6 brilliant tips on how to select the perfect watermelon
It’s barely spring, but I’m already two watermelons in and both of them were… well blech. The watermelon gets eaten by the kids and husband (who apparently have less discerning taste buds than I do). But it’s still a pain to lug a 10-pounder from the car, and spend 15 minutes cutting it (then cleaning up the mess) only to discover the fruit is a little dry and bland.
If you’ve ever thumped 15 watermelons at the store, shrugged your shoulders and grabbed the one you thought just “might” be a good one, thump and shrug no more. We’ve got a few tips to make your watermelon hunting a bit easier.
1. Check out the bum
Once you pull a watermelon off the vine, it’s done. Finished. No more ripening. In a hurry to get watermelons to the market, farmers pluck some of the watermelons a bit early. If you look at the bottom of the watermelon, there should be a creamy patch (like the image at the top of the article). The bigger and darker it is, the better.
2. Check out the color
Watermelons should be a darker green. Very light watermelons may not have ripened long enough on the vine. The watermen should have contrasting dark with lighter stripes, according to A Delightsome Life.
3. Lift a few
Watermelon is primarily made of water. A watermelon that feels light for its size is probably dry (and gross!). A juicy, ripe watermelon will feel a little heavier than it looks. You may have to pick up a few for comparison.
4. Check the shape and shine
Watermelons should be oval and uniform. If the melon has bumps, lumps, and indentations, skip it.
Even coloring and shape means the melon got enough sun and water (food!) to grow and ripen properly. Ripe watermelons shouldn’t be shiny. The shine could indicate that the melon isn’t quite ripe.
Health benefits of watermelon
Asthma prevention: The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables including watermelon.
Blood pressure: A study published by the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extract supplementation reduced ankle blood pressure, brachial blood pressure and carotid wave reflection in obese middle-aged adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension and that watermelon extract improved arterial function.
Diets rich in lycopene may help protect against heart disease.
Cancer: As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, watermelon can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies.
Digestion and regularity: Watermelon, because of its water and fiber content, helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Hydration: Made up of 92% water and full of important electrolytes, watermelon is a great snack to have on hand during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration.
Inflammation: Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in watermelon that aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.1
Muscle soreness: Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes. Researchers believe this is likely do to the amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon.
Skin: Watermelon is also great for your skin because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.