How to Pick (and Cut) Watermelon
Yes, there is a method to the madness when it comes to choosing the best watermelons. Read on for tried-and-true tips and tricks for ensuring you go home with a juicy, sweet, and crispy watermelon. Bonus: learn the secret for easily cutting watermelon into cubes.
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How to pick a watermelon
Have you ever watched grown men and women stand over a watermelon bin, poking and prodding each melon in confusion, and then apprehensively placing one into their shopping cart? Maybe you’ve even been one of them.
After this day, you shall no longer fear the watermelon bin. Here are tried-and-true methods for choosing the best melon in the batch.
The 5 steps:
- Heavy: a juicy watermelon should feel quite heavy for its size. In other words, you should be a bit surprised at how heavy the melon is. This indicates high juice content within.
- Yellow: Look for a darker yellow spot on the underside of the melon, called the “field spot,” which indicates ripeness. The darker-yellow, the riper.
- Green: The watermelon’s surface color should be dark green and dull, not shiny. This also indicates that the melon is ripe.
- Sound: You’ve seen people knock on a watermelon like it’s a door, right? If the melon sounds hollow (vs. dull) when you knock on it, it’s a good sign. It means the watermelon is ripe. Say goodbye to any dull-sounding melons.
- Feel: This is totally my own anecdotal advice, but I promise I always do this and it works: press into the watermelon as hard as you can with your thumbs. If there’s any give when you press into it, it’s not as crisp as it should be. There should be zero give in a crisp melon.
So you might be mistaken for a watermelon snob if you stand over the watermelon bin and do these steps. But for reals, you won’t even care when you cut open your perfectly sweet, crispy, and juicy watermelon the minute you get home. You’ll pat yourself on the back for your melon-picking skills.
How to cut a watermelon (cubes)
Most of you know how to cut melons into wedges pretty easily, so we’re focusing in on watermelon cubes here. There’s no need to struggle with cubing watermelon little by little.
Here are the super easy steps:
- First and foremost, please use the sharpest knife you can. Every chef and experienced cook knows: a good knife is worth your investment, always. We use our beloved Wüsthoff knife, but a budget friendlier option is this Victorinox that works pretty well for the price.
- Start with a cold watermelon. A cold melon will retain shape easier during cutting.
- Slice watermelon in half, taking care not to let the melon split haphazardly.
- Slice off the ends of both watermelon halves.
- Working with one half at a time, stand watermelon flat on one end and slice off the rinds all around so that you’re left with 2 halves of pure watermelon flesh.
- Slice watermelon into 1-inch thick rounds.
- Stack watermelon rounds and cut into even cubes.
how to keep cut watermelon fresh
Now that you’re a watermelon picking/cutting pro, you’ll want to keep your melon fresh. The best way to store cut watermelon is tightly sealed and refrigerated, no more than about 3 days. Always reseal tightly after opening the container. A large container with fitted lid works best.
We love this Watermelon Salad Recipe for a refreshing way to enjoy cut watermelon.
You can also freeze leftover watermelon and use it for refreshing Watermelon Margaritas.
Always try to make room for it in the fridge so that it can chill right away. Since you’re bringing home a ripe melon, you don’t want it sitting at room temperature any longer. You want your melon to be chilled prior to cutting, as it retains shape better when chilled.
Once watermelon is cut, it’s best to enjoy fresh, within 24 hours. However, you can cover cut watermelon tightly and keep chilled for up to 3 days.
We love making watermelon salad or watermelon margaritas. You can also add them to your smoothies, or use a blender or juicer to make watermelon juice.
How to Pick (and Cut) Watermelon
- 1 ripe, cold seedless watermelon
- Other: extra large cutting board, sharp chef’s knife
- Clean: Clean exterior of watermelon well and dry it thoroughly.
- Halve: Use sharp knife to slice watermelon evenly down the middle, crosswise, so that the stem-end is still intact.
- Remove Rind: Take one half of the watermelon and slice off the round end, so that it now has two flat sides. Turn it large cut-side-down on cutting board. Slice the rind off, all around.
- Slice: Turn rind-free watermelon half on its side, and slice it into 1-inch large rounds.
- Cube: Stack the slice rounds and cut into cubes. Repeat with other half of the watermelon.
- Watermelon tends to slice easier when it’s cold to begin with.
- Place watermelon cubes into large airtight fridge containers. Keep chilled, for up to 3 days in refrigerator.
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How do you like to enjoy your watermelon? We’d love to hear your favorite ways to use this fabulous fruit!