A perfectly ripe watermelon is a summer joy; few adults don’t feel young when a watermelon’s sweet juice dribbles down their chin!
Sweet melons are members of the gourd family, a large botanical classification that also encompasses cucumbers and squashes. Like all members of the gourd family, melons grow on trailing vines.
There are two broad categories of edible melons: the muskmelon and the watermelon, each of which has numerous varieties. Watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) originated in Africa; their seeds are dispersed in a radial pattern throughout the flesh, rather than gathered in a central core like muskmelons (of which the cantaloupe is the most popular).
Why choose organic watermelon?
- Earthbound Farm Summer Sweetie organic watermelons are raised without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic watermelon tastes better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruit like watermelon and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store watermelons
- Choosing a small watermelon can be challenging. They don’t get any sweeter once they’ve been picked, and sometimes they’re picked too soon to develop any flavor or aroma at all. The only indicator of a melon’s ripeness is the rind, but since melons differ from one variety to another, generalizations can be difficult.
- When selecting melons, look for specimens that feel heavy for their size and have a pleasant, sweet, fruity aroma. If the melon was picked ripe, the stem (or stalk) end will have a clean, smooth indentation, known as a “full slip.” Gently press the stalk end with your thumb; if it gives to slight pressure, the melon is ready to eat. Avoid melons with cracked rinds, visible damage or very soft, spongy spots.
- If your melon isn’t ready to eat when you get it home, keep it uncut at room temperature for several days. Its flesh won’t get any sweeter, but it will become softer and juicier.
- Ripe melons should be refrigerated and ideally used within a day. Once cut, seal melons tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Tip for using watermelons
- Watermelon is generally cut into chunks. To serve more dramatic slices, cut the watermelon in half lengthwise and then cut it into round slices, half-slices or long wedges.