Not EVER wanting to make that mistake again I researched how to tell when a melon is ripe. It turns out this is not an easily explained task, rather it is an art. Pumpkins I have found quite easy - the stem going woody and splitting has been a clear indicator every time. However from what I read about melons there are many possible signs:
- If a hollow sound is made when tapped with a closed fist then this could mean it’s ripe.
- Inspect the underside sitting on the ground looking for a changed from a white to a yellow.
- Put your nose to it, if it smells ripe it could well be.
- Has it reached the size typical with that variety?
- Has the stem gone woody or developed splits? Then this too could mean it’s ready.
- But not always.
A few weeks later, when I was allowed back into the family, I noticed a couple of European wasps buzzing around one of the melons. Inspecting it I noticed the melon’s skin at the rear had split, and was giving off a beautiful ripe fragrance, which was obviously what had attracted the wasps.
When I picked it up to inspect it, it just came away from its stalk. Clearly this Melon was ready, maybe too ready. Regardless it was picked now. From the above photo note how the stalk still looks in perfect condition - not woody nor split. Since them I have been giving each fruit a stem test, applying a small amount of sidewards pressure to the stem, in a hope that this is a reliable test. Otherwise I will just watch for the wasps.
The melon turned out to be perfect, and thanks to the wasps I have regained my status of number one dad.
Do you have any melon picking advice?