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Why Do People Thump Watermelons?

Watermelons sit in a pile at a grocery store.

Perhaps nothing screams summer more than a watermelon, but if you’ve ever seen someone shopping for one, you might have one main question: what’s with the thumping?

When some people shop for melons, they pick them up, hold them near their ear, and then thump them with a finger. It’s an odd, but common sight, but does it have a purpose?

Well, as it turns out, watermelon thumping is actually a good way to find the ripest one. After you thump the rind, if you hear a muffled, hollow noise, that melon is ripe and ready to eat. If, however, you hear more of a ping, that melon needs more time.

Of course, these sounds aren’t the only thing you should pay attention to when it comes to choosing a watermelon. You’ll also want to check the color on the side or bottom where it was laying on the ground. If it’s ripe, it’ll have a cream, gold, or orange tint. You can also smell the stem end, which should have a subtle sweet scent.

But if you plan to feast on watermelon this summer, don’t forget to thump!

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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