How To Pick the Perfect Watermelon Every Time!

Our family LOVES watermelon. We go through at least one a week when they are in season. I think I've gotten pretty good at picking the perfect watermelon either at the grocery store, at the Farmer's market or at a roadside stand, and I want to share my knowledge with you. I've been using these tips for the past year and I haven't had a bad watermelon since! I can almost guarantee that you won't ever pick a bad watermelon again!

fruit, summer, picnic

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon Every Time!

Do you "thump" a watermelon to tell if it's good?

When I was growing up, my mom always told me you had to thump a watermelon to pick a good one. I found that the little watermelon thumping technique didn't work for me very well and about half the time, I would pick a dud. I started trying a new method and it's worked 100% of the time in the year that I've been using it, so it's time that I shared with you how to pick the perfect watermelon.

fruit, summer, picnic

What are you looking for when you are picking a watermelon?

First, you need to know what you are looking for. You want to keep your eyes out for a yellow spot where the watermelon has grown and ripened. It doesn't really matter where the spot it. Sometimes it's on the bottom, sometimes it's on one of the ends. It just needs a spot that has a creamy yellow hue to it. You also want to look for scaring. I'm told these scars that I have circled and pointed out with an arrow are where the bee came to pollinate the watermelon as it grew. I don't know how much truth is in that, but I think the more scarring the better and have noticed a difference in sweetness.

fruit, summer, picnic, picking tips

Why Watermelon is yellow?

If you notice that your watermelon is not perfectly green, this doesn't mean that it's off-limits. the flesh of a watermelon turning yellow is a mutation. In fact, there are actually yellow watermelons with green outside and yellow inside. Red watermelons contain lycopene which is the same chemical in tomatoes that give them their red color. A lack of this chemical can cause a watermelon to yellow.

Where do watermelons rot?

When looking over your watermelon to look for the best one, you want to look near the bottom for blossom end rot. This is caused by a lack of calcium when developing the fruit. This could be from the soil or fluctuations in water supply. However, eating the undamaged parts of the watermelon is still safe. 

What you want to avoid are watermelons that are rotten on the inside. If the flesh of the watermelon is off-colored, smells foul, or is slimy, this means that it's gone bad. You don't need to crack it open to be able to tell. these also apply to pre-cut and pre-packaged watermelon as well.

Here are some other examples of watermelons that have scarring as well as that creamy yellow spot.
All of these watermelons would be perfect!

fruit, summer, picnic, picking tips

I wanted to include a watermelon I don't think would taste good. This one has a pale growth spot on it, not a creamy yellow one. It's not a very large spot either, which makes me think that it's been picked too soon.

This is the one that ended up in my cart. I loved all the scarring and the deep yellow spot. Once you find one with those details, the watermelon should also feel heavy for it's size.

fruit, summer, picnic, picking tips

Who has watermelon on sale?

Watermelon is one of the official fruits of summertime, and during the summer season, it can be found at a great price! The most popular kind of watermelon is seedless, which usually comes in 6 lb varieties at your local grocery store. You can find the lowest prices on watermelon during the peak of the growing season during July/August and during low demand times during the fall/winter. Though I rarely buy a watermelon in the winter because I just don't find them as sweet!

Keep an eye out, a lot of grocery stores have watermelon priced low as loss leaders at your local grocery store.

Will watermelon ripen on the counter?

Watermelons are picked when they are ripe, so they don't continue to ripen at room temperature. If a melon is picked before they are ripe, they never develop their full flavor. You can store a whole watermelon in the fridge for about a week or two before it starts to go bad. 

Which watermelon has less seeds?

One of the most annoying parts of eating a watermelon is the seeds. I mean, we did grow up on watermelons with seeds. I even remember lots of seed spitting contests, but now we've been spoiled by the seedless varieties. There are a few seedless varieties that are worth noting. Chiffon and Honeyheart varieties are seedless. However, Summer Breeze Seedless Watermelons are one of the best-tasting seedless watermelons on the market. If you are on the west coast like me, I don't think you can ever go wrong if you use these tips to choose a Hermiston watermelon either. They are the absolute best! 

A watermelons flavor, sweetness, and texture are all determined by how they are grown and not on whether or not they have seeds.

Which watermelon should I buy?

Don't get stressed out whenever you have to pick a watermelon from your grocery store. There are a few tips and tricks to find the right one for your needs!

  • Uniform size by heavy: sweet flavor
  • Elongated: very watery
  • Buttery yellow field spot: very flavorful
  • White field spo: little to no flavor
  • Large webbing: sweet flavor
  • Smaller webbing: bland
  • Dark and Dull: Ripe
  • Shiny: Not ripe
What you want to find is a watermelon that is uniform in size, whether it is round or oval. Be sure that your watermelon has no irregular bumps or markings. Find the melon that is the heaviest for its size, not just the one that is the heaviest. This means it will be sweeter and have more water content inside. Look for watermelons that have a buttery yellow field spot, it should look a little creamy. Darker yellow field spots mean that it was on the vine longer and usually has a fuller sweeter flavor. 


My little watermelon selection method hasn't steered me wrong. I don't think you can go wrong either. But if you do, know that every single store you buy produce from has a return policy. If you select a bad fruit, they welcome your returns and will let you select a replacement. I'm not sure you're going to need it though, if you follow these tips. Now you know what to look for. Happy hunting!

Try this yummy watermelon vanilla float recipe!

Now you can make these watermelon vanilla floats. Check out this post for the recipe!

summer drink

Want more ideas on what to do with leftover watermelon? Check out this post!

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