I love melons. Melons are the best during the late summer months. But most people cringe when confronted with choosing the perfect, flavorful melon. Choosing right, your honeydew, cantaloupe, casabas, or watermelon with be full of sweet, juicy flavor, and the wrong one, totally flavorless.
Melon flavor is directly linked to sugar development. Once a melon is picked from the vine, it ceases to sweeten. For the best flavor, melons must be picked when fully ripe, because that is when their sugar levels are at their peak. “Ripening” off the vine will typically not develop more flavor. Should you buy a melon “off season?” Since sugar development is dependent on hot weather, which typically occurs at summer’s end, you take greater risk at finding a flavorful melon other times of the year.
Here are 4 tips to selecting the best melon:
- Weight: The densest melons – that is the heaviest ones for their size, have the most sugar and therefore are the most flavor.
- Smell: Yes, smell your melon! It should be sweet and aromatic. When smelling a melon, do so from the stem end.
- Knock-Knock: Yes, knocking on your fruit will tell you if it is sweet. If it has a hollow dull thump, the sweeter it is. Hard thuds, not so sweet.
- Appearance: Generally look for smooth skin with consistent colors, except for the side that laid on the ground. And if it looks or feels a little soft, the melon is probably not good anymore.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your grocer to help you select the best fruit. They are the experts. They often will also slice one open for you to try.
Now for a bit of trivia, did you know – melons are not only fruits but more specifically, they are berries, just very large ones.