How to pick a deliciously ripe watermelon


This article was originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

Mark Twain called it “what the angels eat.” But divining which watermelons are ripe (and therefore angelically sweet) is a devilish problem. Buying a melon is “like reading a book,” says Pete Luckett, the founder of Pete’s Fine Foods in Halifax. “You never know what you’re getting into, until you’re into it.”

But Luckett and Kevin Howe, a fourth-generation watermelon grower on Howe Family Farms, near Aylmer, Ont., agree that there are ways to judge a watermelon by its cover: pick a firm melon. Check light-green portions of the skin for a “sunburned” creamy yellow undertone. Spin the melon to look for the “ground spot,” the slightly flattened portion that was in contact with the soil. If there’s no spot, or if the spot looks white instead of yellow, it’s probably not ready to eat. “If it’s got a good yellow bottom,” Howe says, “it’s definitely starting to ripen.”

Or, as Luckett suggests, buy it pre-cut. “A look at the inside tells the story.”