Here are some tips to take with you next time you’re looking for melons…
Watermelon – Watermelon actually continues to ripen after it’s been picked, and as watermelon sits, it develops a flat spot that is usually yellow in color. Look for watermelons with a large yellow spot which indicates it has spent some time ripening. You could also place one of your hands on one side of the melon and try palm-slapping with the other. If you feel it vibrate on your other hand, that means there’s plenty of water in it, which means it won’t be mealy. You don’t want to hear a hollow sound.
Cantaloupe – If you’re buying cantaloupe at a farmers market, try smelling it. It should smell sweet and perfumed. Also look for an orange color under the skin of the fruit. Avoid melons that are grey-ish under the skin, which can indicate under-ripeness. The blossom end, the end opposite the stem end, should also give ever-so-slightly when pushed.
Honeydew – Honeydew melons are the trickiest to figure out. Generally, you’re looking for a melon that is heavy for its size, and whose blossom end also gives a little when pushed. You’re also looking for creamy yellow-white skin, instead of bright white or green, which can indicate under-ripeness. There are also some that believe that there’s a very fine veining that can be detected on its surface by touch, only when the melon is ripe.
Good luck melon hunting!