How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe

As summer comes to an end, watermelons are popping up at farmers markets and grocery stores across the state.

Typically, watermelon has a relatively short season in Michigan, running from mid-August through early October (or the first frost) according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s produce availability calendar.

Watermelon is a great summer treat. Despite what you might think, this fruit contains much more than just water. In fact, watermelon contains Vitamins A, C and B6 as well as the antioxidant lycopene and other nutrients.

Picking the perfect melon can be somewhat tricky, however. The National Watermelon Promotion Board recommends the following tips when selecting one:

  1. Look it over. Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon without bruises, cuts or dents.
  2. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for it’s size because of its high percentage of water.
  3. Turn it over. The underside should have a yellow spot where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Another trick that’s used to tell the ripeness of a watermelon is called the “knock test.” Ripe watermelons are known to have a deep, hollow sound. If the melon sounds dull it might not be the best choice.

Ripe, sweet Michigan watermelons can be used in many ways, including as a healthy alternative to dessert, a sweet and guilt-free snack, or even as a fresh summer salad.

Where can you find farm-fresh Michigan watermelon in your area? Do you have other tricks for picking the perfect one? Let us know by leaving a comment below. 

Photo credit: Belal Khan

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