How to tell if a watermelon is ripe – the 4 signs

Juicy, crunchy watermelon is the perfect snack on a hot summer’s day… if it’s ripe! An unripe watermelon isn’t dangerous, but it lacks flavour and even nutrients if it’s not fully ripe. You can’t easily tell if a watermelon is ripe without cutting into it, but there are a few simple tricks.

How to tell if a watermelon is ripe

Did you know that once a watermelon has been harvested, it cannot continue to ripen?

That’s right, once the watermelon has been picked that’s as good as it is going to get.

You better choose your watermelon wisely at the supermarket because there are no tricks that will make it riper.

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According to BBC Good Food, the following four things are essential to check when buying watermelon:

  • Ripe watermelons should sound hollow when shaken or slapped
  • Ripe watermelons feel heavy for their size.
  • The rind on a ripe watermelon should be dull
  • Ripe watermelons shouldn’t give much when pressed

The BBC Good Food advice also recommends looking for symmetrical melons and avoiding those with cracked, spotted or bruised rinds.

Some experts say to check the underside or belly of the watermelon, which is the side of the melon that was in contact with the ground while it was growing.

If a melon is ripe, the underside should be yellowish rather than white.

Ripe watermelons will also smell slightly sweet, but if it is very sweet it could be overripe.

If you buy your melons halved or quartered rather than whole, you’ll need to look for different signs.

BBC Good Food’s experts advise you to look for brightly coloured flesh and black seeds rather than small white seeds.

The advice also says: “Avoid flesh that looks dry or grainy.

“Green-skinned, red-fleshed watermelons are the most commonly available, but you can also find golden watermelons, which have a bright yellow flesh, though their flavour can be insipid.”

Once you’ve checked out your perfect melon, you can prepare and eat it.

Cut it however you like, scoop out the seeds and fibrous bits with a spoon and then slice it up into manageable wedges.

The watermelon will last up to a week in the fridge if it is whole, but if it is sliced it should be wrapped in clingfilm first and eaten within two to three days.

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