How to Pick a Watermelon

updated Sep 10, 2022
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

It won’t officially be summer until you’ve had your first watermelon of the season. Chances are, though, that it’s been about a year since you’ve bought your last watermelon. Do you remember how to pick out a good one? Did you ever really know?

There’s a definite art to picking the very best watermelons. But don’t worry, once you know what to look for, it’s easy. Buying watermelons at a farmers market takes out much of the guesswork: Farmers know their business and will only harvest watermelons for sale when they’re truly ripe. At the grocery store, you’re more likely to be on your own. But not totally on your own, because we’ve got an easy three-step process to help you pick out the best watermelon.

Here’s what you need to look for in order to spot the perfect picnic-worthy specimen.

How to Pick a Watermelon at the Grocery Store

If you’ve ever walked up to a bin of watermelons and felt totally confused about which one to pick because they seem to all look the same, you’re not alone. It takes a little detective work to pick a good watermelon, but it’s quick and easy. I promise. When it’s time to pick a watermelon, you want to touch, look, and listen. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Pick it up: Big or small, the watermelon should feel heavy for its size.
  2. Look for the yellow spot: Watermelons develop a splotch where they rest on the ground. When this splotch is creamy yellow, it’s ripe.
  3. Give it a thump: Tap the underbelly of the watermelon. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound, which means it is brimming with juice and at the peak of its ripeness. Under-ripe or over-ripe melons will sound dull.

All the Ways to Use Watermelon!

Do you have any other tips for picking the ripest watermelon from the bunch?