How to Choose a Melon

Three Methods:CantaloupeWatermelonHoneydew Melon

There they are... stacked nicely and "on sale" just waiting for you to purchase them... but are they ripe? Will you get them home only to find that you've plunked down your hard earned cash for something inedible? Here's how to determine which melon is best for you to purchase when you're in the store.

Method 1

  1. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 1
    Inspect the outer shell for several characteristics:
    • Firm hard melon with no obvious bruises/mouldy patches
    • Clean, un-scraped netting
    • Underlying color. This should be mostly orangish/whitish. Avoid melons with mostly green or white underlying color.
  2. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 2
    Inspect the stem end. If the stem is still attached, avoid that melon as it will likely be unripe. Ripe Cantaloupes separate cleanly from their stems when picked.
  3. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 3
    Smell the stem end. If there is NO smell, or a slightly moldy smell, avoid that fruit and choose another. Ripe Cantaloupes should smell like cantaloupe, slightly fruity and faintly musky. (Cantaloupes are commonly called "Muskmelon" in some areas.)

Method 2

  1. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 4
    Inspect the rind and pass over any melons with cracks, large softened areas (bruises) or blackened spots.
  2. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 5
    "Thump","tap" or gently slap the melon with your finger tips or hand and listen to the sound.
  3. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 6
    Compare "thunks" given off by various melons and choose one with a sound somewhere in the middle.
    • Note: Higher pitched "thunks" indicate a greener melon and lower pitched "thunks" indicate a riper melon. Very deep "thunks" indicate that the melon may be overripe or beginning to deteriorate inside.

Method 3
Honeydew Melon

  1. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 7
    Inspect the outer rind for bruising, cracks or large, dark spots. Pass by any melon with these characteristics.
  2. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 8
    Hold the melon in one hand.
  3. Image titled Choose a Melon Step 9
    Gently press on the blossom end of the melon (the end opposite the stem).
    • If the melon is very firm on the blossom end, it is still slightly green and not ready for eating. It will not be as sweet as a ripe one.
    • If the melon end is able to be depressed slightly with a minimum of effort, the melon is ripe.
    • If the melon end is soft over an area greater than two inches across, it is likely overripe and should be passed by.


  • Wash any produce before cutting to avoid getting dirt or germs into the flesh of the melon.

Article Info

Categories: Food Selection and Storage