The Two-Finger Trick To Pick Sweeter Watermelons

There's nothing like the disappointment of buying a large, juicy watermelon just to find out it's a dud. But, there is a simple trick to picking out the tastiest watermelon at the store, and it can be found right at your fingertips. You might have heard of the thumping trick (i.e. ripe watermelons tend to sound more hollow if you knock on them with your knuckles). But another great tip is to measure the markings on the fruit's thick rind using two fingers for a tried-and-true visual cue that can ensure a satisfyingly sweet pick each time.

This easy hack can help you easily distinguish between a ripe melon and one that's underripe, which will pale in taste as well as texture. In lieu of the deliciously sweet and refreshing flavor and juicy, firm flesh, an unripe watermelon can be grainy and rather bland. This occurs if it's been harvested too soon because melons are unable to ripen after they've been picked off of the vine.

What measuring a watermelon's markings can tell you

You can forgo falling upon a lackluster melon and pick out the sweetest and ripest option at the supermarket each and every time using just your fingers. Simply place your index and middle fingers together and use them to measure them against the markings on the exterior of the fruit. For the ripest pick, the contrasting green stripes should be about two fingers' width apart.

This nifty hack has certainly blown up on TikTok, where it's amassed more than 28 million views. It also went viral back in 2021 when Facebook user Kevin-Christie Kestler shared that a farmer told her it was the secret to finding the perfect melon. "I put [the trick] to the test," they wrote. "I bought my watermelon and cut it up. It was delicious." 

Pay attention to the coloring in between the melon's green stripes, too, which should be a light-greenish hue. This is important because the stronger the contrast between the two stripes, the better the chances are that it's ripe. But, the two-finger test isn't the only visual clue for choosing the best melon.

Other visual cues for picking a ripe watermelon

Beyond measuring a watermelon's stripes, you'll also want to ensure the green ones are rather dull in appearance and not bright. If they're shiny, that's a clear sign that the rind is relatively new and hasn't spent enough time on the vine maturing. 

Another good indicator to visually check a watermelon for signs of ripeness is its field spot, which is the discolored patch usually on the fruit's side that shows where the melon was situated on the ground. The spot should be a creamy, buttery yellow hue as opposed to plain white or light yellow; as well, the larger the patch generally signifies more time the melon spent ripening while attached to the vine. 

And for one final tip: Check the color of the fruit's stem, which should be dry and more of a yellow-brownish hue than green — again this relates to how long the melon was on the vine. With these tips, you'll be able to pick a melon like a pro, and your watermelon mint mocktail or strawberry-watermelon agua fresca will have never tasted sweeter.