Friday, July 17, 2009

I used to offer a money-back-guarantee to my customers if they bought a watermelon that wasn't supersweet once they got it home and cut into it. The only stipulation was...I or one of my trained staff would have to pick it for you. But, eventually we would train these same great customers to pick their own.

There are many different varieties of watermelon and everyone has their own method of choosing the perfect one. Today, we'll try mine =d

First, with your two thumbs press down firmly (don't be afraid to push really hard) on the side of the melon and it should have slight give to your pressure; too much give and the melons overripe.

Next, pickup the melon from the table or out of its bin to perform the knocking test. The reason is...when your knocking on the melon the table/bin will distort the sound, normally making the melon sound riper than it is.

The melon must be firm, not soft and whether the color is light green or dark green shouldn't matter as different varieties have different hues of color.

Next with your knuckles, knock hard on the side of the melon while holding it firmly with your other hand and arm. You should hear a thud, hollow sound, reverberating back. If you're unsure, the sound should come from the center of the watermelon, this is a sign that the melon is ripe. You will also feel the vibration in the arm that is holding the melon. If it sounds like your knocking on wood the melon isn't ripe.

Some people spank or slap the melons instead of using their knuckles to perform the knocking test. This method is less accurate but can be used as you get better at identifying ripe melons too. I don't suggest amateurs use this method though.

Also, check to see if there are different decal stickers on the watermelons on display. Each grower puts his own unique sticker on his melons. If there are different decal stickers on display this means, one is old stock and one is new stock.

Many retailers cut samples of their melons too or have cut halves available. Pickup a cut half and look at the rind to see if it matches the whole watermelons on display.

Lastly, if you're buying a melon from the bin, lean over and smell to see if there is any wine odor, this is an indication that at least some of the melons are overripe; or a supermarket's unsanitary practice of reusing old bins that haven't been cleaned properly. What else don't they keep sanitary...Hmmmm?

Watermelons are cheap now and in full season. This test applies to all varieties including yellow and seeded. Though be careful when you're buying yellow watermelons and press firmly over the entire melon for soft spots as this variety is often shipped to store level in bad condition before it's even put out on display. Enjoy!



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