- Inspect the melon. Does it have any bruising, soft spots or cracks? Choose a melon that is free of damage, including bruises, soft spots, moldy patches and cracks.
- Check the skin color. When buying watermelon and honeydew, choose a melon with a dull-looking appearance. A shiny outside is an indicator of an under-ripe melon. Also, honeydews should be pale yellow to light lemon in color, not overly green.
- With melons such as cantaloupe and muskmelons, the rind underneath the net-like texture should be golden or orange in color. Avoid melons with an underlying green or white color.
- Pick up a few melons and see how they feel. Choose a melon that's heavy for its size.
- Just tap the melon with the palm of your hand. If you hear a hollow sound, it's passed the first test.
- Don't forget the smell test.This works best with melons like cantaloupes and honeydew. Push your fingers on the round section where the vine was attached. It should be slightly soft and should smell fresh and fragrant with a hint of sweetness.
- You can improve the eating quality of firm, uncut melons by leaving them at room temperature for two to four days; the fruit will not become sweeter, but it will turn softer and juicier.
- An uncut watermelon can, if necessary, be stored at room temperature for up to a week.
- Ripened (or cut), melons should be refrigerated and used within about two days.
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