There’s a pickup truck parked on the side of the little state highway near me most days. He sells watermelons.
He cuts a couple up and sets them a couple hundred feet down the road on the shoulder, both ways, so that people can see that his melons are ripe. He charges $7 for one.
In the other direction I saw a guy sitting on the side of the road with a pickup full of watermelons. No cut ones displayed but he had a sign. “Watermelons $12”.
Good luck fella.
You see, the ones in the local Aldi’s are $3.98. Sams has them for $5.98 and the other guy, his competition, has them for $7. The difference is you can ‘kinda’ tell that the first guy has good melons. This guy with the $12 melons probably bought them at the store!
So, without tasting one, or seeing a watermelon out of the crop cut, how do you tell when you have chosen a good watermelon?
Well first, you have to choose between seeded and seedless. They look the same on the outside. But what picnic with a watermelon would be complete without a seed-spitting contest?
Choosing a watermelon is similar to choosing a cantaloupe. Tap it. Does it sound solid or thick? Tapping on a ripe melon will give you a hollow sound.
How’s it look?
A watermelon that’s ready should be symmetrical, free of cuts and gouges, and firm. Those that are narrow at one end didn’t grow right. A watermelon should also feel heavier than it looks. Watermelons are mostly water and a heavier melon will have more water and be riper. You can also look for a large brown spot on the bottom where the melon grew. Those without that telltale light brown or yellow spot with veining showing probably isn’t your best choice.
Now that you’ve picked a watermelon how do you store it?
I like my watermelon room temperature, but most people like theirs chilled. That means clearing a shelf in the refrigerator or reserving a cooler just for that big old melon.
Once you’ve cut into the melon, and don’t finish it all at one meal you can simply place some waxed paper or cling-type wrap over the top and refrigerate until next time. You can also ball the melon (with a melon baller) and store in a plastic container. This makes it easy to snack on….
Should you find a deal on watermelons (obviously not the ones that were $12) you’ll find that there are many ways to use the melon.
You can make many a beverage with watermelon juice and puree, you can incorporate it into smoothies, as a garnish with water, in your fruit salad, frozen in ice cubes, dried in your dehydrator (this tastes like candy!!!), in salsa recipes (try it!). In fact, every part of the watermelon can be eaten! Ever had watermelon rind pickles?
You won’t feel guilty serving watermelon as a dessert or you shouldn’t. Watermelon is full of vitamins, lycopene, lutein, so eat up!