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
How To Pick A Watermelon
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
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
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.
see the tail, avoid the melon.
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
I was surprised to learn a few years back that ripe, unrefrigerated
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.
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.
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.