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How to Pick the Perfect Ripe Watermelon this Summer

The sweltering summer heat is unbearable! My body craves cold, juicy, and hydrating foods-- no sancochos being served around here these days! But you know what IS being served?


sliced seeded watermelon wedges

If you speak Spanish, what do you call watermelon in your country? I'm from Cuba and we call it "melón". It wasn't until I started working in restaurants in my late teens/early 20s that I learned it was called "sandía" in most other places. I guess I was living under a rock, or just really immersed among Cubans before then, ha!

The joy of biting into a slice of this juicy fruit on a hot day! Its natural sweetness and hydration make it the ultimate summer staple. You may be seeing them pile up at your local grocery store wondering, "how do I pick a ripe watermelon?"

No worries, I got you covered with some easy tips. Trust me, it's like finding hidden treasure at the grocery store! Here's what you need to look for:

1. Check the Shape: You want one that's nice and symmetrical, without any weird bumps or dents. A smooth, uniform shape is a good sign.

2. Look at the Color: Now, focus on the color of the watermelon's skin. Ripe ones usually have a deep, dark green color. Stay away from those with a pale or whiteish skin – they're probably not fully ripe yet.

3. Spot the Yellow: Turn the watermelon over and check out its bottom. You're searching for a light yellow spot, which is where it sat on the ground while it grew. A yellow spot means it ripened naturally under the sun, and that's what you want!

4. Matte or Shiny?: Run your eyes over the skin again. Ripe watermelons have a nice, matte finish. If it's super shiny, it might be underripe, so avoid those.

5. Give it a Knock: Give the watermelon a gentle tap or knock with your knuckles. Listen carefully for that deep, hollow sound. If it sounds dull or flat, it might not be ripe yet.

6. Feel the Weight: Now, time to use your hands. Pick up the watermelon and see how it feels. Ripe ones are heavy for their size – they're packed with water and juiciness.

7. Webbing and Sugar Spots: Keep an eye out for those web-like brown lines on the skin or what they call "sugar spots." These are a good sign that the bees did their job pollinating, leading to sweeter fruit.

8. Just Right Firmness: Gently press your palms against the watermelon's skin. It should feel firm, not too hard, not too soft. If it gives in too easily, it might be overripe.

Hey, I get it; it can be a bit of a guessing game. But these tips will definitely up your watermelon game and boost your chances of bringing home a sweet, juicy winner.

Next time, we'll make something tasty with it!

Happy watermelon picking! Enjoy that summery goodness!

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