The heat of a South Carolina summer is perfect for the watermelons that are thriving in my garden right now. I know when the heat of the day pushes me inside I can always count of the cool and refreshing taste of a homegrown watermelon to cool me down.
For years, I struggled with picking them too early or too late. I could never find the right signs to know if they were at their peak and picked many too soon. After growing them for a few years now, I can spot when they are just right to pick. Watermelons do not continue to ripen once they are picked so I quickly learned how to read a watermelon.
For homegrown watermelons, I look for these three signs on how to pick the perfect watermelon:
- Tap lightly on the side of the melon and listen for a dull thump.
- Pick the melon up and look at the underside, it should be turning yellow if it is ripe.
- Look closely at the dying or shriveling stem near the base of the melon. If it is ripe, the stem will be brown and dead. (see photo below)
We often get chased inside from the burning heat of our South Carolina summers by early afternoon. On those days, nothing tastes as good as this fresh Watermelon Salsa on corn chips with a big glass of iced tea. Yum!
- 3 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped onion
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
- Combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate a minimum of one hour. Serve with corn chips.
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