Watermelon is a fruit that is practically synonymous with summertime. And since that delicious, hot breeze is just starting to—slowly but surely—waft in, we thought that it would be important to let you in on some lesser-known tips to better ensure that your favorite warm weather staple is at its very best.

Even if you’re not crazy about the fruit, you have to admit that this variety of melon is very versatile. In fact, it serves as the main ingredient in some pretty fabulous adult beverages, and, believe it or not, the “superfruit” can even be pickled!

So, it’s all fun and games when prepping and eating watermelon—until you end up with a bad one. Watermelons that are plucked from the vine too soon tend to be very watery, anemic-looking, and lack crunch and sweetness. These lackluster guys can really put a damper on your fruit salad!

Luckily, there are some very simple steps that you can follow to help you pick out the juiciest, sweetest watermelons around!

  1. It’s all about that vine

    Unlike apples, avocados, and bananas, watermelons do not ripen off the vine, which makes the moment in which the melon is picked so crucial. You can make sure that you’re not being cheated by inspecting the “tail”, or vine, of the fruit. If it is shriveled up, then you are good to go; if it is green, then that means the melon was picked too early.

  2. Do the “sniff test”

    OK, so you might feel a bit self-conscious if you get caught with a watermelon to your nose in your local supermarket, but this trick really DOES work. Simply sniff the rind of the melon—if you pick up on a slight sweetness, then it is ready to eat!

  3. Consider the date

    Watermelon JelloWhat's Up Moms

    Though it’s not always common for supermarkets to slap a “sell-by date” on fruit, it may behoove you to know that watermelons do reach a spoiling point. When picked at peak ripeness, your melon should last you 3 to 4 weeks.

  4. Sweeten it up

    Now, let’s say that you forget about these helpful tricks and end up with a less than desirable watermelon sitting on your kitchen counter. If this happens to you, don’t think about trashing that fruit—simply sprinkle some salt on that bitter piece of watermelon, and eat away!

    Nonetheless, even if you follow our guidelines and end up with a perfect specimen, you may still want to try this food hack anyways. It sounds counterintuitive, but salt is actually known to amplify sweetness. Cool, huh?!

To learn about even more ways you can advance your watermelon-picking skills, be sure to check out Brightside’s article here. Get ready to delight in some super sweet watermelons this summer!

What do you think of these melon picking tips? Have you tried any of these out yourself? How do you ensure that your fruit is ripe? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!