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Produce Picks — Melons

Most people already know a good melon when they taste it—so being able to pick out a great tasting melon is an important skill to have! Choosing a ripe melon takes practice, experience and a little information.

Aroma—one of the most important indicators of a ripe melon is smell! Hold the stem side of the melon close to your nose—if there is no smell, it’s not ready! However, if you can pick up a slight sugary aroma, chances are it is ready to eat. But there’s always an exception: Honey Dews often do not give out an aroma.

Pressure—another indication of a ripe melon is that it gives under slight pressure. Try testing the stem side of the melon—this is the first area to begin to give under pressure as the fruit matures.

Texture—some of the smooth melons (such as the Honey Dew) will have a tacky or sticky skin texture when they become ripe! Run your fingers over the surface and if you feel this tackiness, chances are it’s good to go. Honey Dew melons will also have a very light and creamy exterior color when fully ripe.

Netting—non-smooth melons like Galia and Cantaloupe have a “netting” on the outside—look for high color under the netting—if you see a green tint, the fruit is not at its peak.

Weight—choose a melon that is heavy for it’s size—this will indicate a high sugar content and ripe interior!

Full Slip—a melon is at its peak of flavor and ripeness when it has a “full slip.” This occurs when the stem easily separates from the fruit—although shelf life is shorter when harvested with a full slip, the fruit will have the highest sugar levels.

Seed Cavity—a ripe melon will have loose seeds in the interior of the fruit—there may also be liquid in the seed cavity! Old Farmer’s Tale: “You can shake your melon and see if you can hear or feel the seeds moving in the interior.”

Please feel free to ask a Team Member to give their opinion on your melon selection or ask to sample what we have on display! Also, if you get home and cut into a melon that does not taste good — please bring back your receipt and we'll happily let you pick out a replacement!

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Chelsea says …

I'd heard knocking will also work for the sound- is shaking in fact better?

Matt says …

Thumping a watermelon can be a very good indicator, although a hollow sound can indicate a hollow center, or "hollow heart", which occurs during the growing process, and is a result of weather and an accelerated growing rate. You can also note that most watermelon with hollow heart also have a stem end that is indented (excessively), or looks pushed in, so to speak. Look for a melon with a smooth surface, not mishapen, one that has a clean and solid thump and/or resonance to it, one that has a good heavy feel, and one with profound stripes and background color. Watermelon is a difficult fruit to predict, when it comes to the appearance versus flavor and texture, but the above tips are good helpful hints to follow...

says …

Hello, some people will knock on watermelon do try and determine if it’s ready!! For summer melons, such as cantaloupe or honeydew, shaking will give you a chance to see if the seed cavity is loose or not. If the seed cavity is loose you will feel movement internally; however, be careful if you feel movement—it could also be a sign that the melon is over ripe! If the exterior of the fruit is in good condition and has no signs of decay (sunken areas or discoloration such as black or brown spots) then a loose seed cavity is good! I hope this helps, take care!

marika says …

Hi, I do knock on a watermelon to chose a good one - the sound has to be bright and clear, as if there is emptiness inside. The stem also has to be dry, and also, one yellow (or not as green) side is an indicator of the melon spending time on the ground ripening rather than being picked too soon. The yellower, the better) For the cantaloupe or other melons - smelling is a good way to find a ripe one)

M says …

Thanks for the tip. Does this apply to watermelons? M Lyn

Anthony Parker says …

Thanks! I love a good cold, juicy melon! And, here I thought tapping was enough! Guess not!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@M - It sure does!