The reddish-pink color of a watermelon is reminiscent of the heat of summer days and picnics with the family. But people are starting to replace the nostalgic red watermelon with a trendier and more unique watermelon bearing a similar green rind but with a bright yellow inside. So, what exactly is yellow watermelon, and how does it differ from the common red watermelon?
- Red vs Yellow Watermelon
- Nutritional Benefits of Yellow Watermelon
- How to Pick the Best Watermelon
- 1. Yellow Watermelon Salad with Pickled Ginger Cucumber Relish
- Watch: How to Make a Southside Rickey
- Hard spot INSIDE watermelon?!?
- How To Pick A Good Watermelon
- How to Pick a Good Watermelon:
- Ripe, Sweet Watermelon
- Yellow Meated Watermelon
- Best Season for Growing Yellow Watermelons
- What Is a Yellow Watermelon?
- What Makes Them Yellow
- They Look the Same on the Outside
- Use a Yellow Watermelon the Same Way
- How do I know when a watermelon on the vine is ripe
- 4 Clues to Tell if Your Watermelon is Ripe
- Quick Tip for Melon Storage – Don’t stick your uncut melons in the refrigerator!
Red vs Yellow Watermelon
Yellow watermelons lack lycopene, which is the chemical that produces a reddish color in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and red grapefruit. While the large amounts of lycopene in red watermelon give it a pinkish-red inside, the lack of lycopene in yellow watermelon yields a yellowish color.
Surprisingly, yellow watermelon was cultivated before red watermelon. Yellow watermelons were bred to have higher lycopene content once watermelon became more popular, which turned it redder over time. Originating in Africa, this yellowish kind of watermelon is said to have a somewhat sweeter flavor and a thicker rind than its red cousin.
Nutritional Benefits of Yellow Watermelon
In terms of nutritional value, yellow watermelon amounts to about 46 calories in a cup and makes for a wonderful snack. Similar to red watermelon, yellow watermelon is high in vitamins A and C, which can support the immune system and skin health. Unlike red watermelon, yellow watermelon contains more beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that may protect against cancer and eye diseases.
With its many health benefits and low calorie count, yellow watermelon is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for a sweet, refreshing snack. This yellow fruit can also be used for desserts, such as fruit tarts or smoothies, or it can also be included as a topping on a creative salad. It can also be juiced for a refreshing drink that retains the yellow watermelon’s original flavor. Not only can yellow watermelon aid with detoxing and prevent bloating, but the high percentage of water can also keep you hydrated for the whole day.
How to Pick the Best Watermelon
Yellow watermelon is generally interchangeable with red watermelon, and I would personally choose whichever is cheaper at the grocery store. That said, for those who have not tried yellow watermelon before, I would highly recommend it.
If you’re at the grocery store looking for a nice, ripe yellow watermelon, check for melons that have a creamy yellowish spot on the rind. A ripe watermelon, yellow or red, should feel quite heavy and should also make a hollow sound if you lightly thump it. Watermelons are usually the tastiest during the summer, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a yellow watermelon any time of the year.
Summertime is the perfect season for sweet, crisp watermelon. There are few things sweeter than biting into watermelon wedges on the beach, in the backyard, or even on road trips. While you might know a few basic watermelon tricks, like sticking popsicle sticks in the wedge rinds or salting it to bring out the sweetness, you might not know everything about watermelon. Did you know that yellow watermelon exists? And not only does it exist, but it’s also delicious.
So what’s the difference between yellow flesh watermelon and your garden variety regular red watermelons? Traditional watermelons get the pinkish-red flesh from lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and the stuff that makes tomatoes red — and what scientists modified to create these pink pineapples. Watermelon varieties that don’t contain lycopene will often have a yellow fruit.
On the outside, yellow watermelons look just like any other watermelon, with a green rind. They can be seedless watermelons, with countless seedless varieties. With yellow watermelons, though, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Aside from the obvious color difference, yellow watermelons tend to be sweeter than their reddish relatives, described with notes of honey and apricot.
A happy accident lol #yellowwatermelon
The sweet taste makes it especially perfect for soaking in booze, like tequila or rum for a tasty, saucy treat. While it’s not an extremely sweet taste, it cuts through the edge of spirits nicely.
Yellow watermelons are available year-round from specialty produce suppliers — and maybe some select grocery stores — with a peak season in the summer months.
Yellow Flesh Black Diamond Watermelon, Desert King, Yellow Crimson, Yellow Doll, Buttercup and Tastigold are just a few of the varieties of yellow watermelon for sale and cultivation.
While many people think it’s the other way around, there’s a good amount of evidence indicating the yellow and white varieties of watermelons actually predate the pink and red melons we are familiar with today.
If you’re ready to give this watermelon a go, you can pick up yellow watermelon seeds online or at your local plant store. If you want to stick to traditional reddish tint watermelons, we don’t blame you, but branching out won’t hurt.
Need inspiration to get started? Try this!
1. Yellow Watermelon Salad with Pickled Ginger Cucumber Relish
The relish is the real star of this dish, though the colors alone just scream barbecue appetizer. Parsley especially brings out the fresh, sweet taste of the watermelon.
Feel free to add a smidge of dill in the recipe, it pairs with the cucumber beautifully. Find the recipe here.
This post was published on May 28, 2019.
Watch: How to Make a Southside Rickey
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The science behind this strange looking watermelon may surprise you.
At first glance, it looks like someone has taken a lot of time to carve a strangely intricate pattern on the inside of this watermelon. In reality, what’s happened to this watermelon is a natural condition called “hollow heart.” That’s right. This piece of fruit literally looked exactly like that when it was cut open.
“Hollow heart” develops when there is poor pollination during the growth process that creates cracks inside of the watermelon.
University of Delaware researcher Gordon Johnson explains the science behind “hollow heart” in detail:
“In the past, the cause for hollow heart was thought to be related to rapid growth of the fruit where the rind expanded faster than the internal flesh leading to separation of the three internal fruit compartments and an open area between. Excess nitrogen and over-watering along with favorable growing conditions were implicated in higher incidence of hollow heart.
There is growing evidence that hollow heart is not directly tied to nitrogen and water management but is related to pollination and weather conditions during pollination. Plant hormones are thought to be important in this effect. Several researchers have found no increase in hollow heart with increases in nitrogen; even in varieties know to have hollow heart problems. It is thought that with inadequate pollination, there is reduced release of the plant hormone that controls the development of storage tissue leading to hollow heart.”
Although the sight might be alarming when the melon is first cut open, the affected fruit is still entirely safe to eat.
University of Delaware Reddit
So next time you’re carving a watermelon for your summer picnic, don’t be afraid if you see this crazy pattern on the inside. It’s just science working its natural magic.
This post was originally published on May 3, 2015.
Hard spot INSIDE watermelon?!?
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strawberry- pisces, because they are sweet and everybody loves them! they are red representing love. if you look at it closely enough it is shaped like a heart. aww. the mushy sentimental pisces. dip em’ in chocolate and they’re even better! watermelon- cancer, what a way to celebrate the water sign! ironically enough, a july celebrated fruit. always sweet and nourishing, but they still have their hard spots (seeds). still a family favorite! apple- capricorn, because we are plain, simple and practical. also a symbol of education and knowlege (teacher’s apple). bruises easily but you may not know till you cut us deep enough. yuck! orange- leo, because they are always bright, sunny, and bursting with the flavor of attitude, but some might have to strain the pulp first for it to be enjoyable. grapes- scorpio, because they represent wine which is dark and luxurious. indulgent. sensual. romantic. erotic. also used as a symbol of wealth. banana- taurus, a bit kooky (symbol of humor), sunny disposition, mild, with great texture– always a favorite. mmm! who wants taurus bread? cherry- a balance between sweet and sour, attached in twos, and usually represented with art, clothing, and false innocence. coconut- virgo, because it is pure white, refreshing and perfectly mild. a tough nut to crack indeed! appears boring on the outside, yet inside there is a treasure, but only so thick– the rest is hollow. mango- sagittarius, because they represent adventure and a sharp flavor. mango margarita! party time. nuff said. pineapple- gemini, because you hit the sweet, then the tart– it’s always changing, yet soft till you hit the core. lemon- aries, because they can just be bitter and sour sometimes. always bright and radiant, an influential flavor used with almost anything. unchanging (stubborn). they are also fun to squeeze. haha. papaya- aquarius, who really knows what a papaya is? explains aquarius perfectly! who really knows what is going on there, eh? well that was fruity! no prob, archie. it was fun!
How To Pick A Good Watermelon
June 27, 2018
Here are six tips for How to Pick a Good Watermelon that’s ripe and sweet, gathered from lots of conversations with produce people, farmers, and personal experience. If you know how to check for things like the field spot, it makes the selection process much easier!
Picking out a watermelon at the grocery store was always a semi-anxiety plagued experience for me when I didn’t know what I was looking for.
If you pick a bad one, you’re stuck with 15-20 whopping pounds of watermelon terribleness. And then your options are to either force yourself to eat this yucky watermelon or throw it away…and both are less than desirable options.
There have been a few times where I ended up throwing it out because it tasted like a crunchy watermelon rind cucumber, and no one in my family would eat it.
My goal today is to help you pick sweet, ripe watermelons because I know how disappointing it is to get home, take your first bite of some sort of produce you buy, only to find out it isn’t good.
All the tips here are tidbits I have gathered from personal experience and lots of conversations with produce people and farmers.
How to Pick a Good Watermelon:
Tip #1: Find the Field Spot
If you don’t even read the other tips, I find this is the biggest indicator of a good watermelon.
The field spot is a creamy spot on the outside, and it’s where the watermelon was resting on the ground. The field spot should be a yellowish creamy color, like shown with my watermelon:
What’s interesting is you’ll notice that the other side of the same watermelon looks completely different:
Much prettier and more typical of what I picture when I think of a watermelon, and that’s okay. I find that the best watermelons I buy can sometimes look really gnarly on one side where it was resting on the ground, and then unblemished on the other.
The more dark yellow the field spot is, the longer it was on the vine sweetening up. If the field spot is white (or not even there), this indicates an underripe melon.
Tip #2: Pick a Dull Looking Watermelon
A shiny appearance indicates an underripe melon. This applies to honeydew melons too.
Tip #3: Knock on It with Your Knuckles
Your knuckles should bounce off the melon, and the surface should be pretty hard/firm. You will get a dull thud if the flesh is soft, which indicates it’s starting to spoil.
Tip #4: Get the Heaviest One for Its Size
This applies to pretty much all produce, but you want to pick the watermelon that is the heaviest one for its size. That means there’s more water in it.
The watermelon pictured above here in my post was a whopping 18 pounds! It was heavier than the other comparably sized melons around it.
Tip #5: Check for a Uniform Shape
Some watermelons are round, some are oval, and either is fine. But if there are irregular bumps, this indicates the melon may have gotten inconsistent amounts of sun or water.
Tip #6: Look for the Sugar Spots and Pollination Points
This tip was emailed to me many months ago by Tom, a produce manager for a major grocery chain. If you see black spots on the melon (as pictured above), this is where sugar is seeping out and indicates a sweet melon. Also, if you see dots in a line (not a scratch), these are pollination points, and the more of them the better. I’ve been looking for these every time I pick up a melon and have had great luck with it in addition to the other tips. Thank you, Tom!
Once you’ve picked out your watermelon, take a look at my quick guide for How to Cut a Watermelon:
It is SO much easier than cutting the typical triangles that include the rind, and you can either cut it into sticks or cubes:
Click the photo above for my guide on cutting watermelon. Enjoy!
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Ripe, Sweet Watermelon
Here are six tips for How to Pick a Good Watermelon that’s ripe and sweet. Course Snack Cuisine American Keyword how to pick watermelon Prep Time 2 minutes Total Time 2 minutes Servings 8 Calories 106kcal
- 1 large watermelon
- Find the Field Spot – Look for a deep yellow color. If there’s a white field spot, or no field spot at all, it likely won’t be good.
- Pick a Dull Looking Watermelon – A shiny appearance indicates an underripe melon.
- Knock on It with Your Knuckles – Your knuckles should bounce off the melon, and the surface should be pretty hard/firm. Soft flesh indicates it’s starting to spoil.
- Get the Heaviest One for Its Size – This applies to pretty much all produce, but you want to pick the watermelon that is the heaviest one for its size. That means there’s more water in it.
- Check for a Uniform Shape – Some watermelons are round, some are oval, and either is fine. But if there are irregular bumps, this indicates the melon may have gotten inconsistent amounts of sun or water.
- Look for the Sugar Spots and Pollination Points – If you see black spots on the melon, this is where sugar is seeping out and indicates a sweet melon. Also, if you see dots in a line (not a scratch), these are pollination points, and the more of them the better.
- If you want an easy way to cut the watermelon into sticks or cubes, see my How to Cut a Watermelon post. Enjoy!
Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g
Post updated with new photos and more tips in June 2018. Originally published April 2011.
Yellow Meated Watermelon
Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 36 to 60 inches apart. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.)
Soil requirements: Provide well-drained, nutrient-rich soil that’s high in organic matter. Work at least 3 inches of organic matter into planting beds—more is better. Soil should be at least 70ºF at planting.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist until fruits are about the size of a tennis ball. After that, water only when soil is dry. Avoid overhead watering to beat foliar diseases; use soaker hoses instead. About a week before fruits are ripe, water only if leaves wilt. Withholding water at this stage concentrates sugars in fruit.
Frost-fighting plan: Even a very light frost (31 to 33ºF) can kill watermelon vines. Use frost blankets or cold frames to protect vines and prolong the harvest season. To ensure fruits ripen before frost, remove any blossoms that start to develop within 50 days of your area’s average first frost date.
Common issues: Pests to watch out for include melon aphids, along with spotted and striped cucumber beetles. Fungal diseases such as alternaria leaf spot, gummy stem blight, anthracnose, downy mildew, and powdery mildew can attack plants.
Harvesting: Harvest when rind changes from bright to dull green, and the part that touches soil shifts from greenish white or straw yellow to rich, creamy yellow. Rap on the skin and listen for a low-pitched thud; tune your ear to the incorrect sound by rapping on a few fruits that aren’t ripe. Underripe fruits resonate with a high-pitched, tinny sound. Cut melons from the vine, leaving about an inch of stem attached to prevent rotting if they’ll sit before use.
Storage: Watermelons keeps 2 to 3 weeks unrefrigerated. Place in a cool area, such as a basement, to increase holding time. After cutting, refrigerate unused portions. If you have extra melon on hand, dice or cut the flesh into balls and freeze.
For more information, visit the Watermelon page in our How to Grow section.
Best Season for Growing Yellow Watermelons
True Lovers of Heat
Regardless of the variety you are growing, all yellow watermelons are heat-lovers that perform best when outdoor conditions are consistently warm. Depending on where you live, your season of prolonged warm temperatures might start as early as March or in late May to early June.
The more north you reside, the later you can expect to safely plant your yellow watermelon seeds or transplants. These are warm-season annuals very sensitive to frosty, cold temperatures. In fact, Florida is the only state where the year-round warm climate makes it possible to grow watermelons all year.
Prime Temperatures for Germination & Planting
Since outdoor conditions that are too cold impede the watermelon plant’s growth and seeds can fail to germinate, it’s important to plant when temperatures are at their prime.
- The best temperatures for germination are between 70°F to 95°F (21.1°C to 35°C). Germination occurs in a couple of days, when seeds are planted in 95°F (35°C) and can take a week, when planted in 70°F (21.1°C).
- Watermelons thrive when planted and grown with temperatures ranging between 70°F and 85°F (21.1°C and 29.4°C), but still handle temperatures of 90°F (32.2°C).
How to Get a Jump on the Season
If you live in a cooler region where the growing season is shorter, or you just want to get a head start on growing your yellow watermelon plants, there are steps you can take to get things off to a good start.
- In late winter or early spring, cover the garden area with black plastic, being sure to secure the ends in place. This not only organically kills any unwanted vegetation, but the black plastic helps the soil retain warmth.
- You can also mulch around the watermelon plants with black, plastic mulch, which helps retain heat in the soil.
- Placing fabric row covers over young plants also retains warmth in the soil. However, once the plants start blooming you have to remove the covers for proper pollination of the flowers. Keeping the row covers in place can impede pollination, which reduces the watermelon crop.
- Start seeds indoors in peat pots two to four weeks before the last frost in your area, and plant out in the garden two weeks after the last frost. Like all melons, watermelons have sensitive roots and you can plant the entire peat pot in the garden without disturbing the root system.
Expert Tip: Plant your yellow watermelon seeds ½ inch deep.
Selecting the Right Yellow Watermelon Variety
When selecting a yellow watermelon variety to grow, you’ll want to pay attention to the seed packet and how many days from planting until harvesting. If you live in an area with a shorter season, you’ll want to select a cultivar that doesn’t take as long to ripen.
However, if you live in a location with a prolonged season on warmth, you can grow any yellow watermelon variety because it will have time to ripen before cold weather arrives. Some yellow watermelon varieties, including those with yellowish outer skin and their characteristics include:
- ‘Yellow Doll’ is a hybrid producing 3- to 7-pound, yellow-fleshed melons green striped skin. Semi-compact vines mature in 68 to 80 days.
- ‘Yellow Alice’ is a Korean hybrid producing small, round fruits with yellow-flesh. Matures in 55 to 60 days.
- ‘Golden Midget’ produces 3-pound fruits, with golden yellow skin and pink inner flesh. Matures in around 70 days.
- ‘Golden Crown’ produces 5- to 7-pound, red-fleshed fruits with golden yellow skin and is disease-resistant. Matures in 78 days.
- ‘Desert King’ produces 20- to 30-pound, yellow-fleshed fruit and takes 85 to 100 days to mature.
- ‘Sweet Siberian’ produces 8- to 10-pound, yellow-fleshed fruit, with light green skin. Matures in around 80 to 85 days.
Expert Tip: Yellow watermelon varieties producing smaller fruits are suitable for growing up a trellis. Just make sure the trellis is sturdy enough to hold the developing fruits. You can support the melons with pantyhose, placing them around the watermelons and creating a sling while they are still small.
What Is a Yellow Watermelon?
Akepong Srichaichana/EyeEm/Getty Images
When the dog days of summer set in and you are facing an afternoon filled with haze, humidity, and languid breezes (if there is even a breeze at all), the one thing that will coax you out onto the back porch is the promise of a sweet, juicy, and crisp watermelon. There are few things more refreshing than biting into a watermelon wedge, letting the juice trickle down your arms, and seeing how far you can spit the seeds. While the most popular way to eat a watermelon is to just dive in, they are also delicious blended into cocktails, paired with tomatoes in salads, and even turned into a creamy, frozen pie. You may be lucky enough to grow your own watermelons in your garden or you might visit a farmers’ market for your favorite varieties, such as the Sugar Baby or Crimson Sweet. The traditional varieties all have red or pink flesh, but have you run across the yellow watermelon? With over 1,200 varieties of watermelon on the market today, from seedless to pink to melons with a black rind, you shouldn’t be surprised to find a yellow fleshed melon. Read on and see what makes it so different.
What Makes Them Yellow
Some fruits and vegetables, such as cherries, blueberries, grapes, and purple sweet potatoes, contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid which provides their rich color. Traditional watermelons get their pinkish to red hues from lycopene, the same powerful antioxidant that makes tomatoes red. Obviously, watermelon varieties that do not contain lycopene will often have a yellow flesh.
They Look the Same on the Outside
You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you can’t judge a watermelon by its rind, because a yellow watermelon has a green rind, just like every other watermelon. So, unless the produce is labeled correctly at the market, you will have to cut into a melon to determine if it is yellow or red. There are as many varieties of yellow watermelons as there are red ones, both with seeds and seedless.
Use a Yellow Watermelon the Same Way
Aside from the obvious color difference, the fruit of the yellow watermelon is sweeter than its red-fleshed counterpart, described as having notes of honey and apricot. Yellow watermelon fruit is now widely available and can be used in the same recipes as you would use a red watermelon, you may want to even mix red and yellow melons in a recipe for added visual appeal.
WATCH: Why Southerners Love To Salt Their Watermelon
Interested in growing your own yellow watermelons? Check out the seed selections available online. If you are anxious to try one right now, look for these varieties at your farmers’ market: Yellow Flesh Black Diamond Watermelon, Desert King, Yellow Crimson, Yellow Doll, Buttercup and Tastigold.
How do I know when a watermelon on the vine is ripe
This post is primarily for those who are wondering if their homegrown watermelon is ripe and ready to pick, but most of the same tips apply for those rooting through the produce bins at the supermarket or scouting out the farmers market. Watermelons are a little sneakier than muskmelons, which slip right off the vine (i.e. come loose on their own) when ripe. Uncut watermelons are also less fragrant than muskmelons, because they don’t have that open end where the vine was formerly attached. You will never find me sniffing watermelons in the grocery store, but you may find me sniffing cantaloupes. (I do my own stunts. )
4 Clues to Tell if Your Watermelon is Ripe
Back in my late teens and early 20’s, my jobs at the family catering business included picking out the watermelons and carving the watermelon boats for parties. I was known as the resident watermelon expert, almost guaranteed to be able to pick out the perfect melon, if there was a perfect melon to be found.
Ripe Melon Tip #1 – Make Sure Your Watermelon is at Full Growth
If you’re watching the patch, you can tell when a particular melon is large, well filled out, and hasn’t changed significantly in size for some time. For first time growers, you can check the expected size on the package and weigh them if you want, but the best way to tell is to observe the growth habits of the melon.
Ripe Melon Tip #2 – Check the Little Curling Tendril Located Where the Watermelon Stem Joins the Main Vine
Right where the stem to your melon joins the main vine, there should be a little curling tendril or curly cue of vine. If this little tendril is brown and dried, odds are your melon is as ripe as it’s going to get. If the tendril is still green and springy, the melon is still growing. Sometimes all your vines may start dying back before you’ve harvested, not just a tendril. Ready or not, this is as ripe as your watermelons are going to get. Unlike some fruits, watermelons do not ripen further once they are off the vine.
Ripe Melon Tip #3 – Look at the Under Side of the Melon
The under side of the watermelon where it hits the ground should be buttery to dark yellow. If it’s as pasty white as a bald guy’s head in the middle of a Wisconsin winter, it probably hasn’t reach peak ripeness. This is a good thing to look for on purchased melons, too. Different growing conditions and different types of melons will produce a range of colors (inside and out). Much of our summer was cool and dry, less than optimal melon weather. When rain finally came, it came as a deluge, which sent the slug population skyrocketing. When I flipped over our first ripe melon, I was frustrated to find slug damage underneath. Thankfully the rind was thick and the damage didn’t go all the way though. You can see this one only has a light yellow tint. Warmer weather usually yields a darker yellow bottom.
Ripe Melon Tip #4 – Listen to the Sound
This is a classic, and the internet is filled with descriptions of what the sound should be when you thump a watermelon. Most say “flat” or “dull”. I think that’s a poor description. For my part, “flat and dull” is the sound you get when you rap on something like a giant zucchini – or an underripe watermelon. A ripe melon should have a nice, deep sound, more like a drum or knocking on a door. I did a quick video (below). My Powershot D10 doesn’t quite do it justice, but you get the general idea.
Here’s the end result. Given our uncooperative gardening season, even with the landscape fabric and other tactics to create a warmer microclimate for the melons, they didn’t get as deep red out far to the rind as I would prefer, but the flavor was still very good and they were very juicy because of recent rains. You can tell the melon is mature by the dark seeds and the cavities around the seeds.
Quick Tip for Melon Storage – Don’t stick your uncut melons in the refrigerator!
Before our melons were ready, I picked one up at the grocery store that I really shouldn’t have bought. It was during our brief hot spell this summer, and the melons had obviously been stored too cold because they were chilled and sweating in the bins. Sure enough, I got it home and the flavor was bland and the texture was mushy. Melons like it warm! Room temperature storage also makes them more nutritious.