Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, which watermelon should I pick? by Jessica Dean, RD

Have you ever bitten into a seemingly sweet slice of watermelon only to find it bland and underripe?

5 Simple Steps on How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon

Did you know?  Watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe then honeydew.  It is packed with 170 milligrams of potassium, 17% of recommended daily vitamin A, 20 % of recommended daily vitamin C, and contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes!  Watermelon also has a high water content (92% water), which means it is relatively low in calories – only 46 calories per cup.  This versatile fruit can be easily sliced into wedges or cubes, or used in salads, soups or beverages.   But the key to a good watermelon recipe is knowing how to pick a ripe one.  So, how do you pick a ripe watermelon?

When I was a child my mom taught me to ‘knock’ on the shell and listen for a hollow sound.  If it sounded hollow, it was ripe.  I continue to use this quirky technique and have since passed it on to my daughters.  However, if you prefer a more scientific way to assess ripeness, you can follow these 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Locate the yellow spot, known as the field spot -this is the place where the watermelon rested on the ground.  Ripe watermelons will have a creamy, yellow or orange-yellow spot.  You want to skip over the watermelons that have a white spot, as these watermelons are not ripe.


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Step 2: Look for webbing; brown woody, web-like features indicate that bees have touched the pollinating parts of the flower.  The more pollination, the sweeter the melon!


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Step 3: Go for the ‘female’ watermelons!  The ‘female’ will have a round shape and sweet taste.  ‘Male’ watermelons are elongated and watery.


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Step 4: Choose a watermelon that is not too big or too small.  Find one that is in between – this watermelon will be just right!  The watermelon should feel heavier than it looks.


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Step 5: Inspect the tail/vine.  The tail should be dry, indicating that it was picked at peak ripeness.  A soft green tail means the watermelon was picked to soon.


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Watermelon Recipes:

Kid’s Watermelon Strawberry Shake

Makes 4 servings


8 ounces low sugar nonfat yogurt (lemon or vanilla). Try Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt!

2 cups cubed, seedless watermelon

1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
In blender or food processor, process yogurt, watermelon, strawberries and banana until smooth and frothy.  Serve immediately.

Pour prepared Watermelon Strawberry Shake into small paper cups.  Freeze, inserting popsicle sticks or plastic spoons when mixture is partially frozen. Or, pour Watermelon Strawberry Shake into ice cream machine.  Set and enjoy!

Watermelon Beet Post Workout Smoothie

Makes 2 servings


1/2 medium beet, chopped

1 cup chopped watermelon

1 banana, peeled

1/2 cup coconut water

1 cup nonfat, plain kefir

1/2 lime, peeled

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder



Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.





Food and Nutrition May/June 2017