How to Tell if a Melon is Ripe

Melons are a refreshing treat for summer and a perfect addition to any fruit salad. Whether you're growing them yourself or just buying from your local farmer's market, determining if your melons are ripe is a tricky business. From watermelons to cantaloupes (which make the top 10 list of healthy fruits), here are some tips and tricks to figuring out the perfect amount of ripeness:

* Watermelons: Looking at the exterior, check that it has no nicks or dents or bruises. On the underside of the watermelon a yellow or light bottom means it should be ripe. The stripes shouldn't go all the way around the melon. Next, tap on the melon. A hollow thump means it's ripe. Lastly, pick it up. A heavy melon is a good melon. Since watermelons are made mostly of water (hence the name!) it should be heavy for its size.

* Cantaloupes: The first step in determining if your cantaloupe is ripe is to smell it. Cantaloupes should have a sweet aroma and odorless melons means it will be tasteless. Next, press your thumb into the skin. The perfect amount of ripeness means it should give a little bit. The skin of a cantaloupe should be beige with defined "netting" and with no soft spots or bruises. Just like watermelons, cantaloupes should be heavy for their size.

* Honeydew Melons: Honeydew melons are available year round but are found in peak ripeness in the late summer. They should have a smooth and pale yellow-green skin. An unripe honeydew will look beige with distinct green veins. When you touch a ripe honeydew melon, you should be able to feel fine veining. Make sure it has no scars or soft spots as well as being a little fragrant.

Now once you choose your ripe melons, you're all set to make a slew of summer time appropriate recipes including tasty smoothies!

Photo: Sistak on flickr

Photo: Gudlyf on flickr