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How to Pick a Good Melon (Something Everyone Should Know)

Posted on 25th Jul, 2011 by Andrea Cutright
How to Pick a Good Melon

You’ve seen them in the grocery store – the thumpers, the shakers, the deep-sniffers, the thumb-pressers – all trying to avoid choosing a mealy melon. There’s universally nothing worse than chilling a great globe of fruit and then slicing into mush. So while none of the aforementioned methods are wrong, per-se, here are some other tips on picking a good melon.

Watermelons: Flat Yellow Spots and Good Vibrations

Ripe watermelons have a flat spot from growing on the ground, and if it’s heavy with juice, the flat spot will be a creamy yellow color. This is really one of the only times you can rejoice at seeing a yellow spot. If you have the touch, knock the watermelon – but don’t listen for a thud, feel if your opposite hand vibrates as you knock the melon. The more juice in the melon, the more vibration you’ll feel.

Honeydew Melons: Super Good When It’s Super Hot

Let’s face it – honeydew is the mystery melon – the strong, silent type. Picking a good honeydew is harder than other melons because its uniform rind, shape and color don’t offer up a lot of clues. Stick to seasonality here. Honeydews are ripe at the end of summer in late July and August. A ripe honeydew should be more yellow than green and should feel sticky or resistant to your touch (this is also true of a crenshaw melon). Eat honeydew melons right away as they don’t continue to ripen after picking.

Cantaloupe: Rosy Glow? Good to Go

Cantaloupes get sniffed a lot, but most markets keep fruit so chilled that you’ll be hard-pressed to get much of a scent. The best bet is to use your eyes. There should be a rosy-orange color popping through the webbed skin all over the melon. Also look for a “slipped stem,” a puckered look on the stem end of the melon since ripe melons slip easily off the vine and don’t have to be cut. The cantaloupe is one melon that could use a good pressure test. The area at the blossom end of the melon (opposite the stem end) should have a little give to it.

Happy melon eating.

Food, we love you.

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Comments (3)

  1. 27th Jul 2011
    by Lil'Sis

    Great post Andrea! As Fabio says: “I don’t mind squeezing the melons until I find the right one” – but this makes things just a little bit easier, both for Fabio and the rest of us! Less time spent picking melons = more time to care for our flowing tresses and rippling abs, right? Come on now! BTW, any tips for selecting a good pineapple?

  2. 21st Aug 2011
    by Jimitha Nolem

    I am a certified professional melon deep-sniffer and I am deeply offended by your insinuation that deep-sniffing is somehow an inferior method of detecting ripeness.  I have traveled the world and studied from only the most refined noses in the world.   I can smell a ripe melon from 500 feet away and farmers fight to let me whiff their fruit.  These charlatan methods you suggest are laughable and only suitable for the weak of smell.

  3. 23rd Aug 2011


    Possible case of olfactory-envy.


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