How to Pick a Perfect Watermelon

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Your ultimate guide on how to pick a watermelon. Learn 5 signs of ripe and sweet watermelon and different varieties of watermelon.

Bunch of watermelons with a label how to pick a perfect watermelon.


Nothing screams summer more than diving into a slice of watermelon while the juice drips down your face.

I can’t think of a more iconic summer fruit than watermelon with its bright red, sugary flesh.

This summertime staple graces backyard barbecues and picnic tables everywhere. Here’s everything you need to know before summer rolls around and watermelons are plentiful.

2 whole watermelons with bright yellow field spot.

How to pick a sweet watermelon:

While watermelons are available year-round, the best time to purchase one is between May and September. Look out for the following 5 signs to pick a perfect watermelon every time!

5 signs of ripe and sweet watermelon:

  • A deep yellow patch means the watermelon ripened on the vine. Avoid watermelons with pale white or green patches, because they were picked too early! This patch also called field spot.
  • A dark dull color tells you the watermelon is ripe. A shiny skin indicates that it’s not ripe!
  • A heavy watermelon is a sweet watermelon! Feel free to compare a few to see which one is heaviest for its size.
  • You want to hear a hollow sound when you knock on it. It means it’s crisp and juicy! Feel free to check on a few watermelons to feel the difference.
  • A firm rind is a good sign it’s ripe. Avoid watermelons with soft or squishy spots!
Sliced watermelon half featuring a bright red seedless flesh.

Watermelon Varieties:

There are more than 300 watermelon varieties grown in the United States and South America. They can be divided into four main categories: seedless, picnic, yellow-orange fleshed, and icebox.

  • Seedless watermelons – There’s no need to spit the seeds out with this hybrid. Seedless watermelons only have white seed coats that won’t mature.
  • Picnic watermelons – Named after their large size, this variety is what most people think of when they hear watermelon. It’s an oblong-shaped bright green melon with a deep red flesh and black seeds.
  • Yellow-orange watermelons – Yellow-orange varieties have a honey-like flavor with a yellow to orange colored flesh.
  • Icebox watermelons – Icebox watermelons are small, lighter melons made to feed less people. Two common varieties are the tiger baby and the sugar baby.
Cubed watermelon in a white bowl topped with balsamic glaze and chopped fresh mint.

Ways to use watermelon:

Now that you know how to pick a good watermelon, it’s time to enjoy this refreshing fruit all summer long with plenty of watermelon recipes & ideas!

You may be surprised by all the ways you can enjoy this thirst-quenching fruit.

  • Blend it into a sweet and boozy frozen daquiri.
  • Or drizzle some balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh mint and enjoy!!
  • Make a refreshing minty watermelon soda.
  • Pour pureed watermelon into popsicle molds for a refreshing treat on a scorching hot day.
  • Toss cubed watermelon with salad greens, feta, and balsamic for a nutrient-packed salad.
  • Try this refreshing watermelon feta salad.
  • Sprinkle with chili powder and lime juice for a bit of sweet heat!
  • Create my favorite summer mashup – watermelon lemonade!

Nutritional Information:

Watermelons are 92% water, so they’re an easy and satisfying way to stay hydrated this summer. Watermelon calories are minimal, but here’re the exact numbers.

Per 1 cup of diced watermelon:

  • Calories – 46
  • Fat – 0.2 grams
  • Sodium – 1.5 mg
  • Carbs – 11.5 grams
  • Fiber – 0.6 grams
  • Sugar – 9.4 grams
  • Protein – 0.9 grams
  • Vitamin C – 12.3 mg
  • Vitamin A – 42.6 mcg

Watermelon FAQs:

How do you know if watermelon is bad?

A ripe watermelon should be firm, so check the rind for soft or mushy spots, which indicates an overripe watermelon. If the flesh is noticeably dark, mushy, or slimy, it’s most likely gone bad.

Are watermelon seeds safe to eat?

Watermelon seeds are edible and safe to eat. If you eat them raw, your body won’t digest them, and they will simply pass through your system. While they do contain a small amount of nutrients, you only reap the benefits if they’re cooked first.

How do you pick a sweet watermelon?

One of the best indicators of a sweet watermelon is the field spot on the rind. The bigger and more yellow the spot, the sweeter the melon will be!

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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