Is there any hope for unripe watermelon? Unfortunately, it won’t ripen any more once it’s picked, but you can use unripe melon in a few ways to mask its bland flavor and save it from going straight to the compost.
How to Make Bad Watermelon Better
According to Chowhound Pipenta, if you cut into a watermelon only to find that it lacks sweetness and flavor, the surprising solution is gin!
Simply splash the cubed fruit with gin, then cover it and refrigerate for a few hours. “When you come back to try it, the flavor will have transformed, it won’t taste like gin, just like amazing melon,” Pipenta says, adding that this trick also works with other kinds of melon.
Yueshico Watermelon Slicer, $12.77 from Amazon
This tool makes cutting watermelon cubes quick and easy.
Our Drunken Watermelon Pops (pictured above) soak the melon in vodka, raspberry liqueur, and vanilla bean; it’s ideal with a truly sweet melon, but that combo will still make unripe melon pretty delicious too.
You can also blend it into watermelon drinks, including non-alcoholic agua fresca.
But try cooking with it too; grilling watermelon intensifies the sweetness and adds a smoky flavor. And using grilled or raw watermelon in salads with strong flavors like salty cheese, olives, or tangy vinaigrette, will add a ton of flavor to help disguise any it may be lacking on its own.
How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon
Of course, it’s far better not to bring home an inferior specimen in the first place, so check out our tips on how to pick the best watermelon at the store. (Chowhounds have tips on picking ripe watermelon too.) Naturally, anything you make with a sub-par melon will be way better with one at its peak.