Picking a ripe melon

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Unlike most other fruits, a melon can't be judged just by its appearance. Here are four tips to help you choose a ripe melon: * PRESS IT - the flesh at the stem end should yield only slightly.

* SMELL IT - the fragrance at the stem end should be pleasant without being too strong.

* HOLD IT - the heavier the melon, the juicier the flesh.

* SHAKE IT - nothing should rattle; if you sense seeds or juices moving, the melon is overripe.

It's easier to judge the ripeness of a cut melon. Look for: * Flesh that smells fragrant.

* Flesh that is moist.

* Flesh that has a rich uniform color. Streaks of green near the rind mean that the melon isn't ripe enough; watery or translucent streaks indicate that it is overripe.

* Seeds that are intact. If the seeds have fallen off and clump together, the melon is probably too ripe.

Food and Wine August 1995

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 08-23-95

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