Melon Math: 3 Tips to Help You Buy the Right Size Melon for Any Occasion

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Samantha Bolton)

Those giant, oblong watermelons that flock the grocery stores and farmers markets these days have always intimidated me. I can barely wrap my head around how I am going to carry one out of the store, let alone how I’ll tackle it on my cutting board when I get home.

But know the ins and outs of melon math and suddenly those heavy melons aren’t so scary. Instead of simply guessing that you’ll need that 20-pounder, you’ll know exactly how much fruit is inside, and in turn know exactly how much you need to buy.

1. Plan on about 1 pound of melon per person.

If you’re picking up that big melon for a cookout or picnic, you definitely want to be sure you have enough for everyone. But it always seems like a bit of a mystery judging from looks alone. The key is to know how many wedges you can cut from a pound of fruit. Then you’ll know exactly how many pounds that watermelon needs to be to give everyone enough wedges to get their hands and chins sticky. (We estimate three to four.)

2. One pound of watermelon yields about 1 1/2 cups.

Equally important is knowing how many cups of watermelon are inside if you were to cut the fruit up into chunks for salads or slushies. Know how many cups of cut fruit are equal to a pound of whole fruit and you can weigh your melon to buy just what you need.

3. One pound of cantaloupe also yields about 1 1/2 cups.

But don’t forget that melon math isn’t just for watermelons — their orange counterpart, cantaloupe, can be equally as confusing to buy. Know its pound-to-cups ratio as well and you’ll be all the wiser, regardless of the melon you choose.