How To: Choose the Perfect Melon

Categories: How To

Follow these tips for choosing the perfect melon, like watermelon.
There's nothing better than slicing into a juicy, sweet and perfectly ripe melon during the summertime.

But if you're like me, you haven't brought home the best cantaloupe, watermelon or honeydew every single time. Unfortunately, you cannot briefly examine any melon to determine if it's ripe the way you can an apple or banana.

So we can all enjoy perfect melons this summer, here's what you need to look for to find the best watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe.

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If the cantaloupe smells fruity, then it is ripe.
Because of the rough skin of cantaloupes, these melons are the easiest to pick. The best way to pick a cantaloupe is by the way it smells, which should be sweet and fruity. This odor should be quite strong, so take a whiff of the fruits at the store or farmers' market, and if one is sweet, then that's your melon. Cantaloupes should also feel heavy when you pick them up and the rind should be thick; this is a great sign that they're ripe.

Honeydews and watermelon are a little more difficult to pick than cantaloupes. Every time I have picked a honeydew, it hasn't been the best; it is either too hard or too soft.

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Honeydew's rind should give a little when you push it.

When you pick honeydew, the rind should be waxy or velvety. Just like cantaloupes, it should feel heavy as well. A good test to determine ripeness is to press the skin of the melon. If it bounces back or gives a little bit, then it is ripe. Of course, just as if with any other fruit, you don't want it to be too soft. The color of the rind should be a light yellow, not green.

Use your sense of sound when picking a watermelon. When you knock on a watermelon, it should sound hollow. The skin of the watermelon should also be bright green and smooth. So, pick a vibrant melon, give it a slap and if it sounds hollow, it is ready to be eaten.

Follow these guidelines and you'll have juicy, sweet and delicious melons all summer long.

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The sweetest melons always spend more time on the ground to ripen. Thumping is useless for air-cooled melons and the perfume of a melon is an unreliable barometer of taste or texture. 

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