Watermelon contains approximately 92% water, while the remaining 8% is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, lycopene, and amino acids, making it an excellent food.
Unfortunately, it won’t last forever, and you should determine does watermelon go bad and how long does watermelon last before deciding to eat it. Let’s see.
Does Watermelon Go Bad?
Like most other foods, watermelon can quickly spoil. Pre-cut watermelon packages always had an expiration date on the label, and you should take it seriously. The problem is that spoiled watermelon may look and smell regular, but its sour taste discovers that it is no longer edible.
Keep in mind that this fruit will retain its quality better if you keep it whole and cut it right before eating. The rule is that you keep it at lower temperatures if you plan to store it longer.
How Long Does Watermelon Last?
Like any other fruits, watermelon won’t last too long, and you can keep the whole fruit at room temperature for about a week or up to 10 days, in some cases, without any fear. If you put it in the fridge, it can probably last three weeks.
Unfortunately, once you cut your watermelon, you need to eat it within a day or keep it in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, depending on its initial freshness, the moment of harvesting, the way it was stored before purchase, and additional handling. The only option to store watermelon for a long period is to freeze it.
How Long Does Watermelon Last (Chart)
|7 to 10 days||3 weeks|
|Cut||One day||4 to 5 days|
10 to 12 months
Always properly wrap the leftovers and store them in the fridge once you cut the watermelon into slices. Store smaller pieces in a resealable bag or airtight container or wrap the fruit tightly with plastic or aluminum wrap. That way, you can enjoy your delicacy for more than a day.
If you decide to buy tightly wrapped quarters in the supermarket, they will be covered with plastic wrap. If you can’t eat the whole piece at once, you should store the fruit the same way. Cut as much as you need and rewrap the rest before placing it in the fridge or freezer.
4 Tips to Tell if Watermelon Has Gone Bad
Always follow the watermelon shelf life strictly to avoid unpleasant surprises. It is especially vital when you buy pre-cut fruit.
Presence of nitrates
One of the excellent methods to know if your watermelon is fresh and has ripened naturally is to check the presence of nitrates. Avoid watermelons with yellow rind and flesh that contains white stripes.
The proven method is to mash a piece of pulp and add it to a glass of water. If you have a healthy fruit, water will become turbid. However, watermelon with a too high percentage of nitrates will color the water red. It is better to avoid it.
- Color – The watermelon has a consistent pine green shade with or without stripes, depending on the type. Any deviation from the typical color should be suspicious to you.
- Mold – Any dark-colored spots or white, fuzzy, green, or black mold on the watermelon rind indicate that your fruit has gone bad.
- Texture – The shriveled, gritty, dry, mushy, or slimy fruit flesh is the clear sign that you have a spoiled watermelon.
- Color – Deep pink or clear red indicates the fruit is healthy. Never eat it if the color is yellow, orange, or black to prevent food poisoning. Remember that some varieties like Tendergold, Yellow Doll, Desert King, and Yellow Baby have yellow or orange flesh naturally.
- Smell – Bad odor or vinegar-like smell is a sign the watermelon has turned sour.
- Taste – Sour instead of a fresh, sweet, and juicy flavor will show you that watermelon is spoiled, so you shouldn’t eat it.
- Hollow center – It signifies that watermelon is overripe or contains growth hormones, which may cause poisoning.
6 Tips to Store Watermelon
As I have already mentioned, the best solution to store watermelon is to keep it whole and cut it right before eating. However, you can also store it in a few convenient ways for a while. Let’s see your options.
Since sliced watermelon is edible only a day when stored at room temperature, keeping the pieces in the fridge for a few days is a better option. Be prepared that refrigerating will change the flesh composition and decrease the nutritional benefits of this fruit.
Check for spoilage signs, wash the skin to prevent dirt from soiling the flesh, and make clean slices to reduce deterioration. Then, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap before placing fruit in the fridge.
If you prefer keeping rind-less watermelon slices, you can de-seed and put these pieces in:
- Resealable bag
- Seal-able container
- Airtight container
That way, you will preserve fruits’ flavor and freshness.
Freezing watermelon will prolong its shelf life, so you can use small cubes to make a smoothie and fresh beverage even off the season. You can also make ice cubes of blended watermelon and keep it in the cube tray or fill a popsicle mold. One option is to combine watermelon with spices, other fruits, and vegetables to make delicious treats.
Drying watermelon is an effective method to preserve it since a low water percentage prolongs its shelf life and prevents rotting. Use a dehydrator to dry watermelon since it is the best way to regulate the temperature and air circulation during the process.
Before drying, you need to peel the rind and slice the fruit into thin slices. The procedure will last about 24 hours. If you store pieces appropriately, you can use them as a spicy afternoon snack or make candies for your children.
Pickled watermelon is highly popular in Russia for a reason. You can pickle the entire fruit, rind, or flesh in a hot pickling solution, depending on your preferences and taste. Most recipes include ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, spices, and sugar.
Make slices or cubes and arrange them into mason jars. Boil ingredients and pour the hot liquid over the watermelon. Seal the jars, let them cool down at room temperature, and store them in the pantry.
Candied watermelon rinds
Cut cubed rinds and immerse them into a sugar syrup. Simmer them until reducing the mixture to a thick, jam-like consistency. Add cinnamon to enhance the flavor and let the mix cool down.
Making watermelon jelly is not a complicated process at all. Simmer the fruit juice until getting a thick, clear mass. Don’t forget to add sweetener and pectin according to the recipe.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Watermelon
Consuming spoiled watermelon can quickly lead to food poisoning. The first signs that something is wrong will appear within a few hours and include:
- Fatigue and headache
- Nausea and vomiting
In some severe cases, the patient experiences a higher temperature, joint aches, and cramps. An additional issue is food poisoning caused by Listeria that may grow on the watermelon rind and infect the flesh after cutting.
You should also be careful if you have diabetes since this fruit contains a high natural sugar level. Watermelon may cause an allergic reaction in rare cases, followed by difficulty breathing and swelling after consumption.
Plus, the role of lycopene it contains and the way it affects human health is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, it would help if you avoided watermelon with yellow fiber pulp and the glossy, polished-like pulp that smells sour.
Can You Freeze Watermelon?
Since watermelon contains a high percentage of water, freezing is not the best choice for its storing. In fact, it is not the freezing process that is problematic but the appearance of the fruit after thawing. Once you thaw it, you will get a mushy red part without the desired color and taste.
However, you can use frozen watermelon to make fruit infused water and smoothies. You should mash and blend it to get a smoothie so that any texture change won’t be a problem. When you decide to make a refreshing summer drink, you can use watermelon cubes in the water instead of regular ice cubes.
- Watermelon cubes – To get them, you need to remove the seeds, cut the flesh into small cubes, and place them on a tray until freezing them. Then, pack cubes into a freezer bag and use them when needed.
- Fruit-infused water – Prepare watermelon in fruit-infused water, freeze the pieces in ice cube trays, and use them whenever needed.
Thaw the watermelon cubes by leaving them in the fridge overnight. If you have a smoothie blender that can grind ice, you can freely use frozen cubes to get a delicious and refreshing beverage.
Watermelon can quickly go bad, but it is not too complicated to notice the signs of spoilage. Always check the exterior appearance and watermelon flesh before purchasing it. Then, take care to store fruit appropriately to extend its life.