What Is The Sweetest Variety Of Watermelon?

When it comes to watermelons, it's all about the summertime sweetness. From farmers markets to grocery stores, one of the best ways to enjoy summer is to thump (or tap or pat or drum) on a melon, decide it's ripe, and take it home to enjoy with friends and family. Savvy watermelon purchasers may even inspect the tail of prospective melons, looking for the dried-up brown stem that indicates the melon was left on the vine long enough to ripen properly and develop the natural sugars that watermelon lovers crave.

The Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center says that the sugar content of watermelons and other foods is indicated by their Brix value; although other flavors can overpower sweetness in some foods, for watermelon, the higher the Brix value, the sweeter it is. Watermelon producers can use a device called a refractometer or a Brix meter to determine when it's time to harvest their crops. What Brix level are watermelon growers aiming for? According to Washington State University's Vegetable Research and Extension, anything over 8.3 Brix is considered sweet while anything over 9.0 Brix is considered very sweet, but different watermelon varieties are definitely sweeter than others.

Sweetest by size

The sweetest watermelons have the highest Brix value, and Washington State University (WSU) tested lots of melons in a variety of sizes to find the very sweetest. Gardening Channel explains the size categories of watermelon varieties based on weight: The smallest varieties are called mini or personal watermelons, and they typically weigh around five pounds. Slightly larger are the icebox varieties, which weigh around ten pounds. And the monsters that weigh 10-15 pounds are called picnic varieties. 

WSU found that the personal watermelon with the highest Brix value is the Pony Yellow, a lovely yellow-fleshed melon that scores a sugary 12.3 Brix. The icebox category tops out with another yellow-fleshed melon called Super Gold, which achieves a 12.8 Brix. And the picnic melon category shows the sweetest with two red-fleshed melons, the Sultan and Summer Sweet varieties that come in at 12.3 and 12.4 Brix respectively. Picking up one of the sweetest picnic varieties of watermelon means there will be plenty of super sweet fruit to go around, maybe even enough to whip up some refreshing watermelon lemonade.