I know its still early but we run into this issue every summer. We buy 3-5 watermelons every summer and are always disappointed by the bland watermelon. We’ve tried Whole Foods, Bristol, Costso, farmers markets, Albertson, Ralphs, etc… I remember on the other board others lamented about the same problem and said that watermelon from Texas and the south are better.
Where can I find delicious watermelon? I’d say the best ones we’ve had are actually from Costco but not as good as we remember from the past.
The ones at the Burbank farmer’s market are typically pretty good. Jons can also be very good.
You can buy the delicious watermelon anywhere that sells watermelon.
Knowing how to pick the right watermelon, however, is the key.
In theory, you can always return undelicious watermelon to most of the major supermarket chains like Vons or Ralphs but in practice it usually is just too much of a hassle (for me anyway, ymmv).
“Knowing how to pick the right watermelon, however, is the key.”
we beg your secrets, obi-watermelon kenobi.
I’ve let farmers pick for me at farmers markets and they generally choose the “ugly” ones with white spots and scuff marks. I don’t necessarily understand the whole tapping/hollow sound but would love to know your tricks.
The more spider veins, the sweeter it will be. A large yellow blotch is also a good sign.
The heavier (relative to others in the bin) the more water the flesh will have.
A nice hollow sound will be indicative of crispy and satin-like flesh, while a more dullish sound will more than likely give you watermelon with tough, almost rubbery, flesh.
So, to sum up, what I look for is a heavy watermelon that looks like it has a bad case of vericose veins with an uneven suntan and when tapped gently, sounds like knocking on the side of old, dried-out drywall.
A guy I used to work with long ago was from Texas.
He said those “vericose” veins were “sugar lines,” or “sugar vens.” The white veining coursing through the flesh is also “sugar.”
The yellow spot on the bottom is supposed to be indicative of a watermelon that has spent a fair amount of time growing and maturing, storing up the nutrients needed for and by the seeds - for us, building up flavor.
Buy from a farmers market in August. If it’s not good, go back the next week and complain.
That means being a whole week without delicious watermelon.
Life’s too short.
Go to multiple farmers markets. Eventually you might find a farmer that sells ripe melons.
A. Buy from a farmers market as most vendors will have samples for you to try unlike most grocery markets.
B. Ask the vendor to pick one for you and ask he/she why and compare to my steps below:
- Look at a cut sample to see if its red and juicy.
- Look for a bright color rind, not dull.
- Look at the stem to see if its flat, stick out means it was cut from the vine to soon.
- Look at the stem to see if you see dark sugar spots leaked when it was cut, very difficult to find now early in the season.
- Look for a white or yellow shade spot to see it was not grown to quickly.
- Pick one that is heavy for its size.
- Hit with you palm, sound should be hollow not dull, but high hollow pitch means not rip enough
- Buy the largest melon with the above features as you pay per each not by pound.
I can’t wait til August for watermelon especially when its 90 degrees.
Thanks Ipse and Mshopper for the tips. In summary
White veins and yellow shade spot
The California season’s a long way from starting, so a farmers market is not the place to look. The best ones you’ll find these days will be from Mexico.
so true. I just put out my melon seedlings last weekend.
I don’t expect to start harvesting anything until mid-end of July.
It’ll cost like 10 times the price for the premium ones, but you cannot go wrong on taste there.
Pretty amazing how the premium melons have stamps indicating the date of ultimate ripeness.
Do they sell these watermelons in the US at Mitsuwa or any other Japanese markets? Are these the square ones?
Never seen these premium fruits here. These are fruits that are pampered to no end and are perfect in appearance and taste. A premium musk melon was $70-100 when I was visiting in 2012. These are almost always purchased as gifts. I picked up a couple for two of my aunts - they scolded me, saying, “bakarashii!”
Using some of these tips I’ve purchased a bunch of watermelons this year from Whole Foods, Mothers, Albertsons, Costco and the Irvine Farmers Market.
The best watermelon was from Whole Foods. It was very heavy and had a huge yellow sun spot. I used these two methods the most because I couldn’t figure out the type of sound I was supposed to be listening for.
The farmers market has a lot of very red juicy watermelons but they are significantly more expensive. About 2x for about half the size. But the biggest benefit is getting to taste and see the inside before purchasing.
I also got 2 duds from Costso and Whole Foods using the same technique - heavy and yellow spots.
Any of the Chinese markets should have yellow watermelons.
Yellow watermelon is THE summer fruit for Taiwan’ers