Sweet watermelon is a great treat. There’s nothing like a cold, juicy slice of watermelon on a hot, summer day. Just thinking of it can conjure memories of friends, family, and fun.  Before most summer picnics you head to the store and watermelon is at the top of your list. You buy it, take it home, and cut it open.  Inside it looks fresh has a nice red color, and some good juices. You take a slice and bite into it only to find that it’s as bland as water. What can you do to sweeten it up?

Unfortunately, there’s no exact way of telling from the outside whether the watermelon you picked is going to be as sweet as you want. It would be unfortunate to be in the midst of an outdoor party only to find that your watermelon isn’t as sweet and delicious as you had hoped.

There are some telltale signs that might give you an indication of how ripe the fruit is, but it is still not a guarantee. These tips will hopefully help you pick the right fruit and enjoy it the way you’d like.

  1. When buying a whole watermelon, make sure to check the fruit itself for a couple of things. A healthy watermelon has a dull sound when you knock on it and some color to its rind. You’ll also want a watermelon that has a distinct yellow spot to it. This yellow spot represents where it laid on the ground while growing. The longer it was on the ground, the more yellow this spot will be. This means that the growers let this fruit mature before they picked it. A watermelon that doesn’t have a yellow spot was picked too early; therefore, it’s not ripe and will not have that distinct watermelon sweetness we all crave.

  1. Try to find a watermelon that has a uniform shape throughout. Having a shape that is symmetrical is a good sign. Check to see that there no dents or cuts either. Any irregularities might mean that the fruit had irregularities in its growth and nutrition supply – perhaps inconsistencies in sunshine and water. You’ll also want the watermelon to be heavier than it looks when you pick it up. This means that the fruit is full of water and is ripe and ready.

  1. If you’re buying a pre-cut watermelon, you’re still not going to be able to tell how sweet the fruit it by just looking. However, if you must, make sure to check its date. Never buy fruit that’s been cut for too long. Check to see that the cut watermelon is firm to the touch but has some juice when you apply a little bit of pressure. You’ll want the color to be bright red because that can be an indication of how fresh the fruit is. Also, don’t buy fruit that has white streaks or yellow spots; this might be an indication of mold. An overripe watermelon will be soft to touch and will disintegrate with slight pressure. While this might be useful if you were to make a watermelon shake, an overripe watermelon will be too grainy when eaten.

  1. If you find that none of these tips help with the picking, and you still end up with a bland watermelon, don’t lose hope. There’s still a chance to enjoy its sweetness. While your first instinct might be to put some sugar on it, don’t try this because it won’t work. You can take some salt, preferably some rock salt, and sprinkle a little bit onto a bite of watermelon. The saltiness will contrast the flavor of the watermelon, accentuating any sweetness that is left in the fruit.

The good thing is if you find that your watermelon just doesn’t cut it when it comes to sweetness, you can always use it in other ways. You can add it as a fruit salad ingredient. If the watermelon is fresh, it can hold its shape and give a nice crunch to the salad. You can also blend the fruit to make a smoothie or even a cocktail base. Since these will have other ingredients in it, you can supplement the sweetness with some flavored syrup such as grenadine or mix in other sweet fruits such strawberries. Even though you won’t be eating it the way you might have intended, at least you’ll still get to enjoy some nice, cold, and fresh watermelon.