How to Pick a Good Watermelon

We thump the watermelon first, but looking for the buttery yellow underside is a better indicator for ripeness.

There’s a prevailing old wives’ tale that finding ‘bee stings’ will insure a sweet melon. Bee stings are the long thin rows of brown spots. It look like something stung the watermelon in a long straight row.

While bees/wasps do look for sweet things, they’re not going to use their stingers to extract the sugar–not that it could penetrate the rind anyway.

That aside, I can anecdotally attest that melons with a row of ‘bee stings’ have in fact been sweeter for us. Is the old wives’ tale true? Who knows? But I’m going to keep picking melons with the telltale brown sting marks.

Have you heard of picking watermelons via the bee sting test? What do you do to see if a melon is ripe?

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like watermelon? If so, what planet are you from? 🙂


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  1. JackieBCentralTexas

    I leave the picking of ripe melons to my husband, he too thumps them and also looks for the yellow underbelly. Have to ask about the brown spots though as not sure whether those have his attention or not.

    Maria the only person on Earth ever met who did not like Watermelon was my Dad. He told us he ate so many as a child he burned out. He was born in 1927 and the melon crops were probably the staple of their diet during the Great Depression so can honestly say do not blame the man one bit for even the sight making him ill as an adult.

    • Jackie: That reminds me of my mother in law. She didn’t like chocolate. During WWII she used to work in a chocolate factory and that pretty much ended any future love affair with chocolate.

      re: brown spots
      I used to avoid any blemishes on melons, but when I heard this tip, I have to admit each of those have always been sweet.

  2. I just realized today that I haven’t been getting your email updates when you post a new entry. Not sure why that is??

    I love watermelon but haven’t had any in a bit. I would do the thumping to try to find the “perfect” one. I had not heard of the bee sting method before 🙂


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