Insider’s Viewpoint: Watermelon: The Secret to Finding the Ripest Melon on the Shelf
If there’s one thing I look forward to every summer, it’s the delicious bounty of fresh watermelons that are plentiful this time of year. Not surprisingly, of all the questions I get asked about this delectable melon, there’s one that always seems to crop up more often than the rest: How can I tell if my watermelon is ripe?
To be honest, there really isn’t a secret to choosing a ripe, juicy and sweet watermelon. But there are a few “hacks” I can divulge. In order to find juicy and ripe watermelons, you need only pick one up. Look for one that is firm and symmetrical, and doesn’t have bruises, cuts or dents in the rind. While holding it, check if it feels heavy for its size, because this means it’s full of water. Then, flip it over; there should be a creamy, yellow spot on the bottom where it grew in the field.
Thump vs Sniff
Some people swear by the “thump” method – insisting that a ripe watermelon will make hollow sounds when you tap on it with your knuckles. Others prefer the “sniff test,” believing that a sweeter melon has a sweeter aroma.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that any of the above methods are full proof 100% of the time. But what I do know, is that when it comes to fresh summer produce, there’s almost nothing as refreshing, guilt-free or nutritious as watermelon.
A good source of vitamins A, B6, C as well as potassium, watermelons also deliver on the important antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid studied for its potential role in reducing risk of heart disease, various cancers, and protection to skin from harmful UV rays. Not to mention, a one cup serving of diced watermelon has only 40 calories and contains just 10 grams of naturally occurring sugars. And of course, its fat and cholesterol free.
Watermelon & Summer
Best of all, whether it’s served raw, grilled or chopped up into a summer salad with a little feta mixed in, there’s no other fruit or vegetable (because technically, watermelon is both) that feels nearly as “summery” and tastes quite as delicious.
Natalie Menza, MS RD
Manager of Health and Wellness
Wakefern Food Corporation