The Q&A Archives: melons

Question: How can you tell when a watermelon or canteloup is ripe?

Answer: There are a few different clues that indicate ripeness in watermelons, but these vary among the different cultivars. Some are ready when a good thump results in a dull sound. If thumping produces a higher pitch, it's unripe. A dull sound can also mean that it's overripe, so you may need to experiment. I know it's hard to experiment with something as precious as home-grown melon, but what you learn will make future harvests that much sweeter. Some varieties are ripe when the stiff, curly tendril on the vine where the melon stem attaches has turned brown, and others when the pale bottom of the fruit is golden or deep yellow (as opposed to straw colored).

Canteloupes are ripe when they slip from the vine. Just pick one up and gently turn it. If it falls from the stem it is ready to harvest. If it hangs on, it's not quite ready. Hope this helps!

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