Watermelon is a popular summer fruit that is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients and hydration. Knowing how long watermelon lasts can help you plan your meals and prevent food waste. The shelf life of watermelon depends on several factors, including its form and storage conditions.
How Long Does Watermelon Last on Average?
Whole watermelon can last up to a month
When stored properly, a whole watermelon can last up to a month. The key to extending the shelf life of a watermelon is to keep it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. This will help prevent the fruit from ripening too quickly and becoming overripe.
Sliced watermelon can last about a week
Once a watermelon has been sliced, its shelf life decreases significantly. Sliced watermelon can last about a week when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It’s important to keep the container sealed to prevent the watermelon from absorbing odors from other foods and to keep it from drying out.
Choosing a good watermelon is important for longevity
The longevity of a watermelon depends on its quality when purchased. Choosing a good watermelon is essential for ensuring that it will last as long as possible. Look for watermelons that are heavy for their size, have a uniform shape, and have a firm, smooth rind.
Look for symmetrical shape, firm texture, and yellow or brown spot
When selecting a watermelon, look for one with a symmetrical shape, a firm texture, and a yellow or brown spot on the bottom. The spot indicates that the watermelon has been sitting on the ground and ripening in the sun, which is a good sign of a ripe and flavorful fruit.
How Long Does Watermelon Last When It’s Whole?
Watermelons straight off the vine can last 3-4 weeks
Watermelons that are freshly picked from the vine can last for 3-4 weeks when stored properly. This is because the fruit is still fresh and has not been exposed to the elements or temperature fluctuations that can cause it to spoil more quickly.
Whole watermelons should not be stored in the fridge
Storing a whole watermelon in the refrigerator can actually shorten its shelf life. The cold temperature can cause the fruit’s cells to break down, leading to a mealy texture and a loss of flavor. Instead, store whole watermelons in a cool, dark part of your kitchen or pantry.
Store in a cool, dark part of the kitchen
To extend the shelf life of a whole watermelon, store it in a cool, dark part of your kitchen or pantry. This will help prevent the fruit from ripening too quickly and becoming overripe. Keep the watermelon away from direct sunlight and heat sources, such as stoves or ovens, to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible.
How Long Does Watermelon Last When It’s Cut?
Bacteria can grow quickly on chopped watermelon at room temperature
Once a watermelon has been cut, bacteria can grow quickly on the exposed flesh if it is left at room temperature. This can cause the fruit to spoil more quickly and become unsafe to eat. To prevent this, store cut watermelon in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
Chilled, airtight storage can extend shelf life up to 5 days
Storing cut watermelon in a chilled, airtight container can extend its shelf life up to 5 days. The cold temperature of the refrigerator slows down the growth of bacteria, while the airtight container prevents the fruit from absorbing odors from other foods and keeps it from drying out.
Precut watermelon from the store may have a shorter shelf life
Precut watermelon that is purchased from the store may have a shorter shelf life than watermelon that you cut yourself. This is because the fruit has been exposed to air and bacteria for a longer period of time. Always check the expiration date on pre-cut watermelon and consume it within the recommended time frame.
How Can You Tell If Watermelon Has Gone Bad?
Check the expiration date
The first step in determining if a watermelon has gone bad is to check the expiration date. This is especially important for pre-cut watermelon, as it has a shorter shelf life than whole watermelon. If the expiration date has passed, it’s best to discard the fruit.
Be aware of nitrate levels
High nitrate levels in watermelon can be an indicator of spoilage. Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds found in many fruits and vegetables, but they can become concentrated in overripe or spoiled watermelon. Consuming watermelon with high nitrate levels can cause gastrointestinal distress and other health issues.
Observe the watermelon’s outside appearance
The outside appearance of a watermelon can provide clues as to whether it has gone bad. If the rind is soft, wrinkled, or has dark spots, it may be a sign that the fruit is spoiled. Additionally, if the watermelon has a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s likely past its prime.
Examine the watermelon’s inside appearance
The inside appearance of a watermelon can also indicate if it has gone bad. If the flesh is slimy, discolored, or has an off smell, it’s best to discard the fruit. Consuming spoiled watermelon can lead to foodborne illness and other health issues.
How To Store Watermelon To Extend Its Shelf Life
Refrigeration can extend shelf life to 3-5 days for cut watermelon
Storing cut watermelon in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life to 3-5 days. Place the fruit in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing odors from other foods and to keep it from drying out. Be sure to consume the watermelon within the recommended time frame to ensure that it remains fresh and safe to eat.
Freezing can extend shelf life up to 10 months
Freezing watermelon can extend its shelf life up to 10 months. To freeze watermelon, remove the rind and cut the fruit into small pieces. Place the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the watermelon pieces to an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer.
Dehydration can significantly extend shelf life and make storage easier
Dehydrating watermelon can significantly extend its shelf life and make storage easier. To dehydrate watermelon, remove the rind and cut the fruit into thin slices. Place the slices on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for 10-12 hours, or until the slices are completely dry and brittle. Store the dehydrated watermelon in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.