Picking a Watermelon Can Be Like Picking a Friend

Like relationships, watermelons do not come with guarantees. Nevertheless just as we jump into new friendships or romances despite previous disappointments, so too do we continue to bring home watermelons in the hope that this one will be the one. And just like with friendships and romances there are ways of increasing the chance of picking one that will bring us a positive experience, there are also several simple things you can do to help increase your chances of this watermelon being the perfect taste experience that you know a watermelon can be.

We’ve all heard the one about tapping on the outside of the watermelon and listening for something or other to help us choose. Thumping the watermelon is controversial; not everyone believes it works, while many swear by it. So all I can say is give it a try. Hold the watermelon a bit away from your body and give it few good raps with your knuckles. Try and detect a not-too-deep sound, perhaps more of a tenor voice than a bass. A too deep sound can either mean that the watermelon has too much water and is not completely ripe yet, or that the center has separated and formed into chunks. This condition, called ‘hollow heart,’ can be caused by improper fertilization or by the farmer trying to speed up the ripening process with too much fertilizer and water.

Check out the outer look of the watermelon. Dull is better than shiny, and the shape should be symmetrical and uniform. Strange curves and bumps could mean an uneven watering schedule or not a consistent exposure to the sun’s rays.

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Watermelons should have a creamy patch on their surface, which is the place where the watermelon was touching the ground as it grew. The deeper the color means the longer the fruit stayed on the vine, slowly developing its characteristically sweet taste.  A yellow patch is better than a white patch, and a white patch is better than no patch at all.

You can also tell if a watermelon will be good by its weight-to-size ratio. The heavier the melon feels as compared to its size, the better. Check out a few watermelons of the same dimensions, and pick the heaviest among them. Hopefully with all these tips you will be able to bring home the perfect friend, I mean watermelon, which with a little luck and a bit of effort, won’t have a ‘hollow heart.’


Rachel Forsythe has a B.A. in English Literature and worked as an editor for a local weekly news magazine. She is now a stay-at-home mom, raising three younger boys and two older daughters. Her favorite activities are hiking, reading, traveling, bike riding, skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer. She also loves to cook. Be in touch with Rachel at Rachel[at]sunstoneonline.com

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