How to pick a ripe watermelon every time

How to pick a ripe watermelon every time

Don’t you want to know how to pick a ripe watermelon every time? When it comes to watermelon, you have to use your eyes and ears, instead of your nose. I’ll show you tips on how to find watermelon at the market.

How to pick a ripe watermelon every time

How can you pick a ripe watermelon every time? You don’t use your nose. You use your eyes, ears and hands.

How to pick a ripe watermelon every time


The easiest way to tell whether a watermelon is ripe is to simply pick it up. It should feel weighty in your hands, no matter its size.

Hollow sound

Tap the underbelly of the watermelon and hear the sound. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound. Under-ripe or overripe melons will sound dull.

Uniformed shape

Watermelons come in different sizes and shapes. From round to oval, they can all be good. Pick those with a firm and symmetrical shape, and avoid those with irregular bumps, dents, or cuts. Irregularities may indicate that the watermelon received inconsistent amounts of water or was not pollinated properly. Cuts or dents may point to the presence of insects or fungus.

Green Stem

If the melon still has a bit of its stem attached at one end, make sure it is green and not dried out and brown. A hard, green stem is an indication that the watermelon was harvested recently.

Ground spot

When a watermelon is ripe, you’ll see a patch of a white or yellow spot on its underside. This area is called the ground spot (or belly spot) because it’s the part of the melon that touched the ground and wasn’t exposed to sunlight as it grew. If you can’t find the ground spot or white spot, it’s likely that the melon was harvested too soon and underripe. Pick the yellow one!

watermelon ground spot
Ground spot

Smooth skin

Avoid watermelons with cuts and soft spots. It’s okay if the rind on the top of the melon looks a bit faded, which is due to sun exposure, and another sign of ripeness.

Dull color

Look for skin that is dull and slightly waxy (though many watermelons are waxed to add shine), yielding only slightly to pressure. A shiny appearance indicates an underripe melon. This applies to honeydew melons too.

Buying a cut watermelon

Look for bright red flesh with dark brown or black seeds. Unless it is a seedless variety, lots of white seeds mean it was picked before its prime.

Avoid melons with white streaks through the flesh and pieces where the flesh is mealy, dry, cracked, and/or separating from the seeds.

Pass any cut pieces that are sitting in liquid. That’s a sign the watermelon has been sitting for too long.

Watermelon season

Watermelon season runs from May to September, but its peak is from mid-June to late August. 

How to spot a bad watermelon

  • Dark-colored spots: These spots may indicate the presence of fungus or bacteria.
  • Water-soaked flesh: In this case, the flesh of the watermelon begins to disintegrate, sag, and become dark. It could be due to an oversaturation with water or fungal infection.
  • Target cluster: These are target-like configurations believed to be caused by a virus.
  • Ringworm injury: This injury manifests itself as an irregular white to light brown pattern on the rind and may be caused by insect feeding.
  • Internal rind spots: This is a bacterial disease characterized by tan or brown dry tissue on the inner side of the rind.
  • Sour or tangy smell: These are different types of rancid smells that indicate that the flesh has started to go bad.

Common types of watermelon

Each type also has multiple varieties.

  • Seedless: They will be void of the dark black seeds, but have small white underdeveloped seeds that are ok to eat.
  • Picnic: Large, round or oblong, with green rind and red flesh.
  • Icebox: small and round and perfect for one person.
  • Yellow/orange-fleshed: They have yellow-orange flesh and can have seeds or be seedless.

How to store watermelon

Watermelons are picked when they are ripe so they will not continue to ripen and soften much at room temperature; melons picked before their prime will never develop full flavor.

Whole watermelon: it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or at room temperature for a week or two.

Cut watermelon: it should be wrapped in plastic, refrigerated, and used within 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze cut watermelon, but the texture will be soft when thawed (which is fine for cold soups and smoothies).

Health benefits of watermelon


Drinking water is important to keep your body hydrated. Eating foods that have high water content like watermelon is great. Watermelon is 92% water.

Weight loss

The high water content of watermelon and fiber help you feel full without adding a lot of calories.

Cancer & Heart issues

Watermelon also contains antioxidants that can help remove free radicals or reactive species from the body.  The body can remove some free radicals naturally, but dietary antioxidants support this process.


  • Vitamin C: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5, and B6: 3% of the RDI
  • Carotenoids: carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that doesn’t change into vitamin A. This potent antioxidant gives a red color to plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon.
  • Citrulline, an important amino acid.

More Resources

How to pick the best juicy orange at store
What about watermelon

Conclusion:  Now you know How to pick a ripe watermelon every time. Go to the market and try the tips! Practice, practice and practice. It's easy! Find a ripe watermelon at market with confidence. 

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