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How to Store Watermelon

Here's a detailed guide on how to store watermelon so you can enjoy this refreshing fruit for longer. Storing it would be tricky but here are some tips in storing both cut and uncut watermelon.

Slices of watermelon in a round container filled with ice cubes.

Watermelon is a summer favorite in many households. This sweet and juicy fruit is healthy and tasty, but it is also very large. One of the problems with watermelon is that it can be challenging to store it ad keep it fresh and good for as long as possible, especially due to its size.

Uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for up to two weeks when ripe. Do not store uncut watermelon in the fridge. Store cut watermelon in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in cling-film or freeze it for long-term storage of up to six months.

Storing watermelon while keeping it good to eat is a little more tricky than other fruits. Let’s go over some of the best methods for keeping this large fruit good and ready to enjoy for as long as possible.

How To Store Uncut Watermelon

Uncut watermelon in a basket.

Uncut watermelon is large and can be a difficult fruit to store correctly.

The good news is that watermelon has its own self-protecting barrier in the form of a thick, waterproof, airtight rind.

The watermelon rind is the best casing possible for keeping the fruit fresh and ready to eat. This means that the best way to store uncut watermelon is to leave it alone and keep it in a room-temperature environment without exposure to direct sunlight.

A cool darker room such as a pantry offers the best storage conditions for a whole uncut watermelon.

If the watermelon is exposed to direct sunlight, this will dry out the watermelon rind and cause it to deteriorate very quickly. When the rind deteriorates in this way, it will become thin and expose the inner watermelon flesh to air and sunlight.

This will, in turn, cause the fruit to go bad very quickly, leaving it completely inedible.

It is not a good idea to store uncut watermelon in the fridge or in an environment that will get too cold. Surprisingly, a cold environment will decrease the lifespan of an uncut watermelon.

A large whole watermelon will take up a lot of space in the refrigerator anyway, so leaving the fruit alone in a room-temperature environment somewhere else is best.

Another important tip is to be sure that the watermelon is ripe before cutting it open. The watermelon should be even in color, and it should feel heavy due to the watery juice that has built up inside the fruit.

A whole watermelon can be stored in this way for up to two weeks if ripe and even longer if unripe. This is the best method for storing an uncut watermelon.

How To Store Cut Watermelon

Storing cut watermelon is an even bigger challenge than storing a whole, uncut watermelon.

Everyone who eats watermelon has found themselves in the situation – after cutting the watermelon open, you realize that there is too much to be eaten in one sitting, so you stop cutting the watermelon leaving you with an open watermelon half, or you cut up the entire fruit, and there is a lot leftover.

This can be incredibly frustrating, and not everyone knows the correct methods for storing a watermelon in this state.

Let us look at a few of the best options for storing a cut watermelon to keep it good to eat for as long as possible.

Refrigerate The Cut Watermelon

Sliced watermelons stored inside the fridge.

Refrigerating the cut watermelon may seem like the obvious thing, but based on the previous storage method for uncut watermelon, it may also seem counterintuitive.

The truth is, uncut watermelon is best stored at room temperature, but once you open the fruit, it must be kept refrigerated to ensure the maximum longevity of the fruit.

The watermelon must be kept within the refrigerator at a low temperature and sealed as best as possible from the air. 

This is because the fruit will begin to seep its moisture once it has been opened. The cool temperatures slow down this process, and keeping the fruit in a sealed container is the best way to prevent watermelon from drying out when the juice leaves the fruit.

If the watermelon is cut into small chunks, keep it in a sealed zip-lock bag or in an airtight Tupperware. This will help keep the watermelon good to eat for as long as possible.

If the watermelon is cut open, but it is still half within the rind, it is best to tightly wrap cling-film around the open end of the fruit. Be sure that the film is wrapped as tightly as possible and seals the fruit from the air as well as possible.

This method will keep the watermelon good to eat for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Freeze The Cut Watermelon

Close-up of frozen watermelon with seeds.

The best way to keep cut watermelon good to eat for the longest period of time is to freeze the fruit.

This process is very simple and will keep the watermelon good to eat for up to six months in the freezer.

Simply cut the fruit into small chunks, and be sure to remove the rind. The rind does not freeze well.

Once the rind is removed, and the fruit is cut into small chunks, place the chunks of watermelon onto a baking tray as even spaced out as possible. Place the baking tray into the freezer and allow the fruit to freeze entirely.

Once the fruit is entirely frozen, place it into an airtight container or a freezer bag and place it in the freezer for storage.

The watermelon can then be eaten directly from frozen, or it can be incorporated into smoothies or yogurt for a tasty cold treat.

Conclusion

Watermelon is notorious for its short lifespan. It is very tricky to store well, and it does not last for a long time at all if not stored correctly.

Uncut watermelon should be left alone in a room-temperature environment. This will keep the fruit good to eat for up to two weeks when ripe.

Refrigerate opened watermelon to keep it good for a few days without it going bad, and freeze cut watermelon pieces to keep them fresh for up to six months.

Unfortunately, this is the longest possible storage time of watermelon without taking other drastic measures such as freeze-drying, but these processes are complicated and expensive.

The best option is to eat the watermelon as soon as possible after cutting it, as this is when it is in its prime!

References:

Glad:  How to Store Watermelon

The Kitchn: The Best Way to Store Cut Watermelon

The Kitchn: Recipe: 2-Ingredient Watermelon Sherbet

Watch US Grow: WATERMELON 101: PICKING IT, STORING IT AND EATING IT

Tips Bulletin: How to Preserve Watermelon