with Kelly Peck*
Here's how to pick a watermelon, cantaloupe or other melon.
Please realize "maturity" is different than "ripeness."
Maturity is the state of full development. Physical growth stops.
Ripeness, for comparison, means ready to eat.
For instance, commercial growers pick tomatoes when they are mature. Those tomatoes will not grow bigger, no matter how long they stay on the vine. However, they are inedible: green, unripe, but if allowed to stay on the vine, would ripen. They are picked, treated to ripen and then shipped off to markets. Got it?
Melons have tell-tale signs of maturity, and of ripeness.
Maturity: First, look at the melon. Are the sides concave or convex? If concave, hollow, with hourglass figure, that melon was not mature. If convex, full, or fat, it is mature. Another test is, check the stem end. Best if the stem has fallen away entirely, or withered on its own. If it's been cut, suspect it of being immature.
Ripeness: Check the spot on the rind that isn't green. If white, it isn't ripe. A yellow color reveals a degree of ripeness.
For cantaloupes and other non-water-melons, check the blossom end. A ripe melon should be soft and smell good.
'Thumping" a watermelon has a science. Imagine there are fibers in the watermelon flesh similar to your vocal cords. If those fibers are short, the melon "pings" as a sign it's not ripe. A ripe watermelon has a longer fiber and a deeper tone, "thunk."
*Kelly Peck is the "chief