Watermelon is a refreshing, juicy fruit that’s perfect for anywhere, whether it’s on a barbecue or at the beach. While summer is generally considered the peak season for watermelons, you can enjoy this well-rounded treat all year round, especially if you know secret tricks for choosing the best watermelon.
Picking the perfect watermelon to take home and crack open can sometimes feel like a guessing game. How do you know if you’re getting a watermelon that has a sweet, bitter, or no fruity taste at all?
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPTand author of The cookbook for a mother’s first pregnancy, The healthy pregnancy cookbook with 7 ingredientsand Boost Male Fertility knows the secrets of selecting the ideal watermelon. Read on to find out how to choose the best watermelon for you, as well as check out the secret side effects of eating watermelon, Science says.
Of course, the outside of a watermelon should look mostly green, but green isn’t the only color to consider when shopping for the best watermelon at the grocery store. One way to make sure you are picking a watermelon that is ripe and ready to serve is to examine the yellowish spot on the rind.
This color inconsistency, also known as the watermelon underbelly or ground spot, occurs on the underside of watermelons because of their past positioning while they are still growing on the vine. When receiving the least amount of sunlight, the yellow pigmentation develops on the side of the watermelon that had direct contact with the soil.
“The underbelly, or ground spot, should” not orange,” says Manaker. Going on, she explains that a watermelon is likely to be overripe if the underbelly appears sunflower yellow or nearly orange. If the ground spot appears too light or even white, the watermelon may be underripe — and if so, will probably taste more to a cucumber. “Butter yellow is ideal.”
When you go to buy watermelons in the supermarket, you have to keep in mind where the watermelons are located in the produce department.
“Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that is packed with important nutrients and has a natural sweetness with no added sugars,” says Manaker. “If you are going to buy watermelon, one tip is to make sure your melon is not near the bananas in the store.”
Why? According to Manaker, bananas emit an ethylene gas that can spoil the watermelons faster. It’s also important to make sure there is some distance between your watermelon and any ethylene-emitting products you may have if you keep your fruit at home.
“Make sure to keep your watermelon away from bananas when you’re at home, too,” says Manaker.
It is rumored that there is a connection between the ripeness of watermelons and the streaks that appear on the skin of the watermelon. However, Manaker explains that this is simply not true.
“Despite what you may hear on social media, striping is not an indicator of maturity,” says Manaker. “The reality is that some watermelon varieties don’t even have stripes and others are naturally thick.”
Whatever the outward pattern, you can always enjoy a whole watermelon whole.
“Remember, the whole watermelon is edible,” advises Manaker. “The juice, seeds and even peel can be enjoyed, making it a sustainable choice.”
While a dried watermelon stem may indicate ripeness, a green one may mean you have a watermelon cut prematurely from the vine. But contrary to popular belief, watermelon stems don’t always come off the vine with the fruit when first harvested.
“Some people say they should look for a dried stem, but not all watermelons are cut with the excess stem even visible,” explains Manaker.
A particularly labor-intensive task, watermelon harvesters known as “cutters” inspect the color and size of each melon to ensure quality and ripeness before removing them from the vine.
“So that [method] is a particular farmer’s favorite, not something we can use in the store,” says Manaker.
As much as you can prepare to bring home the best watermelon, this mysterious melon can still fool you. So, don’t kid yourself if you end up with a lemon after every trick to pick the best watermelon.
“Even if you follow all the rules for picking the best watermelon, sometimes Mother Nature can fool you,” says Manaker. “You can still be stuck with a less-than-ideal watermelon, even if it ticks all the ‘best’ boxes.”
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. read more