I’ve heard a lot of watermelon myths in my time as the Watermelon Guy, but this one takes the cake. The video above, posted by Stacy Lyn Harris, owner and author of the blog Game & Garden, claims that you can test a watermelon’s ripeness or sweetness using a piece of straw from a common household broom.
Stacy’s method is new to me (check out my blog entry to learn about more traditional ripeness-testing methods), and one that I’m dying to test. According to her article, this method of checking a watermelon’s ripeness dates back as early as 1945, where a picker places “a broom straw horizontally across a watermelon. If the melon is ripe, the straw will turn to a 45-degree angle; if it is green, it will not move.” Apparently, as the watermelon ripens, it becomes more magnetic, and the broom straw acts like a compass needle.
So, does this method really work? I tested it for myself on three different watermelon, including one chosen because it looked less ripe than the others. When placed on the riper watermelon, the straw really did move a little (through not much). When placed on the less ripe watermelon, the straw didn’t move at all.
Is that concrete proof that this method really works? I’m not convinced, but if you want to take a piece of broom straw with you during your next trip to the grocery store, I wouldn’t fault you one bit!
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