There are two kinds of people in life: those who pick good melons and those who do not.
We’ve all seen the good melon pickers at the market or produce stand, circling the melons like an exotic bird beginning an elaborate mating dance. Then, when the moment is ripe (pardon the obvious pun), the melon picker swoops in and begins to thump, smell and feel melons. But why all the fanfare and melon exhibitionism?
Because that is how you end up with a perfect melon.
And to help you decode what exactly goes on in securing a good melon, here are some tips to unwrap forever the mystery of melons:
*Go for the heavyweights.
The heavier the melon, the juicier it is. Pick up two same sized melons, and choose the heavier of the two.
*Check the spot.
If the melon you are thinking of purchasing is a Persian, cantaloupe or casaba, it will have a little indentation on the end where it was attached to the vine. The opposite of that end is the blossom end and it is the blossom end where you should check for a little softness—not the indentation. A very common mistake with amateur melon pickers.
Certain melons like honey dew and other smooth skinned melons, have a light creamy yellow skin—not greenish blue. They should also have a velvety touch to them. Cantaloupes should look yellow under their netted skins—not green.
A good melon will smell like a good melon. If you pick up a cantaloupe and can’t smell it, chances are it was picked too early and though it will soften up, the flavor will never be there.
Who’s there? Watermelon. Watermelon who? A hollowish sounding watermelon is a good pick. Ditto on the yellowish underbelly of the dirigible-looking watermelon. Skip the white undersides of watermelons—they’ve been picked too soon. If the watermelon is cut, it should be firm, not mushy and thin skin and rind. The flesh should be beautifully colored and the smell potent.
Summer is definitely the time to buy melons. All of these tests will be much easier to administer to an unsuspecting melon if you’re doing this mid-summer as opposed to Christmas time. There is no contest on when you’ll find the better melon. Price is much better, too.