Originally from Africa, this melon has a sweet, moist red flesh. Asians roast the seeds, and pickled watermelon rind is popular in some parts of the world. If slapping the watermelon returns a resounding hollow thump, it is ripe.
One of two broad categories of melon (the other is muskmelon), watermelon is native to North Africa. Though there are many varieties, the elongated oval-shaped, green-rinded version averaging 15 to 35 pounds is the well-known summertime treat in the U.S. Other varieties have flesh that ranges from white to yellow to deep pink.
Season: May – September
How to select: Look for firm symmetrical melons without cuts or dents. A watermelon should feel heavy, its skin should have a nice sheen, and the underside (the side which grows against the ground) should be pale yellow. They should sound hollow when thumped or slapped if they are ripe. An abundance of small white seeds means the melon is immature. In addition, feel the stem end. If it is smooth, the melon gave up the stem easily because it was ripe when picked. If the stem end is rough, that means that the melon wasn’t quite ready to be picked and was torn from the stem.
How to store: Refrigerated for no more than one week. Cut slices should be tightly wrapped and used within a day or so.