Picking the Perfect Watermelon
FHC Food Safety Health
Mike Parker

Summer means long, lazy days, iced tea, baseball and of course, watermelon! This luscious fruit (or vegetable, depending on which expert you cite), is the most consumed melon in the United States (followed cantaloupe and honeydew), and with good reason. The flesh of this all-natural sweet and tasty snack is made up of nothing but water and natural sugar, but it also contains excellent levels of Lycopene, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Potassium.

Unlike processed ‘added’ sugar found in many manufactured food products, the natural sugars in watermelon are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, like lycopene. And since watermelons are 92% water, the natural sugars are diluted, making that slice of watermelon chin-dribbling delicious. An additional bonus is that the fiber in watermelons cause less of a spike in blood sugar and makes you feel full longer, to help curb your hunger and help with weight management.

Yes, watermelon tastes great and is good for you, but picking out a ripe melon at the grocery store or farmer’s market is something of an inexact science. Folks swear by a number of methods for picking the perfect melon; from thumping to squeezing to setting a broom straw on top to see if it turns 45 degrees (a method advocated by Popular Science Magazine in 1945). But according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, selecting a good watermelon is an easy, three-step process:

  1. Look the watermelon over.
    You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
  2. Lift it up.
    The watermelon should be heavy for it's size. Watermelon is 92% water, most of the weight is water.
  3. Turn it over.
    The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

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