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One of the most commonly asked questions that I get when I’m at our stores is one I’m sure you have asked yourself a number of times. It’s “How do I pick out a good or ripe melon?” Whether it is cantaloupe, watermelon or honeydew, every one has a method or trick that he or she thinks will ensure the perfect melon. That being said, I would like to share my method with all of you.
Depending on which type of melon you are selecting, the process will vary slightly. The first step in selecting a melon is the most important one and is the same for any melon you are selecting that day.
STEP 1: Buy All Your Melons at Nino’s!
My team and I have done much of the hard work for you. We cut, feel, and inspect each truck load of melons that is unloaded daily at the Detroit Produce Terminal. Just this week, we cut over seven different loads of cantaloupes to determine which was sweetest and firmest for our shelves. So rest assured, if you are taking a melon home from Nino’s, you have little to worry about it.
STEP 2: Know What to Look for
If cantaloupes are your melon of choice, color is the most important thing to look for. The greener the melon, the less ripe it is. Cantaloupe will turn to an orange-type shade as it ripens. Choose accordingly, based on when you want to eat your melons. Cantaloupes will usually take two days to totally change color if left at room temperature. Another tip to help you when selecting cantaloupes is to feel the end of the cantaloupe (flat end not indented end) to see if there is some give on the end. If so, the ripening process has begun. Sometimes I will see customers smelling cantaloupes and wonder what smell they are seeking. If you simply enjoy the smell of cantaloupes, then have at it. However, smell and sweetness DO NOT have any direct link.
If honeydews are the melon of choice, the same rules apply, except that when honeydews ripen, their color goes from green to a bright yellow.
Watermelons can also prove tricky. The method that I find to be the most accurate is known as the knock-knock method. You simply knock on your melon, listening for the most hollow sound. The louder this sound, the better the melon. If you hear a thump or a dud-like sound, chances are you have an over ripe or soft melon that is old and not fresh tasting. Also, if you haven’t noticed, here at Nino’s we carry the largest watermelons available for retail. We carry 20- to 22-pound melons (on average). So next time you pick up a watermelon from Nino’s, please be careful. Not everyone can handle 22 pounds all at once!!
What method do you use to tell if a melon is ripe? Share with me in the comments below!