Spain’s melon season runs from May to October, making it a great summer snack, from a thirst quenching watermelon slice to a juicy sweet cantaloupe or the most popular melon grown in Spain, the Piel de Sapo.
But how do you choose the right one? The Local has all the tips straight from a Spanish abuela.
Always take from the top of the pile:
It’s common sense really, but the ones at the bottom have been there longer and are likely to be more bashed and bruised.
Give them a squeeze
You may think that all melons are hard to the touch and little can be told about the mysterious interior but a gentle squeeze will reveal if the fruit is soft. If it is, then discard as it is likely to be over ripe.
Look for cracks
If you find a fruit with the merest crack in the rind, discard it. Cracks provide a means for bacteria to enter the fruit, which could cause fermentation and rot.
Give it a tap
Holding the fruit up to your ear and listening to the sound it makes when you give it a tap may sound like crazy behaviour but a hollow sound reverberating within means the fruit is nice and ripe. If its sounds dense and solid then it isn’t yet ready to be eaten.
The Piel de Sapo (Toadskin melon) is the most popular melon grown in Spain. Photo: Depositphotos
Press the ends
In Spain they call this the ‘Rugby ball test’ – “prueba del balón de rugby’ and it involves gripping the melon within two hands and pushing it.
If there is a gentle give, then it’s just right. But too much give and it’s too late, the melon is past its best.
Look at the colour
Obviously it depends on the variety of melon you are choosing but as a general rule, overly shiny on the outside means it is under ripe, so too is an overly green tinge (on yellow mellon varieties).
Give it a sniff
Place your nose up against the peduncle – the word describing the spot where the fruit was attached to the plant – and give it a deep sniff.
It should smell mildly aromatic and fruity, like a good white wine, rather than pungent – which means it is already over ripe.
Watermelon is known as “sandía” in Spanish.
Buy a whole melon
Ideally buy a whole melon rather than a half or quarter wrapped in cling film. This is because once you slice open the fruit it quickly begins to deteriorate.