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How To Pick A Watermelon

Knowing how to pick a watermelon can be tricky. Often you open them up and find they're mealy, dry, bland, or too infirm.

What's a hungry raw foodist to do? I've found I have a 90-95% success rate for choosing good watermelons if I follow my three-part litmus test.

How To Pick A Watermelon Part One:

Thump, Thump.

The first test, and the most subjective, is the sound the melons make. Ever see someone leaning over a bin of watermelons, thumping away with their ear cocked?

There's a distinct sound a good melon will make when you rap it with your knuckles (some people prefer striking it with their open palm). The best way I can describe it is as a, "hollow thudding sound." If you thump enough melons, you'll come to recognize what I'm talking about. Watch my video on watermelon picking to hear what this sounds like.

How to Pick A Watermelon Part Two:

Look For The Yellow Bellies

How To Pick A Watermelon Yellow Bellies

This one's easy. When a watermelon has developed properly, the spot it was resting on in its field will have a yellow, cream-colored, or off-whitish underbelly. Make Sure your melon has at least a small spot like this. Sometimes it will be at an odd spot on the melon, but that's ok.

How to Pick A Watermelon Part Three:

No Curly Pig Tails

One of the biggest problems with industrial farm-grown fruit is it's often picked too early, and watermelons are no exception.

When a watermelon is fully ripe and done developing, the vine that it's attached too will generally wither and start to detach at the fruit's, "belly button." Ripe melons are easy to pick, and will usually just pop right off the vine.

Eager to get the melons to market, though, industrial-scale farmers often yank melons off the vine before the crop has reached complete ripeness. Usually the vine breaks off from the plant farther up from the "belly button," and this bit of vine will still be attached to the melons in the store.

Usually it's curled up and dry, and appears like a curly pig's tail. When you see the tail, avoid the melon.

How To Pick A Watermelon Pig Tail

Does the Overall Color Matter?

Sometimes when I'm selecting watermelons I notice a substantial difference in the green hues of the various melons. Some are almost white, some are very green, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle.

As far as I can tell, there seems to be little difference in taste or consistency based on color, although I'm open to other suggestions.

I've noticed that when I grow small watermelons in my garden, the same variety of melons growing right next to each other will often have significant color differences, and again, I don't notice a difference in edibility.

Storing Watermelons

I was surprised to learn a few years back that ripe, unrefrigerated watermelons actually take a long time to spoil. How long? Certainly at least several weeks if they remain unopened in a dry place. I've never actually had one go bad on me, so I can't say.How To Pick A Watermelon Stack

One raw foodist I know buys an entire pickup truck-bed of them from a local farmer at the end of the watermelon season in September.

He insists they're still good over a month later. While I think a month might be pushing it, there's certainly a lot of leeway in how long you can keep them.

Following Up:

Watch a video how to pick a watermelon.

Learn more about picking and storing the large amounts of produce you'll eat on a raw food diet.

Read some interesting information about watermelons.


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