Curious About Harvesting Watermelon?

When it comes to harvesting watermelon, timing is everything. Pick the fruit too soon and it won't be sweet. Wait too long to pick the fruit, and it may be mushy and unappealing.

Watermelon Ready For Harvest

There are four steps to take to tell if your watermelon is ready for harvest. If all of these "tests" indicate that the watermelon is ready to be picked, you know you're in for a real treat.

  • Inspect the watermelon. If it has lost its shiny appearance, you're off to a good start.
  • Thump the watermelon. Rap it with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow inside, it's getting close to being ready.
  • Inspect the stem. You should see a spiral coil near the stem of the watermelon. If the coil is brown and dried up, the melon is almost ready to be picked.
  • Inspect the bottom of the watermelon. Look at the spot that was laying on the ground. If it's still white, the watermelon isn't ready yet. If the spot has turned a rich yellow color, go ahead and harvest the watermelon.

If you always follow these four steps when harvesting watermelon, you can be assured that the fruit you pick will be sweet, crisp and in peak condition to eat.  If you're buying a watermelon at a market or store, always look at the spot on the bottom of the melon.  You want it to be a golden yellow color.  If it's white, the melon isn't ripe.

Watermelon Slices

After picking watermelons, you should store them in the refrigerator if at all possible. Some varieties of watermelon are just too big to fit in the fridge. They can be kept in a cooler with some ice for a day or so. Unfortunately, watermelon doesn't keep well for very long, even in the refrigerator. A whole watermelon will keep for 7-10 days in the fridge. A cut watermelon will last 4-5 days, as long as it is covered. Watermelon is best served cold. Ideally, you would harvest watermelon in the morning, chill it in the fridge and eat it later the same day. Some backyard vegetable gardeners choose to grow smaller melons because they know they will fit whole in the refrigerator and keep slightly longer.

Now that you've harvested some watermelon, it's time for a few recipe ideas.

Sliced Watermelon

Click here for some of our favorite watermelon recipes

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