Can Watermelon Go Bad?

The quintessential summer fruit, watermelon, is, surprisingly, a vegetable! But it is served and eaten as a fruit. Everything from the rind to the seeds is edible too! Watermelon is not only delicious, it is good for you too. This fruit is high in vitamin A and C. Both nutrients act as antioxidants, protecting the body from free radical damage. Watermelon is also a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer. Since watermelon has zero fat and low sugar, it is the perfect fruit for dieters.

Although watermelon has a limited shelf life, you can extend its storage life by buying a half-ripened watermelon. You can leave the fruit to fully ripen once in storage.

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Can Watermelon Go Bad?

Just like any type of fresh fruit, watermelon will go bad at some point. When unripe, you can keep watermelon for a week or so. But once it ripens, it can quickly go bad unless it is eaten right away.

Watermelons are abundant during the summer season and if you have more than you can handle, you have to learn how to store the fruit properly. Fresh watermelon has a limited storage life. Knowing what to do with watermelon helps extend its shelf life.

As far as its storage life goes, the fruit’s shelf life will depend on the freshness of the fruit and the storage conditions. If the watermelon has been picked at the peak of ripeness, its shelf life is shorter. More so if the watermelon has been stored improperly. If the fruit has been picked just as it is about to ripen, the shelf life is longer. The ripening process continues even if the product has been harvested.

Signs that Watermelon has Gone Bad

Since watermelon has a thick rind, it’s hard to see if it has gone bad at a glance. You have to cut the fruit. If say, the flesh of the fruit looks dark and mushy, it is no longer safe to eat. If the fruit is emitting an off aroma or if there is a presence of mold growth, toss the fruit in the trash. If the rind of the watermelon has developed dark spots, there could be mold growth. If the flesh looks dry or discolored, it is no longer safe to eat.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rameez Sadikot

How to Store Watermelon?

The best way to store watermelon depends on the ripeness of the product. For watermelon that’s just about to ripen, you can store it in the pantry. For fully ripe watermelon that you cannot finish, you can refrigerate the fruit. For fully ripened watermelon that you’d like to store for long-term, better freeze it.

To store the product in the pantry, no additional prep is needed. Just remove the original packaging, if there’s any, and place the watermelon on the counter. Keep it away from moisture and heat sources. It should ripen gradually.

For fully ripened watermelon, you can either store the uncut product in the fridge (if you have the space for it) or cut it into smaller pieces first. With a large kitchen knife, cut the watermelon in half then in quarters.

From here, you can either store the large slices or cut it the fruit into even smaller pieces, which we highly suggest you do to save space. Place the cut pieces in an airtight rigid plastic container. Seal with the lid, write the storage date and store at the coldest corner of the fridge. If you’d like to store halved watermelons in the freezer, cover the cut fruit in clingwrap. The cling wrap will prevent the watermelon from drying out.

When kept at room temperature, the whole watermelon will keep for 5 to 7 days. When cut, it will only keep at room temperature for a day. Cut watermelon will last for 5 to 7 weeks in the refrigerator. An uncut watermelon will keep for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. When frozen, watermelon will keep for 12 months or so.

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Can You Freeze Watermelon?

Yes, you can freeze watermelon for later. Just follow the same prep outlined above and then stick the container in the freezer. Do note that freezing the product is not an ideal storage method because the freezing temperature may alter the texture of the product. However, it is better to freeze the watermelon than waste the leftovers.

Summary

Can watermelon go bad? Yes it can go bad just like all fresh fruits. But keep these storage tips in mind and the shelf life of the fruit will be extended!

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