July – October from California, Mexico through late spring
Place both hands on the watermelon as if you are going to give it a massage. Press in with your fingers and thumb. You’re looking for a give that springs back. If it does not spring back, then move on to another melon. Next give it a slap on the side, if there is a high pitch ping, then the melon is not ready. The perfect melon with have a low pitch thud that vibrates (the vibration is important here). If the thud does not vibrate, then the melon is overripe. Finally rub your thumbnail lightly over the surface, if the skin peels a little then the melon is ready.
- A give that springs back.
- A low pitch thud that vibrates.
- Skin that peels with a light scrape of the thumbnail
This combo will always get you the perfect melon. This is exactly what I look for before cutting melons for the cut melon section.
There are other methods that folks have used over the years like bee marks, yellow belly and the bizarre method of laying a straight piece of straw across the melon. If the straw spins (by itself) then the melon is ready, if it sits still then it’s under ripe. These methods may have fared well with the folks that use them with the latter being the most amusing, but my three steps have never failed me.
Video: https://youtu.be/tiG1LZqGuM4 I had some fun with this video so be open minded to some humor.