How do you pick a good watermelon? What can you do with watermelon? When are watermelons in season? If this sounds like you staring down watermelon at the supermarket, here's everything you didn't know you needed to know about picking the best watermelon!
Lets be honest, we associate juicy watermelon with warm weather, BBQs, and lazy beach days. While it’s true that there is no wrong way to eat a watermelon, there’s no wrong time either. You can buy perfectly ripe, vibrant watermelon twelve months of the year. So when are watermelons in season?
When Is Watermelon Season?
Watermelon season is between May and September. That’s when production kicks in for the top four watermelon growing states - Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California. The very peak of the season is July and August, that's when stores are supplied with melons at their best.
When watermelon season winds down in the U.S., farmers in Mexico are harvesting perfectly ripe watermelon to be delivered to the U.S. so you can enjoy this delicious fruit all year long.
There are over 50 different varieties of watermelon, most of which you have probably never partaken of or seen. All varieties of watermelon share a distinct juicy, sugary flesh encased by a solid rind but vary in color, shape, and size.
- Seeded: thick green rind, red/pink flesh and black seeds. Available in round, long and oblong sizes, this variety weighs in at 15 to 45 pounds
- Seedless: the majority of the watermelons are seedless. These are hybrids and not totally seedless! You’ll still find softer, white seeds instead of the nostalgic black seeds we spit out as kids.
- Mini: are, you guessed it, small and quite possibly the cutest of watermelons. They are petite, easy to handle and range anywhere between 1 and 7 pounds.
- Yellow: these lack lycopene, a chemical compound that gives traditional watermelon it’s red color. These can sometimes be sweeter than red watermelon, are round in shape and weigh 10 to 30 pounds.
Just because it’s a good time to buy watermelon doesn’t mean it’s impossible to bring home a dud. An overripe watermelon is mealy while an underripe one tastes watery. But don't worry, we’ve all been there!
Thing is, you don't truly know what you’re dealing with until you cut into it. But you will increase your chances of picking a primo watermelon by remembering the Three S’s: skin, size, spot.
- Skin: look over the watermelon. The skin should be firm, shiny, and free of bruises, cuts or dents.
- Size: since it’s 92% water, a ripe watermelon should be heavy for its size.
- Spot: make sure it has a creamy, yellow spot on its underside. This is where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. No spot? Put it back, not ripe.
How To Cut Watermelon Sticks
Watermelon sticks are so easy to make and perfect for sharing and snacking. By leaving the watermelon intact you get these cute little handles so there's no mess.
- Start by cutting your watermelon in half.
- Make cuts about 2 inches apart.
- Rotate and repeat on the other side and there you have it, watermelon sticks!
If the watermelon was cold when you bought it, keep it cold. If not, it can stay at room temperature. Whole watermelon will keep for 7-10 days at room temperature. After that, it can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Cut watermelon should be used within 3-4 days. After that, it begins to spoil and lose flavor.
Can You Freeze Watermelon?
Watermelon isn’t the best candidate for freezing. It can be done, but the results are never very satisfying. When frozen watermelon thaws, it gets soggy and won’t taste nearly as good as the fresh stuff.
If you’re going to freeze it, cut into chunks, freeze on a piece of parchment paper, and transfer to an air-tight container when completely frozen. Frozen watermelon is best for things like smoothies, lemonade, or in place of ice cubes.
How To Use
Watermelon is delicious on its own, but equally refreshing in a fruit salad, salsas, drinks, or on skewers with cheese. Another odd, yet satisfying, way to use watermelon? Chili Lime Watermelon Sticks with Greek yogurt dip.
Yes, you can eat the entire watermelon, rind and seeds included. Each part of the watermelon has its own unique flavors and uses. The rind is great for smoothies, pickling, and stir-frys.
Watermelon does not ripen after harvest. So when you are shopping for watermelon at the grocery store you want to make sure you are bringing home a ripe melon.
Did you try this? Let us know!