Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cooler Weather Brings Out The Florida Blogger

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again; It's hot in Florida in the summer! I haven't been in the mood to work in the garden, write about the garden, or even look at the garden for a while. A recent and dramatic change to cooler weather has revived both me and my garden. Flowers are blooming and bees are buzzing again. At last!

Determining the ripeness of a watermelon is the subject of this, my first post of a new season.  I have several varieties of watermelon vines growing in my Earthbox. One of the varieties, Cream of Saskatchewan, has been sitting on the vine for a while, and I decided to review my standard ripeness tests. As you may know, it is often difficult to decide when to pick a watermelon. In the past I have researched and uncovered the following tests: the calendar test, the shriveled tendril test, the fingernail test, the thumping sound test, and a personal discovery for me today, the exploding watermelon test.

To use the calendar test you simply add the days to maturity of your watermelon variety to the date you planted it. I'm usually unable to use the calendar test because I'm just not organized enough to keep track of when I first planted the seeds. I'll skip that one.

The shriveled tendril test says that your watermelon is ripe when the tendril closest to the fruit turns brown and shrivels. The trouble with this test is that it's not always reliable. Sometimes  my tendril has shriveled while the fruit is still growing. The tendril on this particular fruit shriveled several weeks ago, but I didn't want to pick it too soon.

The fingernail test says that the rind of the melon should toughen and resist slightly when you push into it. My watermelon failed this test. My fingernail went right into the rind.

The most mystical test is the thump test. The thump test states that if you slap the fruit on a watermelon, a ripe fruit should sound different than an unripe one. I understand it has something to do with the water sound inside the rind. I call it mystical because I've never been sure exactly what it's supposed to sound like. I dutifully thumped my melon, but did it really sound just right or not? This leads me  to my new indisputable test, the exploding watermelon test.

As I was thumping away at my watermelon I noticed something didn't sound exactly right. I thumped again and the fruit exploded in my hand! The whole thing cracked in the center 3/4 of the way around the melon. I guess it was ripe after all.

Cream of Saskatchewan is a small white fleshed variety. I thought it had a mildly sweet taste with none of the acidity of a normal watermelon. In the background I did taste an actual creamy taste. Maybe it's my imagination, but I don't think so. The rind is very thin and nearly the whole inside of the melon is edible. As you can see, it was tasty enough for me to eat it into the shape of a bowl with my spoon. I still have a few more left to enjoy as well.