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How to Tell when a Watermelon is Ripe: 4 Signs

How to Tell when a Watermelon is Ripe: 4 Signs

Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by

The feeling of biting into a perfectly ripe watermelon is supremely satisfying. The texture is just right and your teeth sink right into it without it feeling mushy. A ripe watermelon should never be mushy but firm. It should also be flavourful and red. We all know those white parts on the inside near the rind are not very tasty. They are so bland because they didn’t fully ripen.

If you get a watermelon that isn’t ripe all the way through, then there will be a lot of white to it once you open it. How to tell when watermelon is ripe? You may not have to wait to open up the watermelon. If you did, then it would just be a hit and miss affair when it comes to buying watermelons.

Thankfully, there is a way to tell when the watermelon has ripened fully and if it is good to eat. You don’t have to simply guess and hope for the best, and we’ll tell you how to tell when a watermelon is ripe on the vine and in the store.

Is Your Watermelon Ripe?

If you buy a watermelon that isn’t fully ripened, then when you cut it open, it will be whiter than it should be. It still has some maturing to do, but you have opened it up. That’s bad news, because that means the watermelon won’t stay good for as long. You’ve cut its shelf life short by cutting it open, and if you try to freeze it, you still run into the problem of the watermelon not ripening in a timely manner.

Freezing the watermelon slows down the enzymes and the growth process, so the watermelon won’t ripen as it should in the freezer. You need to leave it out to finish ripening.

Forget about all that for a moment, though. How to tell when a watermelon is ripe? There are some telltale signs to look for, and once you know about them, you won’t have to waste your money on an overripe or underripe watermelon ever again.

The Stem

Check the stem to see if it is green or brown. If there is a bit of stem attached, the colour indicates how recently it was picked and gives you some indicator of how ripe the watermelon is. Hard, green stems tell you that this watermelon was only recently plucked from the vine. A brown stem indicates a longer period of time between when it was picked and when you came across it in the store or market.

The Sound

You can also tell if a watermelon is ripe by tapping it and listening to the sound. If you hear a solid sound, then the melon is still trying to ripen. Don’t cut it open yet, because it still needs some time. If it makes a slightly hollow sound when you tap it, then the melon is ripened.

The Texture

You can also feel the surface of the watermelon if you want to know how to tell when icebox watermelon is ripe or any other kind of watermelon is ready to be eaten. A smooth skin indicates a newer watermelon that might not be ripe yet. The smoother the skin, the less ripe the watermelon is likely to be. A seasoned, weathered watermelon has some different shades on it, with lighter and darker areas. This is due to sun exposure and indicates a more mature watermelon.


A ripe watermelon feels heavy for its size. No matter how large or small the watermelon is, if it is ripe, it will have a heaviness to it. Un-ripened watermelons will feel lightweight, and this is probably the easiest and quickest way to tell if a watermelon is ripe and ready to eat.

How to tell when a sugar baby watermelon is ripe? You just try these methods out for yourself and see how easy it is to discern. While the ripeness isn’t as easy to determine with watermelon as it is with some kinds of fruits, there are definite methods you can use that really work and that anyone can use.

The method you use to determine ripeness should not require a masterclass or years of experience. It should be simple and easy to duplicate. If not, then it isn’t a very successful measure for detecting ripeness. For watermelons, the method is as easy as just picking it up in your hands.

How Long Do Watermelons Take to Ripen?

If you plan a watermelon, how to tell when the watermelon is ripe on the vine? They grow larger and larger on the vine, and  it may be tough to tell from a glance or from a cursory inspection that the watermelon is ripe or not ripe.

You can look at the weathering and the sun’s effects on watermelon. A typical watermelon takes about 80 days to go from seedling to a fully ripe and edible watermelon, but you can tell without having to count the days if the watermelon is ripe or not.

Just look for discolourations that show that the sun has weathered and faded the watermelon. This is a good indicator that the watermelon has been out in the sun for a while and is reaching a mature and ripe age.

You can also lift the watermelon in your hands, without plucking it from the vine. It is not a good idea to pluck a watermelon unless you are completely sure that it is ripe. If you pluck it too soon, you hurt its shelf life and viability. It will still be good for a while, but not as long as if you had left it to grow and ripen on the vine.

How to tell when a jubilee watermelon is ripe? You can lift it in your hands and feel for heaviness. If it feels weighty, then it should be ripe and you can pluck it. If not, leave it alone and keep checking back every few days.

Growing your own watermelons can be very rewarding, but you can ruin a crop of watermelons by picking them too soon. It’s easy to get excited about your garden and how it is developing, but don’t be so quick to pick the harvest that you end up picking some of the foods too soon. It’s better to take your time and carefully inspect each food before taking it from the vine.

Then again, you don’t want to leave the watermelon on the vine for too  long. It will become overripe and mushy and fine prey for birds and other creatures. Pick it before it starts to spoil and turn mushy so that you can enjoy it while it is ripe. Keep an eye on watermelons that are looking close to ripeness. They will be ready to pluck soon and should be taken off the vine before they become damaged, spoiled, or devoured.


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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!