various storage/shipping methods, but also just because of the fertilizing methods of spraying the land and plants from these lagoons. Unless you grow it yourself, it would pay to wash produce purchased from any public market or grocery store just to be on the safe side!

    • Nieves replied on May 20th, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Gracias por la fantástica información, respecto a la desinfección de frutas y verduras, mi consejo es el siguiente, preparar, un cubo con agua, vinagre y bicarbonato de sodio, frotar y dejar en remojo, después aclarar y secar, sirve para todo tipo de frutas y verduras.
      Bendiciones

  75. Linda posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:31 am (#)

    Hi Joanne,

    Awesome tips here! I would never have thought to cut a watermelon like that – normally we just slice it off and eat it..lol. But, I like this alternative and will have to look for that watermelon rind recipe, sounds delish!

    Thanks for sharing your tip and for the video!
    Linda

    • Joanne Ozug replied on April 22nd, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Linda, fantastic! I hope it comes handy this summer when all the in season watermelons come out!

  76. Natasha posted on April 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm (#)

    This was awesome and it looks super easy! Thank you!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on April 26th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      You’re welcome, hope the tips help!

  77. charlene hillis posted on April 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm (#)

    My father-in-law used to pick melons as a youngin. He says to look for a ‘sticky butt’. If the stem end is a little sticky, it means the juices are trying to escape. Never has failed me!

  78. Christa posted on May 3, 2013 at 9:42 am (#)

    Thanks for share!!!!

  79. Christine posted on May 3, 2013 at 8:16 pm (#)

    In addition to rapping on the watermelon, I also look at the stem end to see how wrenched it is. If it looks very stubby or ripped, then I presume it wasn’t quite ready to be picked. I also look at the blossom end to see how much leaf or blossom is there. If there is still leaf or blossom attached, I also presume it wasn’t quite ready to be picked.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 4th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Christine, thanks for sharing your tips! I will start looking at that when I pick out watermelons at the store =)

  80. Anonymous posted on May 5, 2013 at 11:18 pm (#)

    A great treat is to cut the melon into bigger pieces and stick in a popsicle stick. My kids love to eat watermelon pops and they are much healthier!

  81. Beverly Snyder posted on May 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm (#)

    My Dad & Mom taught me this when I was real young. People would think I was crazy until they tried it and actually got a great mellon. One other thing you may want to do, especially with cantalope, is smell the stem end of the mellon. If it is a “green plant” or almost no exhistant smell, then it is under ripe. If it has a medium to large sweet smell it is in a ripened stage. If it is smells sickly sweet, fermented, or the least hint of mold, or is soft in this area, it is over ripe.

  82. rich schreiner posted on May 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm (#)

    will a watermelon continue to ripen after it is picked?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 9th, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Hi Rich, watermelons do not ripen further after being picked.

  83. Joe Fales posted on May 14, 2013 at 7:41 am (#)

    Hi Joanne
    Thanks for the great info. I love watermelon.
    I like your site also.
    Joe Fales

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 14th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks Joe, I hope you enjoy all the recipes on Fifteen Spatulas!

  84. Judi coahran posted on May 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm (#)

    I’ve always liked watermelon and cantaloupe. The last few years, I’m obsessed. I’m 70 years old and just kind of took a chance on which to buy. A new farm market just opened a couple of years ago about a mile from me, and I love it. I’m going to try these tips. Their produce is a little higher than the stores but so far have been so worth it. If I do happen to get something bad, they replace it. There is a farmers market on Saturday mornings in the summer where locals bring their goods and everything is so good. It’s all grown in our little county in Indiana, they make money and we get excellent produce, flowers, some crafts, it’s like the markets we had when I was a little girl. Everyone loves it but you have to get there early. People will fight you for a good tomato. Lol thanks so much for the tips.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 14th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Judi, that sounds like such a nice farmers market! I will have to try to find one around here now that it’s warming up in New England!

  85. JulesinGa posted on May 17, 2013 at 12:14 am (#)

    I’m from Georgia and we eat watermelon all summer. We cut it in half, then cut it in half again, run the knife just above the rind and in one slice you have it removed..then just cube it up. Very fast and easy.

  86. Bill White posted on May 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm (#)

    I would have thought someone would have said something by now about the comments about watermelon not ripening after being picked. I won’t say my comments are definitive, but all fruits continue to ripen after being picked—with the apparent exception of berries that seem to only ripen some, if at all. You can slow the process by putting it in the fridge. Watermelon and other melons seem to ripen best out of fridge if they are a few days from being fully ripe.
    I used to sell produce.

  87. Natalie posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:36 am (#)

    Unwaxed, regular dental floss works extremely well for the cubing process as well. Also, a great way to let kids help.

  88. Deb posted on June 1, 2013 at 10:45 am (#)

    Read many posts but saw nothing on types of watermelon – I have found the “black diamond” to be the most uniform in shape, ripeness, solid (firmness of fruit) & sweetness

  89. Aubree posted on June 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm (#)

    A couple more things that have worked for me… When I was getting married we wanted fruit kabobs at my reception and we asked the produce people how to find a good watermelon and they said if the stem is still on and is like an inch long, that means it fell off by itself which means it is a good watermelon, and also, if there is sugar stuff on the outside it is a good watermelon because that is the sugar trying to escape! :)

  90. Christina posted on June 1, 2013 at 7:11 pm (#)

    Don’t forget to WASH your watermelon! God knows where it’s been and you just dragged your knife through the dirty skin through to the flesh. Also, the skin was resting all over your cutting board, contaminating the clean surface where the flesh will end up. Melons are a huge cause of listeria, e coli, and salmonella outbreaks. You can eliminate that threat by simply washing the surface before letting it touch your cutting board or knife!

  91. Jaime H. posted on June 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm (#)

    Hi!

    I just wanted to say a big, fat, “Thank You!” for your awesome watermelon-picking tips! I’ve never been able to pick out a good watermelon (occasionally I would stumble upon one by pure chance but that rarely happened)- yesterday however I went to the grocery store and picked out a watermelon using your tips, and lo and behold, when I sliced it today I discovered it was the SWEET, RIPE, DELICIOUS, ABSOLUTELY PERFECT WATERMELON OF MY DREAMS!!!!! I can now buy watermelons with confidence……never again will I be doomed to buying a crappy underripe watermelon. You are awesome! Thanks again for these tips – I will proudly be one of those weirdos knocking on fruit in the grocery store from now on!!!!!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 8th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Jaime, yay, how wonderful!!! So glad the tips have helped you. There are also some more fantastic tips/indicators from other people in the comments section that hopefully you have seen as well.

    • linda replied on August 9th, 2013 at 10:48 am

      linda

      I agree with Jaime h. the best watermelon tip ever for years I have had bad luck
      ” now i’m free”:) THANKS!!

  92. Zenee Miller posted on June 15, 2013 at 9:12 am (#)

    Great tip! I will definitely do this soon!

  93. Becky posted on June 15, 2013 at 9:41 am (#)

    Love it! We are in Texas and eat a LOT of watermelon in the summer, as they grow crazy in this heat. Thanks for the tips:).

  94. Sokha posted on June 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm (#)

    I’m a super fan of watermelon. Every mother’s day this is my request from my husband and kids, so I get four melons from each. I buy like one a week and recently ate so much watermelon that I’ve gain 4lbs from it. These tips are great! Thanks

    • Cvee replied on July 2nd, 2013 at 12:11 am

      You gained weight from watermelon.Do you have a medical condition that caused the weight gain?Water is a negative calorie food because it takes calories to digest which means you burn off more calories from the watermelon than you consume.Did you put sugar and/or salt on it?I am a bit perturbed because shouldnt gain weight from eating watermelon.I can eat a whole watermelon in a day.When I get one too ripe/soft I throw it in the fridge for a day then into the blender for some ice cold watermelon juice.It’s official I am going to wally right now and pick me up a watermelon or two.

      • Deb replied on July 7th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        as a diabetic I can tell you watermelon is very bad for you because it is full of sugar.

        • Tina replied on July 8th, 2013 at 6:29 am

          Sugar content aside, it is a low-calorie food. A pound would mean getting about 3500 calories more PER DAY. I doubt the watermelon caused the weight gain. Maybe, the salt on it caused water retention.

  95. tina posted on June 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm (#)

    Don’t forget to look for the bee stings! All of those black bumps that make it look ugly. That is one sweet melon.

    • MJ replied on July 8th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      why do bee stings make it sweeter?

      • Joanne Ozug replied on July 9th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

        MJ, the bee stings don’t make it sweeter, rather bee stings indicate a sweeter melon. The idea is if the bees were interested, you will be too.

  96. Lacey posted on June 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm (#)

    So happy I found this. I love watermelon, but not terrible ones!

  97. Sarah Clark posted on June 20, 2013 at 11:11 am (#)

    Great Tips! I will definitely employ these this summer!

  98. Lisa posted on June 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm (#)

    I agree with everything except the thumping. I’ve seen so many people thumping melons in the store and walking off with sorry melons it’s frightening. I’ve was taught to go by weight. If that puppy makes you drop to the floor (comparative to it’s size) then you’ve more than likely got a winner.

    I’ve had people looking at me like I was crazy because I will work my way through a bin of watermelons until I find the one I want.

  99. Sophie W. posted on June 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm (#)

    Can’t wait to go to the store and use these tips. I am a watermelon freak!

  100. Kate posted on June 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm (#)

    My question is how do prevent getting am OVER ripe one?? This has happened to me too many times.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 27th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Kate, the only thing I know as far as overripe watermelons is to knock on the watermelon, and if your knuckles don’t bounce off the melon well and the melon is soft, that indicates that it is overripe and heading toward spoilage. Maybe others will have some ideas as well…there are some great people following the comments on this post!

  101. Melissa H. (makingitsweet) posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm (#)

    Thanks for sharing this! I think I’ve cracked the code with watermelons this year. Too bad my family had to suffer through some bad ones over the years! (I’m sharing this on my FB page!)

  102. Cvee posted on July 2, 2013 at 12:59 am (#)

    Is it just me or are seeded watermelons sweeter than seedless watermelons?

    • Lisa Johnson replied on July 2nd, 2013 at 5:35 am

      I think the same thing. My sister loves the seedless because she hates dealing with the seeds, so I tease her and call them “abominations”…lol

      I think a real watermelon has seeds…lol

      • Marilla replied on July 6th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

        Watermelon seeds are supposed to help control blood pressure. I just eat them.

  103. Erika N posted on July 2, 2013 at 10:08 am (#)

    Hi! I wanted to thank you for your wonderful advice!
    But I wanted to ask… How can you tell if they’re slices? I most shops I go to here sell watermelon slices and hardly ever do they sell the whole thing. Is there anything in common with the watermelons you pick up when they’re cut?
    Thanks!

  104. jules posted on July 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm (#)

    yep…i’ve been doing it all wrong. this was an eye opener for sure…thanks

  105. Michele posted on July 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm (#)

    I just wanted you to know that I followed your suggestions and picked a perfect watermelon at the store today! I just opened it, and had to have a sample (of course) and it is sweet right to the rind!
    Thanks so much for the information!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 5th, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Michele, I’m so happy to hear that! Glad you picked out a great watermelon =)

  106. Amanda posted on July 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm (#)

    So what type of sound should the watermelon make? A loud echo?

    Thanks!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 5th, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Amanda, I recommend you go more off the feeling of the knuckles on the melon. The melon should be firm and your knuckles should bounce off the surface.

  107. Amy Lansing posted on July 6, 2013 at 12:23 am (#)

    How can you tell if there are bee stings in the melon?

    • Cindy replied on July 7th, 2013 at 12:56 am

      The melon will look like it has black spots on it. Usallly they will be in clumps. When the stinger comes out, juice flows and crystallizes creating the “black clumps”! Always the sweetest melons! Hope this helps!

  108. KathyinFL posted on July 6, 2013 at 10:37 am (#)

    Here is my tried and true method … a little weird but I swear it works.
    use a pine needle, a piece of broom straw or even a tooth pick. Lay cross ways on melon, if it spins its ripe. The more it spins the riper it is. Bare in mind the pine straw works best the toothpick and broom straw will not spin as much because of weight but still moves.

  109. Tom posted on July 14, 2013 at 9:03 am (#)

    I’m a smoothie drinker and I will be trying that slushy watermelon drink. Looking forward to it. You hit it on the spot about picking out watermelon. I was taught your method 3 decades ago. A lot of people at the store stare at me and try to follow what I am doing and they have no clue what I’m doing. So I give a lot of lessons at the store and love doing it.
    Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed reading all the comments.

  110. kathy Yount posted on July 14, 2013 at 10:39 am (#)

    I just bought my 4th watermelon this season. Brought 2-back. Just bought another one. I am soooooooo tired of spending $ on bad watermelons. Decided to look up how to pick one out. I found your website. So-I am going to try your suggestions. I shall let you know what happens. Thankyou. . .

  111. Lacy posted on July 16, 2013 at 12:19 am (#)

    http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=108;t=000646;p=0
    Bees would not sting watermelon, as it would kill them to do so. They are after nectar, from flowers, not juice. Not sure what causes the bumps, but it’s not bees.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 16th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Very interesting, Lacy. I am curious what is going on with the bumps then. I had never heard about it from any of the produce people I have talked to, just from folks here, so I’m not sure what the deal is!

    • Shannon replied on August 8th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you! I was reading about bee stings, thinking, “that’s impossible!” They will only sting when they, or more importantly, the colony, feels threatened. It pulls out their abdomen to leave their stinger behind, thus killing them!

      • Daniel Aplet replied on August 9th, 2013 at 10:34 am

        Well i am sure you right,I have also heard those brown scars are caused but the melon growing to fast the outside cannot keep up (a tare) .I read you can also feel the texture of the skin,i mature melon you can feel the slight ridges between light and dark stripes,and the pigtail end will be dried up.

  112. Felicia posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:27 am (#)

    I’ve always found that if you knock on the watermelon, and it sounds hollow,it’s good.

    • Ginger replied on July 25th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I agree!! My daddy taught me this when I was a kid and it has been failproof. The more hollow it sounds, the sweeter it is. I think I knock on every melon in the bin, but never wind up with a bad one!! =)

  113. Karen @BakingInATornado posted on August 4, 2013 at 10:27 am (#)

    I pick the wrong watermelon more often than not. Probably because I have a natural tendency to go for shiny things, which has always worked out well in the jewelry department, but not so well in the fresh produce department. Thank you for this great info. I guess all I really needed is a quick lesson.

  114. Shane posted on August 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm (#)

    HI :) .. yes the knocking is useful in BOTH aspects (sound and feel) .. the little black bumps are actually caused by insects but not bees, and yes they are attaracted to the sweetness, and im not sure what they are but they use a probiscus like a mosquito hence the dots of dried sap …. as for determining if a melon is almost too ripe, when a melon ripens the juice tends to gather , so if it is lying on a surface the liquid will pool to the lower half of the melon .. a gentle roll along the floor will tell you if it has a pool on the bottom as it won’t roll easily (not like a firm just ripened on).

  115. Daniel posted on August 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm (#)

    I have always found yummy melon.Besides what you have said i always look for brown scars,(i have read they are formed because the thing is growing to fast and it is kind of a tare,and i have heard it is where insects (bees) have went after it for its sweetness).And Yes you dont want a mushy feel to any part of it.And if you know how to become one with the melon (be the melon) that will certainly help.

  116. Darla posted on August 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm (#)

    I just cut up that watermelon like a boss! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on August 7th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Woohoo!!!

  117. Harriet posted on August 11, 2013 at 3:04 am (#)

    My best bet for getting a good watermelon is to choose the Dulcinea Pure Heart brand of seedless “personal size” watermelons. They are usually sweet all the way to the rind, are truly like eating only the heart of a melon, and are not too big for my family of two to deal with.

    • Georgie replied on May 18th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      I like the personal size melons also–much less rind and they don’t take up much room in the fridge once cut.

  118. Sumer posted on August 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm (#)

    I also look for a green stem to indicate it was picked more recently.

  119. Shah posted on August 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm (#)

    All the tips n comments featured r about red, symmetrical watermelons but wat about yellow fleshed ones…? do I use the same tips..? Or how do I cut an irregular shaped ones in half w/o either side appearing too big/small?

  120. TASmith13 posted on August 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm (#)

    I don’t use a cutting board, but instead I use an oversized cafeteria style serving tray and it works great in catching juice or melon fragments and since the tray lip is one inch high there’s no worry about juice “runoff”.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on August 22nd, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Great tip, thanks for sharing!

  121. caligirl posted on August 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm (#)

    is it just me, or was 2013 a sort of bad year for watermelon generally…?

    • jalbe replied on March 30th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Haha, I guess so, Caligirl, but I just thought that was my husband! ;)

      Thanks for a few more tips!!

  122. Karen posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm (#)

    Thank you for the watermelon & cutting tips. Seems I always pick bad ones and never really learned how to cut them as well.
    You make it look so simple
    Thank you,
    Karen
    Bakersfield, CA

  123. Gina posted on November 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm (#)

    My produce manager once told me to look for what he referred to as bloodspots- on either end of the melon- or in a spot where the melon has some kind of scar- if it is a really sweet melon the juice will come to the surface and the air will cause the sugar to harden so it sort of looks like hardened blood- hence the name ” bloodspots” this advice has never failed me- I’ve always gotten the sweetest melons!

  124. Gingergirl40 posted on February 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm (#)

    I thought I was the only one who agonized over picking out a watermelon, and how utterly disappointing it is to get a bad one! Thank you for the tips!

  125. steve posted on April 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm (#)

    Fantastic advice and great photography. Makes me want to go out and buy one.

  126. Maria posted on April 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm (#)

    Hi Joanne, I think I´m reading a bit too late this post, here in Chile watermelons are at the end of the season…
    About the 3rd tip you wrote, according to my produce supplier, you must knock during the morning, this is because when the temperature goes up, the fruit heats a bit so every watermelon will sound similar. Works for me ;)

    Thank you for your helpfull advices, will have them in mind for next summer!

    Maria
    Santiago, Chile

  127. Yong posted on April 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm (#)

    I go by the stem…or lack of there of…if the stem is still attached it means the melon was “picked”…if there is a clean smooth spot where the stem once was…that means the melon was ripe enough to pick therefore, ripe and sweet…

  128. kathy Roberts posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:43 am (#)

    I loved the video and I loved the advice. I just brought home a mushy watermelon and it made me so unhappy. I will definitely pick out my next watermelon using your suggestions.

  129. Georgie posted on May 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm (#)

    A farmer told me to look at the stem end–if it’s an “innie” that means it’s ripe. If the stem end is pointed out, it was picked too early. This applies to all melons. Once I learned that trick, I haven’t picked a bad melon yet!

  130. Stacy posted on June 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm (#)

    My parents always use the knocking method and I was always in awe and curious as to how they know by just knocking on it. Now I know! Haha

  131. Minnie Dimesa posted on June 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm (#)

    Thanks! Your tips worked great. I got a sweet watermelon :).

  132. douglassoon posted on June 5, 2014 at 11:08 am (#)

    the thumping only indicates the amount of water in the melon and not how sweet it taste and therefore might sometimes produce a dud. ripe melon might not be sweet, but an unripe melon is definitely not going to be sweet.
    PS: every tried sautéed rinds? not the green parts but the whitish part with mince garlic and soy sauce.

  133. Richard 'MP Nam Vet' Wallace posted on June 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm (#)

    Thanks for putting it ALL in a nutshell. I’ve disappointed myself 3 of last 4 times just wild guessing. Now I’ve got specific guidelines to help, thanks to you.

  134. lee posted on June 5, 2014 at 6:42 pm (#)

    Hi everyone.

    I almost always purchase those small sized watermelons, because watermelon is very filling and there is only one other person in the house.

    I rarely see a yellowish/cream on the watermelons’ underside. Perhaps, I didn’t look for it. Do small watermelons have a yellowish underside? The seeds of the small watermelons are smaller also.

  135. John posted on June 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm (#)

    I cut grapefruit this way. Might be a bit awkward with an oblong watermelon but i will give it a try.

  136. keetlover2000 posted on August 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm (#)

    Thanks so much for the tips! I love watermelon but that can quickly turn when I get a “terrible” one.

  137. lou posted on September 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm (#)

    Thank you. Big help taking some of the guesswork out picking a good one. I always wondered about that ground spot.

  138. Susan posted on September 13, 2014 at 1:05 pm (#)

    Great info about picking a watermelon, however, nothing was said about the bee stingers. I think those being present are the best indicator for a sweet watermelon.

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