Friday, July 30, 2010

Are you a thumper?

I'm not talking about little critters from Bambi here, but watermelons. Do you thump yours to see if they're ripe? Earlier this month when my in-laws came to visit, I bought a small, seedless watermelon. I've never thumped them, mind you, and I've rarely ever gotten a bad melon. This one wasn't bad, but it just wasn't sweet. We ended up tossing it out. Well, my mother-in-law wouldn't let me hear the end of it -- "Did you thump it?" and "You have to thump it!" and "I always thump mine." As I said, I'm not a melon thumper, so I didn't know how to respond. Rick wasn't as reserved, since it's his mom, and told her she was crazy. Later I found out from Nichelle, who works at the market I bought the melon at, that others weren't sweet either. I don't know what to think and maybe the whole lot was just a bad batch.

The other day I was looking up chili peppers in a book we have on produce. I came across the melon section and it said thumping watermelons doesn't do any good. Now, you might be a thumper, and by no means am I trying to make anyone mad here. Maybe it works for you. However, this book said it wasn't an effective way to tell if a melon is ripe. It says the best way is to press on the bottom, or the opposite side that the stem grew on. There's usually a little round area. If the melon is ripe, pushing on that should give in just a tiny bit. It also says to smell it, but I've never been able to pick up on much that way. The skin is so thick and I don't have the nose of a bloodhound, so I don't know what I'm sniffing for. But anyway, since I didn't know if my mother-in-law knew what she was talking about (which she usually doesn't), I felt a little vindicated on being such an idiot for not thumping my watermelon like she always does. Of course, when I looked online, there are tons of articles written on watermelon thumping. Some go into detail about the thump duration, whether its deep or shallow, etc ...

A few nights ago Rick and I were at the market in the produce section. I saw a man wearing what looked like medical scrubs by the watermelons. He picked one up, placed it gently on his shoulder, and then proceeded to thump it a few times. He was very intent on listening and obviously took his watermelon thumping seriously. He finally picked two of them and went about his business. I honestly don't know. Maybe thumping works, but then again, maybe it doesn't. I stood there watching this guy, not knowing whether to laugh or take him seriously. In the process of me standing there like a goon, I bumped into a coconut and it dropped onto the floor, splashing coconut milk on my toes. Serves me right, I guess. I think I'll try the pushing method next time, but who is to say that's effective. As I said, I've bought hundreds of melons in my life and very rarely had a bad one. Some have been better than others, obviously, but I don't know if any amount of thumping, pushing, or sniffing really matters. For all I know, that last watermelon I bought could have been unsweetend from a hundred people thumping the hell out of it!

What do you think?


  1. I don't thump my watermelons but I do toss cantelope. I don't know why, it just makes me feel good.

    Personal watermelons aren't generally as sweet as the old fashioned huge kind we used to see when we were kids. I've never had any luck with the smaller variety. Lucky my daughter loves it, so I buy the monster kind.

    I generally test my watermelons by looking at the white spot where the watermelon has lain on the ground. The whiter is is, the longer it was left on the vine, the sweeter it is. Or is my reasoning. If it's light green I leave it alone.

  2. I've never thumped a watermelon. Never. I mean, how's that supposed to tell you how sweet it is? On how dense it sounds? Bah.

    I do have some watermelon advice, though. If any of the stores you shop at sell Dulcinea PureHeart mini-seedless watermelons, do yourself a favour and put one in your cart. They are the best kind of watermelon I've ever tasted.

  3. ^ Whoops. Forgot to mention, that's me. *sheepish*


  4. This is funny! I wrote a post about watermelons a while ago, and I've always been a thumper, and white spotter, and I look for bee stings...

    Most of which means I'm crazy...

    I think the thumping indicates how juicy it is. The more solid the thump, the more liquid within.

    And I for one, think the good, old fashioned, black-seeded, farmer's market melons are the way to go!

    Check In To The ROUS Motel!

  5. I don't thump either. Darren has always pressed lightly on the stem of a canteloup. If it has a little give, and he can smell a bit of the canteloup smell, he gets it. He is very rarely wrong on those! I also agree about the regular black seed watermelon being the sweetest!