Watermelon, a juicy symbol of refreshment, brings thoughts of hot summer days – and enjoyment.

How do you pick it?

Some people just tap the watermelon and listen for a “thump,” but you can also:

• Look it over. Choose a firm symmetrical melon free of bruises, cuts and dents.

• Lift it up. The watermelon should feel heavy for its size. It is 92 percent water.

• Turn it over. On the underside there should be a creamy, yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

How do you store it?

• Cold can injure your melon. A thermometer reading of 55 F is ideal. Whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature, but don’t keep them too long because they’ll lose flavor and texture.

Lower temperatures cause chill injury. After a couple of days at 32 F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing breaks down the rind and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, wrap and store it at 37 F to 39 F.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board.

On the Web:

http://www.watermelon.org


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