The watermelons and cantaloups in the garden have been getting bigger and bigger. But were they ripe?
Don decided to find out.
So he went through all the plants and picked the biggest melon he could find.
Then he took it into the house and sliced it open.
Nope. Not ripe.
So we sliced it and gave it to the chickens, who thought it was Just Great.
Later on, Polly chewed on the pecked-out rinds.
But this green melon begs the question, how can you tell when a watermelon is ripe? We tried the old "thump it" trick (where you snap your finger against the rind, and if it sounds dull then it's ripe) but clearly it didn't work.
Determining ripeness turns out to be a subtle science. I found a link to a gardening website which offered much advice, the most useful of which are:
• Look for the spot where the melon rested on the ground; a yellow-white, yellow or a cream-yellow color spot suggests ripeness and a white or pale green spot indicates immaturity. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom. Those fruit that show a change of color from green or olive-grey to yellowish brown should be considered ready to harvest. Also look for a breakup of green bands at the blossom end of the fruit. For best quality, walk the patch daily.
• Check the tendril. If the tendril is green, you should wait to pick the melon. Harvest when the curled tendril near the stem, the "pigtail" or tendril closest to the melon on the vine begins to shrivel and dry up. If it dries while the leaves and rest of the vine looks good, the melon should be ripe.
And, when in doubt:
• Crack a few. You've got a whole field of watermelons, and you can practice a little, right?
• Still confulsed? Guess. All indicators will not always work. Take your best shot and go with it.
In short, there doesn't appear to be an absolute determinant to figuring out when a watermelon is ripe. I'll try checking the "pigtail" tendril as well as the color on the melon's bottom next time.