Watermelon Selection and StorageWatermelon season runs from May to September, but peak is mid-June to late August, making them a perfect summer choice in the northern hemisphere.
There are several schools of thought on how to select a properly ripened melon, but I've always used the thumping method with great success. When thumped by flicking the middle finger off the thumb against the melon, the melon should produce a deep, rich thudding sound. The skin should be dull and slightly waxy (although many are waxed to shine), yielding only slightly to pressure, and the stem should be attached, brownish and dry. The round or oblong melon should be symmetrical without any flat sides, feeling heavy for its size. The underside where it lies on the ground should be a pale yellow color, not white or light green.
Melons will continue to ripen and soften a little at room temperature but not much. Melons picked before their prime will never develop full flavor. Whole watermelon should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Chilling injury occurs at temperatures below 40 degrees.
If you are purchasing a cut standard melon, look for bright red flesh with mature dark brown or black seeds. Unless it is a seedless variety, an abundance of white seeds means it was picked before its prime. Avoid those with white streaks through the flesh and those pieces where the flesh is mealy, dry, and/or separating from the seeds.
Cut watermelon should be wrapped tightly, refrigerated and used within a few days.
Watermelon Information and Watermelon Recipes Watermelon Selection and Storage
Watermelon Varieties and Types
Watermelons and Health
Make a Watermelon Basket - Step by step with photos
Watermelon Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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