Summer means picnics with friends, barbecues with families, and long days spent outdoors. Watermelon is a favorite summer fruit choice because it is refreshing and delicious. They are up to 95 percent water by weight, making them particularly popular during the hot summer months when it is essential to stay hydrated. Watermelons are available year-round, but they are at their best during summer.
Watermelons are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making them even more popular. Watermelon is often served in fruit salads, blended into smoothies, or simply eaten on its own. Given the nature of the fruit, it can be a little intimidating to select a delicious watermelon at the grocery store and store it. This blog post explores all the possible ways to store watermelon to elongate its shelf life and will serve as your go-to watermelon guide this season. So read on!
Watermelon tastes best when it is in season and is ripe and fresh. But many people find it hard to select the correct watermelons at the grocery store. So here are a few tips that will help you make this process easier.
Watermelons that are available in the market are usually still a little underripe. The reason is that they continue to ripen even after being plucked from the vine. Because of this, you can still store the watermelon on your counter for a few days to continue to let it ripen. If your watermelon is already ripe and you don’t plan on using it immediately, a better idea would be to preserve it in the refrigerator or even the freezer. Now that you know how to buy the correct watermelon, let’s take a look at how to best store it.
Watermelons have a respectable shelf life compared to some of the other fruits. They can last for three to four weeks after being plucked from the vine. If you plan on using the watermelon within a couple of days of purchasing it, you can go ahead and store it on your countertop.
Storing the watermelon at room temperature or just below room temperature is perfect if you are still waiting for it to ripen a little. Watermelons can last for up to a week when stored on your countertop. Store the watermelon in a relatively cool corner of your kitchen away from direct sunlight.
If you have cut watermelon pieces, they must be consumed within the same day or stored in the refrigerator.
If your watermelon is already ripe and there is still some time before you can get around using it, your best option to store it is in the refrigerator. Storing the watermelon in the fridge will help slow down its ripening process. Just pop the whole watermelon in the fridge, and you can keep it for up to three weeks.
Once cut, the shelf life of watermelons drops drastically. If you have cut your watermelon in half and are only planning on using one half of it, wrap the other cut half tightly in some plastic wrap and then store it in the refrigerator. Covering the watermelon will help limit its exposure to the cold air directly and stop it from picking up the different scents and flavors from the other things you have stored in the refrigerator.
If you have smaller pieces of cut watermelon that you want to store, the safest option is to store them in air-tight containers or freezer bags. Cut watermelon will last in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days, after which it will start to lose its flavor and texture.
If you want to store watermelons for long-term storage so that you can enjoy them even in the non-summer months, the best bet is to preserve them in the freezer. And since watermelons are 95 percent water, there is no doubt that they will freeze well.
If you plan to freeze your watermelons, it is essential to note that watermelons have to be cut before freezing as this makes it easier to freeze them and also makes it easier to use them. Another point to note about frozen watermelons is that they have to be used in their frozen form itself.
Once thawed, they lose their texture and are not as appealing. So if you are looking for the same taste from the frozen watermelons as you would get from fresh watermelons, you will be disappointed. Frozen watermelons taste great in smoothies, fruit salads, and garnish drinks. However, if you do want to thaw your frozen watermelons, simply move them from the freezer to the refrigerator and let them sit overnight.
There are a variety of ways that you can freeze your watermelons, and we have a blog post that will guide you through all of them. The frozen watermelon properly stored will last in your freezer for 6 – 9 months easily.
Always rely on your instincts to guide you the right way when debating whether it is safe to consume something. As always, you can rely on three of your primary senses to help you identify whether your watermelons are going bad.
It can be a little difficult to identify whether your whole watermelons are going bad by simply looking at them. If there are any white spots on them or they have broken skin, it probably means that the watermelon has spoiled, and it is time to discard them. You can still cut into the watermelon to check the condition of the flesh inside before you make the call to toss it. A vibrant pink or red signifies that the fruit is still healthy. If you notice that the flesh is dry or moldy in appearance, don’t eat it.
If your watermelon feels mushy or extra soft, it is most likely overripe and on the verge of spoiling. You can cut into the watermelon to check the state of the flesh inside. If the flesh has darkened and has lost most of its water content, you will not enjoy the taste of the watermelon, and it might be better to discard it. If you have cut watermelon stored and feel slimy, they have spoiled, and it is time to toss them.
Give your watermelon a good sniff before you bite into it. If there is a sour vinegar-like smell instead of a fresh sweet fragrance, your watermelon has spoiled and needs to be discarded.
Watermelons are one of the most popular summer fruits we crave long after summer. It can be tempting to store them in the refrigerator and pull them out when the craving hits. As long as you store them safely and are always cautious when you are consuming the watermelons, you can go ahead and try out different preserving techniques. This summer, use this guide to enjoy your watermelons to the fullest this season!
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