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When Is Watermelon Ripe?

Picking a ripe watermelon is not the easiest thing to learn, but there are indicators to look for.

Watermelon mature rapidly during hot weather. Most are ripe about 32 days after blooming.

Deciding when to harvest a melon is most difficult early in the season when vines are green and healthy.

Some indicators of a watermelon’s maturity are: tendrils or pigtails on vines change from green to brown, the ground spot on the belly of the melon turns from white to yellow, and the thumping sound changes from a metallic ringing when immature to a soft hollow sound when mature.

Watermelons should be handled carefully to avoid rolling, bumping or dropping and thus prevent internal bruising of the flesh.

Store watermelons at temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees F. Temperatures below 50 degrees or above 90 degrees for extended periods will increase flesh deterioration. Once the melon is cut, it can be refrigerated in wedge form or in small chunks in plastic-covered containers.

Good quality melons are usually firm, symmetrical in shape, fresh, attractive in appearance and of good color. The external rind color may vary from deep solid green to gray, depending on the variety.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Although popular, braiding garlic bulbs to hang in the kitchen for their ornamental value is not the best way to preserve the wonderful flavor of this cooking essential. Here’s a way to store garlic that not only retains flavor but actually improves it!
    Peeling garlic cloves can be bothersome if you only need one clove at a time. Instead, peel the whole bulb, and then store the extra cloves in a jar filled with olive oil. The garlic will stay fresh for months in the oil, and you can even use the flavored oil for salad dressings and sauces.
    Use a decorative jar, some ribbon and a sprig of fresh spruce or pine for a creative holiday gift!