How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon


Watermelon season is in full swing, here in Florida.  Trucks filled to the brim on the side of the road and market displays are stacked high.  How do you pick the right one?

watermelon cover

Picking perfect sweet and juicy treat can be intimidating.  I stand at the display not sure where to start and worry that  I will select another bad one.   I recently discovered there is an art to picking that ideal watermelon.

The secret is in the weight! Just as the name indicates, it is the juice or water weight that is a key factor in determining the ripeness of a watermelon.


I consulted with a couple of produce experts for tips in choosing the just-right watermelon.

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon

1. Pick-it Up:  First off, the bigger/larger the melon, doesn’t determine the sweetness.  No matter the size, the watermelon should feel heavy.  You must pick-up a couple of melons, comparative in size,  and compare how heavy they feel.  Pick the heaviest.

2. Look for the Yellow Spot:  Watermelons develop a yellow patch where it rests on the ground.  When this area is a creamy-yellow it is ripe.  If the patch is more white, it is not ripe or did not ripen on the vine – decreasing the sweetness.

3. Give it a thump! :  I always see people at the market tapping on the melons, what are they listen for?  If you thump a watermelon on the underside and it sounds DEEP and HOLLOW it is ripe.  If the thumping is a dull sound, it indicates that the melon is under or over ripen.

Central Florida has incredible Farmer’s Markets around the city and throughout the week. (Source)

Insider tip!

Another great tip for upping your odds of picking the perfect watermelon, is to purchase it at a farmer’s market verses the grocery store.  The farmer’s market vendors are more concerned about bringing the best and ripen produce to market, which increases their sales.  Verses the grocery stores, who purchase in bulk and suppliers will pick early leaving the melon to ripen off the vine. Resulting in higher odds of decreased sweetness.

Finally, if you do manage to pick a watermelon that isn’t sweet enough, no worries.  It still can be fantastic and refreshing when juiced.

Happy picking!




  1. Thank You Thank You Thank You for this! I have had three crappy watermelons and plan on putting this into practice next time I’m shopping!


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