How Do You Know When A Watermelon Is Ripe? Tips To Pick Ripe Watermelon

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Ayan Banerjee
Jan 24, 2024 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Nov 11, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Watermelon smoothie on a wooden table.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.0 Min

The watermelon is a flowering plant species that had been domesticated in Africa for the first time.

It has a trailing vine-like plant and is primarily in demand for its edible fruit in the market. Wild watermelon seeds have been found in the Uan Muhuggiag site in Libya, meaning this fruit is historically famous too!

There are also signs of the cultivation of watermelon in ancient Egypt. This tropical fruit is grown in temperate regions and tropical climates. It has a hard rind and sweet, juicy flesh. There are disease-resistant varieties that can produce fruit that is just as sweet as fresh. The sweet watermelon, Cucurbita citrullus, was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. It was reassigned to the Citrullus genus later, in 1836 by Heinrich Adolf Schrader.

These garden plants require conditions of at least 77 F (25 C) to thrive. They are usually sown in containers undercover and then later transferred to well-drained soil with a pH level of about 5. Most of the pests that damage the fruit of a watermelon plant are fruit flies, aphids, or root-knot nematodes. They can also be harmed by diseases such as powdery mildew and fusarium wilt.

Unlike other melons, the seeds of a watermelon can grow over a long time. They have longer growing periods and are more prone to developing what is called a hollow or void heart. This condition is considered to be caused by the lack of pollen.

In Japan, some farmers have successfully grown cubic watermelons by enclosing them in glass or metal boxes. They were initially designed to make them easier to store and stack, and they have been popularly named square watermelons since then. Uncut watermelons can last for about seven days on the counter and two weeks in the fridge.

They should be picked quite quickly to prevent them from spoiling. A spot on the rind of a watermelon will give you the sign that it's ready to be eaten. It tells us that the fruit was left on the ground to develop a yellow color above the white color part. If picked too late, they will not ripen properly. It is generally not advised to consume watermelons at night since it can delay the digestion process and cause damage.

If you enjoyed this article, why not read about how do you know when a mango is ripe or how do you know when a pineapple is ripe, here at Kidadl!

How do you know when a sweet baby watermelon is ripe?

Like the other fruits found on the market during summer, you can't just smell a watermelon to check if the watermelon is ripe or not. Sugar baby watermelon was introduced in 1956. It is an icebox or picnic watermelon.

The size of these species of melon can go up to 7-8 in (17.8-20.3 cm) across, which is a perfect size to be stored in a refrigerator or a fruit basket. It weighs nearly 8-12 lb (3.6-5.4 kg) within just 75 days in comparison to the 120 days it takes for a fully grown watermelon fruit. The size of this fruit can be small, but it is just as juicy and sweet inside. The name 'sugar baby' perfectly suits them because of their specific characteristics.

Sugar baby watermelons are ripe and ready to pick from the vine when you notice the perfect yellowish color splotch underneath the watermelon. These give the watermelon a sweet aroma with the tang of a typical ripe watermelon. Also, to tell if a watermelon is ripening or not, you should flick it a bit. If you hear the sound of a hollow muffled type sound after thumping, it means watermelons are ripening.

These types of melons are known specifically for their sweetness, which is also termed as Brix by watermelon growers, which is also measured scientifically. That is how sweet the watermelon you are going to eat is. If we measure the sweetness of this melon, then it would be on the point which falls at nearly 10.2%. This taste is very similar to a ripe mango or a tomato.

If you want to harvest a watermelon, withhold water for a week. Then the Brix percentage can be increased as the sugar is concentrated. This enriches the sweetness.

Honeydew melons are the easiest to tell when they are ripe. According to plant pathologist Geoffrey Upham, they don't slip like muskmelons.

How to know when a crimson sweet watermelon is ripe?

Crimson sweet watermelons are slightly oval rather than a complete circle, as the sides are blunt in this melon. Crimson sweet watermelons weigh on average 15-25 lb (7-11 kg), and they have light green and dark green stripes on the top. The rind of this melon is greenish and very light stepped, with sweet red flesh inside with seeds.

Research says watermelon is eaten in many local areas in salads or consumed fresh during the summer season, for a refreshing snack. This crimson melon loses its slick appearance on the top, and it looks dull when it is fully ripened and is ready for picking. The plant crimson watermelon produces two to four fruits from each plant. The vines have both male and female flowers. For this melon, there is a fewer number of females compared to males, typically one female for every seven males.

This melon starts ripening just when the summer is at its peak, during the time when it is sizzling hot. This watermelon plant can sprawl over anything taking support for growth in the field spot.

Crimson watermelons are ready to pick when the inside or the belly of the melon changes from greenish-white to buttery yellow or cream in color. This means it is ready to harvest. The change of color occurs on the dark-skinned varieties of melons. Almost 84 days are needed to tell if a watermelon is ripe.

Two girls enjoying a watermelon.

How do you know when a watermelon is ripe on the vine?

How can you tell if a watermelon is ripe or unripe? When you go to a farmers market, or see a watermelon on a vine, how can you tell that the watermelon you are picking is fully developed or not?

The best way to check the ripeness is to thump it, and if you get a hollow sound, then the melon is ripe. It is fully ready to pick for your fruit salad and have this fresh, juicy, red, and refreshing fruit in the hot summer season.

The sounds are a sign that these melons are bursting out with juices and are ready to become watermelon slices on your plates. If the fruit sound is not that strong or the thwap is dull and the fruit is soft, then it is likely that it is a a good watermelon for eating. Unripe watermelons don't become ripe after they are picked, unlike other fruits in the garden like mango.

It is not dangerous to eat unripe watermelons, but you won't get that sweet taste. The watermelon that is not ripe looks like the watermelon has a belly that is in contact with the ground. This area is known as a field spot.

How do you know when a watermelon is ripe before you cut it?

The deep seeds that come with this sweet fruit are hated by many but it's like with roses and thorns, the fruit is so sweet that a little inconvenience can be overlooked.

Buying a watermelon is a tricky business because you cannot confirm whether melons are ripe or not in the inside, just by looking at the exterior. Watermelon does not continue to ripen after picking.

The giant size of watermelons promises a lot of juicy fruit, but it is covered by a thick green rind, which is so hard that it won't tell you whether the fruit is ripe or not inside the rind. If you cut it and it is red and sweet inside, that's perfect, but, before you cut the watermelon, you can also confirm from other signs if the melon is ripe or not, just by its look and smell.

The color will tell you if the melon you picked is developed or not. Actually, there is a hidden spot on watermelons that many people don't know about it. This fruit develops a yellow color spot when the watermelon is kept on the ground to ripen. This is an indicator that the watermelon is ready to cut. And if you can't find the yellow spot, then you can test whether it is ripe or not by taste.

Secondly, to check the ripeness of the watermelon, you have to keep in mind that the watermelon should be heavy. If you pick a melon from the grocery store and the green watermelon is heavier than it looks, then yes, you have hit the jackpot. It's the perfect melon to eat. And last but not least, the third best process to test the ripeness of the belly of the melon you've picked is to knock on the melon. If the sound of the watermelon sounds like a hollow muffled thump, this is the one. This is precisely the watermelon that is perfect for you, give it a try. A ripe watermelon has a hollow sound that's satisfyingly strong. This means the watermelon will be juicy. These three are the main indicator in this business.

Always remember that a watermelon will not ripen after it has been picked.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions forHow do you know when a watermelon is ripe? Tips to pick ripe watermelon, then why not take a look at Curious pet cat facts to know: How often do cats poop?, or Do you know: how is ham made? Interesting food facts about meat.

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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