Nothing says summer like a big red juicy slice of watermelon. I seem to have a high watermelon requirement and eat a lot of it during hot weather. It is refreshing, thirst quenching, and actually quite nutritious. If you'd like to fly your own tribute to this juicy wonder of summer, check out the many Flagsrus banners depicting this iconic fruit of the upcoming summer.
It’s hard to select a bad watermelon in the store, because they seem to have melon harvesting down to a science in watermelon country. Melons keep quite a while when they are uncut, and they survive their long truck ride up north well. Looking through the bin, I still look for the creamy yellow spot on the bottom of a melon. That pale patch is supposed to indicate maturity.
Next, I thump the melons, listening for that low, hollow sound. I also like to hold the melon while I thump it so I can feel the vibrations of the thump through the melon. A good ripe melon is not very smooth, but gets slightly bumpy as it ripens. I also look for slight blemishes or “bee stings” that are said to be indications of a good melon. The sure sign of a dead-ripe melon is when you cut into it and it pops open on its own. That melon is rarin’ to go!
For personal reasons, I have resisted the seedless melons. These incongruous creations were developed in the 1990s and are all some people have ever known. It just seems like a melon should have seeds. Here’s a question for you: What do they plant to get a seedless melon? Where does this seedless thing begin? (That’s like asking whether Adam and Eve had belly-buttons. Some things you are just better off accepting.)
The seedless melons are smaller (10-15 pounds) and more convenient to handle than the big old melons (20-40 pounds) of my youth. Part of a huge melon would likely go to waste in most households, I suppose, and they definitely take up space in a fridge. Once in a while you can find a large, seeded melon, but you have to do some hunting to find them. The very names of the old school melons makes me wistful: Charleston Grey, Georgia Rattlesnake, Black Diamond, Crimson Sweet….sigh.
So this summer, enjoy a slice of a good cold melon on a hot day. It’s one of life’s pleasures. And while you're relaxing with your cool treat, consider a melon flag or banner as a summer decoration to go with it.
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