Is This Melon Ripe?

A few weeks ago, Prevention Magazine‘s editor-in-chief, Liz Vaccariello, invited me on her show, “In the Kitchen With Liz” to answer the question how to choose a ripe melon at the supermarket.

For honey dew and cantaloupe melons, it’s a three-step test: Sniff, Shake & Squeeze. Let me explain.

Give them a quick sniff.

Especially for honey dew melons, you want to give them a quick sniff. They should smell like fragrant flowers, that’s how you know they’re ripe. If they don’t smell, you can still buy them and let them sit out on your counter for a few days until they are just right.

Give them a shake.

When you shake a honey dew or cantaloupe melon, pay attention if the seeds are loose – if they are, then the melon is ripe.

Give them a squeeze.

When you squeeze a melon on the side, it shouldn’t be hard as a rock – it should give a little. Now, obviously you don’t want a spoiled melon, so it shouldn’t be too “squeezable” either!

How do you test water melons? One thing you can do is give it a quick knock. If it sounds like a dull thud, then it’s probably nice, juicy and ripe. For more specific tips, watch the Prevention video…


  1. Barbara S Terrelonge says:

    Will a cantaloupe ripen if green when bought and if so how long should it take?

  2. bill thorsen says:

    what do i do once, i cut in half, a melon that is hard and not ripe?
    how can i ripen it? thanks.

  3. Ripe honeydews will have a surface that resists a finger moving across its surface – if it is slick it is not ripe if there is friction it is close to ripe…

  4. What if the skin of the cantaloupe has red spots?

  5. Jeremy Stone says:

    Smelling it can be more effective if you do it on the part where the vine was attached and the more fragrant the smell is, the tastier your melon will be!

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