What do you look for in a Watermelon? Tips to Selecting the Perfect Watermelon.

I love watermelon.  I can remember as a kid on the farm sitting outside with a huge slice of watermelon.  Forget the plates and forks and knives.  My mom would hand me a juicy slice, and then I would proceed to take a bite.  My dad taught me the fine art of sprinkling salt on my watermelon.  Delicious!
"Salt makes watermelon taste sweeter by creating a salty sweet contrast that allows the sweetness of the melon to stand out." 
Have you ever headed to the local market in search of a mouth-watering melon only to realize you had no idea how to pick the perfect one?  Most of us have watched our parents thump on a melon listening for that classic ripe sound.  I have done this myself having no idea what tone I was seeking.  Sometimes I was lucky and picked the perfect one, and other times I was sorely disappointed.
After just attending Watermelon Day at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh I decided to do some research to find some tips to help me select a fantastic watermelon.  Here is what I found.

"Unlike cantaloupes and honeydews, watermelons don’t continue to ripen once 
they’re cut off the vine. If it’s not perfectly ripe when you buy it, it never will be, 
so the pressure to pick a good one is high".
The Fabulous Farm Girl
Thank you Fabulous Farm Girl, this is good to know.

Below are some tips I found to help us in our quest for the perfect watermelon.

A bit more detail:
*The Field Spot is the spot where the watermelon rested on the ground while growing.  It should be somewhat large and be a creamy yellow to orange color.
*The watermelon should be Heavy for its size.  This lets you know it is filled with water.
*The Stem should be dry and brownish in color.  This indicates it was ripe when picked.
*Sugar Spots are small black spots.  It is sugar seeping from the melon and that is a good thing.
*The more Pollination Points and Webbing you find on your watermelon the sweeter the melon.
This is scarring that is caused during the pollination process. The more webbing the sweeter the melon.
*The Rind should be firm and not give when you give the melon a squeeze. If the melon is overripe the rind will not be firm.
*Look for a Dull Rind not shiny.  A shiny rind my indicate an under ripe watermelon.
*The watermelon should be Consist in its Shape.  If there are irregular lumps and bumps it could mean that it received inadequate amount of sun and water during the growing process.  This could lead to a dry and inconsistent throughout melon.
*The Round Melons tend to be Sweeter then the oblong.  I don't know why:-)

"Many people do not know that farmers differentiate watermelons by gender. 
For example, ’boys’ are bigger, have an elongated shape, and a watery taste. 
The ’girls’ have a rounded shape and are very sweet."

I headed to my local grocery store in an attempt to find a delicious watermelon.
I was able to find a sizeable yellow field spot and a dried stem.
There were several melons with a small white field spot, and I wanted to say "don't select this one!" to all the other patrons.
Mine did have sugar spots and webbing.
With the helpful tips I was able to find that delicious watermelon.
How about you?  Do you have any hints to selecting that perfect watermelon?
I would love to know.
Happy Eating!


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