I always took great pride in choosing real fresh and ripe fruits every time I went to the market. However, it was always intuition that worked and not any kind of gastronomical expertise in searching for the right ones. Now of late, I developed an interest in knowing the techniques to put your finger on THE one. While pursuing my newly found interest, I happened to read loads and loads of stuff about how to pick the sweetest and juiciest of watermelons when you go to the market that is filled with a bunch of them that look both attractive and ripe. Here are 5 tests to perform, according to an experienced farmer, so that you can arrive at a scientific conclusion about the taste and quality of the melon. Now, follow these steps and choose one like an experienced connoisseur.
1. Size And Weight
The first feature to look for in a watermelon is the size. The larger the melon, the more the fluid content. And naturally, more water means juicier and tastier watermelon. However, choosing the right watermelon doesn’t stop with the size. The next thing you keep in mind is the weight. If you happen to select two or more melons that are more or less of the same size, check which one is heavier. The one that is the heaviest is more juicy and ripe. Of course, make sure you are comparing the sizes and weights of the same variety of watermelon.
Another characteristic of a ripe watermelon is the typical smell it emits. Smell? I don’t even know how a watermelon smells. And that is because we often buy melons that aren’t ripe yet and hence don’t find that hallmark watermelon smell. However, when you slit open this fruit, you tend to smell these aromatic organic compounds that are a result of the oxidation of specific fatty acids present in the fruit. The smell is such a luring factor of this fruit for me that I even pick up perfumes that make use of the watermelon notes. So this time you hit the market and find the aroma of the melon filling the air, start sniffing all the fruits to see which one’s the smelliest. Grab it before someone else does.
3. Symmetry (Sight)
You find some asymmetrical or bumpy watermelon, put that down and search for the one that is more even on the whole. Invariably uneven or asymmetrical melons don’t taste as good as symmetrical ones do. Also, speaking of the appearance, try and pick melons that are dark green in color, for, these are more ripe than the pale green ones.
Finally, check for any bruises on the surface of the fruit. If you find any, look for another which doesn’t have bruises or dents. A bruise on the fruit is a sign of damage on the cellular level and these bruises expose the insides of the fruit to pathogens.
Remember piercing and digging your nail through bottle guard to see if it is soft or not? Pierce the surface of the watermelon the same way to look for what color the underside of the rind is. If you find it to be somewhere between a greenish or whitish green color, it is indicative of a ripe watermelon.
However, while trying to get your nails through the rind, if you find it easy to pierce that isn’t the watermelon you are looking for. Always look for a really firm melon if you want it to taste juicy, sweet but still with the crunch intact. If you can easily pierce the surface, it means that the fruit is more mature than you would like it to be and also means that it has gone past the maturation phase. This might put the shelf-life of the fruit at stake.
6. Yellow Spot
The next feature you are to look for is the yellow spot. This is the most hyped feature that people stress on when talking about choosing the best watermelon. Some watermelons do not have this spot at all, and in some the spot is white. In many, the spot is pale yellow and in some, it is dark yellow. And that dark yellow spot is what you want. This yellow spot is that one on which your watermelon was sitting on the ground all this while. Since the sunlight doesn’t reach this part of the fruit, there’s no chlorophyll synthesis leading to that yellowing of the whole spot. The longer it sits on the ground, the deeper the yellow, and the fact that it sat for such long on the ground still attached to the plant means that it is ripe and juicy. Isn’t that what you were looking for?
It was the sight first, then the smell, and the touch. Now it is the sound. You seem to be involving all your five senses before investing in a melon! So, place the watermelon on your hand and tap on the upper surface of the fruit. If you hear a high-pitched sound that’s inadvertently not ripe enough. If there’s more water inside the fruit, you will hear a low-pitched hollow sound that you would hear when you thump your chest. So, look for that sound before buying one.
This one’s for those of you who want to buy a sliced watermelon. Obviously, you buy a melon if it tastes sweet and looks juicy and pink. However, keep in mind that buying a pre-sliced fruit means you are exposing the fruit to the environment and putting the fruit at a risk of microbial invasion. Also, you would miss out on the rind and seeds that serve a lot of purposes apart from the pulp of the fruit. So, now you have successfully used all your five senses in buying the watermelon.
Doesn’t that feel accomplishing? I used just that sense other than these five senses while picking the right fruit which was 90% successful. When in doubt, I use the rest of the 5 senses! How do you go about selecting watermelons? Any more expert tips? Write in the comments section below.