Become a watermelon expert able to tell the level of ripeness…
A great juicy watermelon is a wonderful and healthy treat, but first you have to grow one, or better yet buy one. To tell you the truth, even experienced growers do not have a100% reliable method that would help them to identify a great and ripe watermelon every time… However, in the following lines we shall give you an advice that may you help a bit.
It is a well-known fact that watermelon, in Latin Citrullus lanatus, syn. Citrullus vulgarity, is classified as a pumpkin-like vegetable. There are many varieties and the weight may range from 1 to 50 kg but the biggest varieties are even heavier. The great thing about melons is the fact that they can be stored for 2 to 3 months and still be ok. The optimal temperature for storing melons is around 5 °C and the air humidity should be between 85-90%. When storing melons keep in mind that the ripening process continues during storage.
Photo: Radek Štěpán
How to identify the best watermelon
Many people often stand in front of pile of watermelons not knowing which one to choose. Well, if you are one of them try focusing on these signs.
Deep yellow spots
The place where the watermelon touches the ground is traditionally yellow. The more deep yellow it is, the more ripe the watermelon is. Deep colour of the skin also suggests that the watermelon is ripe.
A watermelon should be ripe enough if it has a curled stem. It dries after harvest but this method is often used in the field – not in supermarkets. Well, you can use this method if you grow your own watermelons.
The heavier the better
If you have two melons of the same size, and one of them is heavier, choose the heavier one. Heavier melons tend to be riper.
A ripe watermelon should produce a hollow sound. Unfortunately, this sound is often affected by cracks inside, which can occur during drier periods and confuse you later.
The right smell
Ripe watermelon smells “just right”. Unfortunately, that is a vague term and you first need to smell a perfectly ripe melon to be able to use it…
When should you harvest
As mentioned above, the best way to tell the ripeness in the field is a twisted stem. Another fact determining the ripeness is when a watermelon stops getting bigger, and even though it is possible to measure the size of a melon this method is laborious and not used much. Watermelons usually grow for 3 weeks and ripe for 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the variety and temperature. If you can, harvest in the afternoon to prevent melons from cracking.
Preview photo: Pixabay
Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.