It’s summertime, which means watermelon everything. From margaritas to popsiclessalsa to poke bowls (yes, seriously), we’re adding watermelon to all of our dishes, sweet and savory. But, of course, that means knowing how to pick a watermelon that’s perfectly ripe. Here are our tips for picking the perfect watermelon — sweet, juicy, and not too watery — from the big mound at your grocery or farmer’s market.

Related: 13 watermelon hacks to try this summer.

 

Tips for how to pick a watermelon that is perfectly ripe: What kind of webbing to look for | Photo © Kate Etue for Cool Mom Eats

How to pick a watermelon: Webbing

Look for webbing around the ends of the watermelon. This is where bees pollinated the flower from which the watermelon grew. More webbing equals sweeter fruit.

 

How to pick a watermelon: Shape & Size

Smaller, rounder watermelons are generally sweeter, while longer, oval-shaped watermelons tend to be more watery. Also, don’t get greedy. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Go for an average sized melon to get the best flavor.

Related: How to cut fruit the right way: Tricks for 8 different hard-to-manage fruits.

 

Tips for how to pick a watermelon that is perfectly ripe: Are those big yellow spots good or bad? You might be surprised! | Photo © Kate Etue for Cool Mom Eats

How to pick a watermelon: Big yellow spots

These spots might seem to spoil the perfect green striped rind that you’re looking for, but they’re actually an indicator of sweetness. The more dark gold the spot, the sweeter the melon. Don’t shy away from these big spots!

 

How to pick a watermelon: Weight

A perfectly ripe watermelon should feel heavy when you pick it up and should give off a deep hollow sound when you thump it. If it’s too light or sounds dull, it’s going to be too watery and not as flavorful.

Related: How to turn a watermelon into a keg (including for non-alcoholic drinks).

 

Tips for how to pick a watermelon that is perfectly ripe: If you can see a stem, here's the unexpected signs you should look for | Photo © Kate Etue for Cool Mom Eats

How to pick a watermelon: Stems

Like with most fruit, if the stem of a watermelon is still fresh and green, the fruit was picked too soon. If you’re lucky enough to find watermelons with the stems still attached, look for ones that are brown and dried out. It means that the melon was allowed to fully ripen on the vine, and will taste so much better.

 
Top photo: Jorge Gordo via Unsplash.