Find out what you should look and smell for when shopping for a
watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon this summer.
One of the biggest dilemmas that you may be encountering this summer is how to choose a perfectly ripe melon at your local grocery store or farmer's market. It is impossible to know what the fruit will be like when you cut into it, right? There is nothing more disappointing that getting home with what you think is a perfectly ripe watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew, only to find that it is under or overripe....or worse yet, no good at all. Sometimes you may feel like you just need to cross your fingers and hope for the best as you add the fruit to your cart!
Rather than arm yourself with luck, you just need to have a few tips up your sleeve. By using touch, smell, and sight, you can find a perfectly ripe melon with the best taste. Here is what you need to know.....
HOW TO CHOOSE A PERFECTLY RIPE WATERMELON, CANTALOUPE, OR HONEYDEW MELON
| Check the melon for bruising, soft spots, and cracks. A good melon will not be damaged on the outside.
| Choose one that is heavy for its size and the weight should be even. One side of the melon should not feel heavier than the other.
| When you press the stem end, you should feel a bit of give. It should also be slightly indented, which tells you that the melon wasn't removed from the vine before it was ready.
| Tap the melon with the palm of your hand. A ripe melon with have a hollow sound.
The best way to pick a cantaloupe is by smell. It will have a sweet, slightly musky scent. If there is a strong smell, then the melon is overripe.
The rind underneath the net-like texture of a cantaloupe should be golden or orange in color. Avoid purchasing ones that have an underlying green or white color.
The outside of a honeydew should have a dull looking appearance. If it is shiny, that is an indicator that the melon is not ripe. You want a smooth rind that is white, pale yellow, or pale green, but not overly green which also means that it is unripe.
The honeydew should have a slightly fruity aroma.
A watermelon should have a smooth skin with an even pale to dark green rind and a creamy yellow area on the underside where the melon had been lying on the ground long enough to ripen. The spot develops as the melon grows on the soil. If it is greenish or white in color, then it is not ripe yet. Watermelons don't continue to ripen once they've been picked, so this is an important clue to watch for.
Like the honeydew, a watermelon should also have a dull looking appearance rather than a shiny one if it is ripe.
Look for a firm, nicely shaped and symmetrical watermelon. Avoid those with flat sides.
You may feel a little strange standing in the produce aisle tapping and smelling the melons they have to offer. But with time, you'll find choosing the right one to be an easier, less conspicuous task. And silly or not, isn't the point to come home with the best tasting fruit you can?
What are your tips for buying watermelon, cantaloupe,
and honeydew at the market?
I've put together a handy guide to make remembering the tips above a bit easier. Click the image below to open the printable PDF.
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