How do I pick a watermelon at the supermarket?
Lately, every watermelon I bring home form the organic section of the supermarket has not been sweet. Among the small, seedless varieties, I try to pick the densest. How do I know if it is ripe? Can I ripen them at home? Should I keep them in the fridge?
One comment I haven't seen in any of the answers or comments. Seedless watermelons are usually less sweet than watermelons with seeds. Also the center of the watermelon where the seeds normally reside whether seeded or seedless is the sweetest part of the melon.
I don't believe there is a fool-proof way to determine 'ripeness' without taking a slice out of it. The best you can do is look for certain signs:
- Ripe melons have a hollow sound when you tap or slap the outside
- Look for the patch where the melon would have been on the ground (called the field spot). If it's a yellow colour its probably ripe, if it's white, it's probably not.
- It should feel relatively heavy when lifted
- Weird areas on the skin aren't necessarily bad. insects may have tried to start eating the fruit because it is ripe, but have only marred the surface.
Unfortunately, melons don't continue to ripen once picked, unlike fruits such as apples, bananas etc. which contain ethylene. As a tip don't store melons with these kinds of fruit, they may well go 'soggy'.
Thanks for mentioning the storage; I just moved my melons away from the apple-containing fruit bowl!
Thanks @Michael Pryor for the NY Times video link. For the record, this summer I've had nothing but great watermelons.