Watermelon is a refreshing and healthy fruit that's perfect for the warmer months! But it can sometimes be difficult to finish a whole watermelon at once. The good news is, there are a few methods of extending the shelf life of this delicious fruit so that you can save it to enjoy later!
We will discuss how long fresh watermelon can be stored in the refrigerator before going bad so you can answer the question 'how long does watermelon last in the fridge'? Also included are the best storage methods that will keep your watermelon fresh as long as possible!
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How to determine if a watermelon is ripe
When selecting a watermelon at the supermarket or grocery store, it can be a bit difficult to tell a good watermelon that is ripe from a bad watermelon.
If you are planning on eating the watermelon in the next few days after purchasing it, you will want to try to get a ripe one for the best taste and texture. There are a few methods to determine which are ready to eat making for juicy watermelon, and which will need a bit more time!
Look for the field spot
The exterior appearance of a watermelon can help you determine how ripe it is. The field spot is the point where the watermelon was resting on the ground when it was growing. A yellow rind at the field spot is a good indication that the watermelon has had enough time to ripe. A less ripe melon will likely have a paler, white field spot.
Try a thump test
A thump test can also be a helpful method for determining if a watermelon is ready to eat! A ripe melon should make a hollow sound when you knock on the rind, with your fist. A less ripe melon will make a higher-pitched sound.
Check for a sweet scent
The best way to tell if a watermelon is ripe is by giving the watermelon rind a sniff. A ripe watermelon may have a sweet aroma, as the sweetness from inside permeates through. This is also a helpful method for determining if a melon has gone bad. If the watermelon has a sour scent, it is likely overripe and no longer safe to eat.
How to store watermelons?
The method that you choose to store your leftover watermelon will depend on how quickly you anticipate eating it.
If you are not planning on using it right away, it is a good idea to leave the entire watermelon, uncut, on the counter at room temperature.
If you are concerned that your watermelon will go bad too quickly on the counter, you can put the whole thing in the fridge. Once you have watermelon slices or smaller pieces of watermelon, the amount of time that the leftovers will last decreases significantly.
You will want to keep sliced, cubed or watermelon scooped using a melon baller in the refrigerator. Put the watermelon cubes, balls, or cut-up watermelon in a sealable container or resealable bag.
If you have a half of a whole watermelon to store, you can cover the cut side (the side with the exposed watermelon flesh) with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Watermelon can also be frozen if you will not be using it before it goes bad in the fridge. To freeze, cut your melon into small pieces, and store in an airtight container or freezer bags.
Freezing will cause the texture of watermelon to turn soft from water loss if you attempt to defrost it. So it is best to eat frozen watermelon straight from the freezer, while still frozen. Cut it into bite-sized pieces to use it in smoothies, or as ice cubes in beverages.
You can also store other melons, like honeydew and cantaloupe using these same methods!
What is the shelf life of watermelon?
When left whole, the shelf life of a watermelon left on the countertop is quite a while! You can typically store the whole fruit at room temperature for about 3 weeks before spoiling. To extend the watermelon's shelf life, try to find a cool, dark place to keep your melon so that it is not exposed to warm ambient temperatures. Do not leave sliced melon out for a prolonged period, as it can go bad quickly at room temperature.
Refrigerating is a great way to store watermelon if you need to keep it for a couple of extra days. A whole, unsliced watermelon will also last long in the fridge, about 3-4 weeks. The shelf life dramatically decreases once the watermelon is cut. Watermelon chunks should only be stored in the refrigerator and should be consumed within 3-5 days of cutting for the best quality and to avoid food poisoning. Actual storage time will also depend on how fresh the watermelon was when you refrigerated it.
Freezing is a great option if you have too much watermelon that you cannot finish up. When stored properly, watermelon should last in the freezer for about 3 months. Again, it is best to eat frozen watermelon while it is still frozen as the defrosting process can cause it to lose its water and become mushy.
How to tell if watermelon has gone bad?
Watermelon can be a refreshing and delicious snack or dessert when it is fresh. But you do not want to eat watermelon that has gone bad to avoid getting sick.
There are a few warning signs that will let you know that your watermelon may no longer be safe to eat. The easiest way to spot a bad watermelon is if you notice soggy dark spots on the rind or any signs of mold.
Fresh, uncut watermelon may have a slightly sweet scent, but when it has gone bad it may have a sour or tangy scent. Additionally, cut watermelon will often become dry and the texture will be gritty when it has gone bad. You may also find that it has a sour taste.
If you purchase pre-cut watermelon at the store, the package should have an expiration date. Do not consume past that date.
Recipes using watermelon
Found yourself with more watermelon than you can use at once? Luckily watermelon can be incorporated into many recipes, both sweet and savory!