Selecting the Perfect Melon: How Do You Tell If a Watermelon is Ripe?

The large, green spheres offer few hints about the sweetness and texture hidden beneath their tough exterior. With so many different types of watermelons, from the common picnic watermelon to specific types like the Black Diamond and Sugar Baby, each has its unique signs of ripeness. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of watermelon selection, exploring various methods to determine their ripeness, right from general tips to specifics about different types of watermelons.

How Do You Tell If a Watermelon Is Ripe?

Before we explore the specifics, let’s start with general tips applicable to all types of watermelons.

  • Examine the Skin: A ripe watermelon should have a relatively uniform color and a slightly dull appearance. A shiny exterior might indicate that the watermelon is underripe.
  • Check the Field Spot: This is the area of the watermelon that was resting on the ground. If it’s a creamy yellow color, it’s generally a good indicator that the watermelon is ripe. If it’s white or green, the watermelon may be underripe.
  • Tap It: Give it a thump. A ripe watermelon should produce a hollow sound. If the sound is dull, it could be overripe or underripe.

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe with Straw?

This might sound peculiar, but some farmers swear by this method.

  • The Straw Test: Place a piece of straw on the watermelon. If the straw spins around, some people say it means the watermelon is ripe. This test is based on the idea that ripe watermelons have a magnetic field that causes the straw to spin. Scientifically, there isn’t much backing this claim, and results can be quite variable.

How to Tell if a Homegrown Watermelon is Ripe?

Growing your watermelon gives you a few more signs to work with.

  • Timing: Count the days since the flower bloomed. Most watermelon types become ripe 30-35 days after blooming.
  • Vine Tendrils: These are the small, curly tendrils on the watermelon stem. When they turn brown and dry, it’s a good sign the watermelon is ripe.
  • Size and Color: A ripe homegrown watermelon should have reached its expected size and have a uniform color, except for the field spot.

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe on the Vine?

If you have a vine of watermelons, you can follow the above tips for homegrown melons. 

  • The “Thump” Test: Yes, it works even on the vine. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it’s likely ripe.

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe and Ready to Pick?

Essentially, a watermelon is ready to pick when it’s ripe. Use the methods above, and if most or all the signs point to ripeness, then it’s likely ready to be picked.

How to Tell if a Black Diamond Watermelon is Ripe on the Vine?

Black Diamond is a specific type of watermelon known for its very dark green, almost black skin.

  • The Field Spot: Look for a yellowish field spot.
  • The Uniformity of the Color: The entire melon should be a uniform blackish color.
  • The Dullness of the Skin: A shiny skin suggests it’s underripe.

How to Tell if a Sugar Baby Watermelon is Ripe on the Vine?

Sugar Babies are small, sweet watermelons that can be a little tricky to assess so you have to be aware of:

  • Size and Color: Sugar Babies are typically 6-8 inches in diameter and should have a uniform, dark green color when ripe.
  • Tendril Color: The curly tendril nearest to the watermelon should be brown, not green.

How to Tell if a Mini Seedless Watermelon is Ripe?

Mini seedless watermelons can be assessed using general watermelon tips. Because they’re seedless, the traditional advice to look for black seeds as a sign of ripeness doesn’t apply.

  • Weight: It should feel heavy for its size. This indicates a high water content and therefore, good ripeness.

How to Tell if a Jubilee Watermelon is Ripe?

Jubilee watermelons are large, elongated watermelons with light green stripes on their dark green skin. To tell if a Jubilee watermelon is ripe look for.

  • Color: Ripe Jubilee watermelons have uniform coloring, and the lighter stripes often take on a creamy yellow tone when the watermelon is ripe.
  • Sound: When tapped, they should sound hollow.

How Do You Tell if a Bradford Watermelon is Ripe?

Bradford watermelons are an heirloom variety known for their sweetness.

  • Field Spot: The field spot should be a deep orange-yellow.
  • Size: Bradford watermelons are typically quite large when they’re ripe, often weighing 30 pounds or more.

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Too Ripe?

Too ripe, or overripe, watermelons may have:

  • A Pungent Smell: Overripe watermelons often give off a sour or fermented smell.
  • Soft Spots: These can indicate that the fruit is starting to rot.
  • Light Sound: When tapped, overripe watermelons tend to produce a light or “thick” sound rather than a deep, hollow one.

How to Tell if an Icebox Watermelon is Ripe?

Icebox watermelons are small and round, ideal for fitting in the fridge. They are  ripe when the following characteristics are found:

  • Size and Color: They should have reached their typical size (about the same as a large bowling ball) and have a uniform color.
  • Weight: They should feel heavy for their size.

By understanding the different signs of watermelon ripeness, you can ensure that you’re always able to pick or harvest a watermelon at its peak, no matter the type.