Isn’t summer synonymous with watermelon? On a hot day, hardly anything beats a few pieces of watermelon or some sips of watermelon-infused water.
Watermelon is delicious and it is easy to get carried away and buy a lot more than what you will eat.
So, when there are lots of watermelons left to eat, the question is: can it go bad?
Most of us usually buy a whole watermelon because it is way less expensive than buying slices of it, and it’s not before a couple of days have passed that we begin to seriously consider how to store it and for how long we can store it before it is no longer fresh.
And while there is nothing wrong with this, you should probably be aware of how you can store it properly and keep it fresh for longer, as well as how to tell if it’s gone bad.
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Has Gone Bad
Telling if watermelon can no longer be eaten is easy when you know what to look for.
First and foremost, if the outer layer is moldy, it’s best to discard it.
However, when there are only a few tiny spots or abrasions, you can’t really know whether the watermelon is good or not.
The insides will probably be just fine if the outer layer is firm, bruise-free, and fairly consistent in color.
Still, you would have to look inside the watermelon to see if it’s good.
That is the thing with watermelons, though, as when whole and not cut, they can last way longer than when they are sliced in half or their inside has been cut into smaller pieces.
If you have cut your watermelon into pieces or quarters, you can normally see whether it’s good or bad.
First, look for gooey, mushy areas, dark spots, or color decline. All these signs indicate your watermelon is overripe.
If it has spots on it, it is still safe to eat, but it won’t taste good. When it’s slimy, it’s best to throw it away as it is no longer edible.
To sum it up, if the inside doesn’t look fresh and does not taste good then discarding the watermelon is the best option.
In addition to its look, its smell is another indicator of freshness. When a watermelon has a sour smell, that means it’s gone bad.
If everything appears to be in order, make your final decision based on its flavor.
When you are buying a pre-cut watermelon, you can have a look at the ‘Best Before’ date.
That date is a great indicator of how long the watermelon will last before it starts to go bad.
Top tip: Go for the pre-cut watermelon packages that are placed on the back of the shelves in grocery stores, as they are usually the ones whose “Best Before” time is furthest away from the date you are actually buying it.
Now that you are aware of the warning signs of a spoiled watermelon, let’s discuss how and for how long you can store one.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Watermelon?
A whole watermelon can be kept at room temperature for about a month.
Therefore, the amount of time it will stay fresh after you’ve bought it will be determined by the time it spends in transit and the produce department.
That period varies greatly. It could be anything from seven days to two weeks till the fruit arrives at your local grocery store, and it may stay there for several days before you visit the store and buy it.
As a result, it is usually advised to consume the fruit within the first seven to ten days of its purchase.
Of course, if the watermelon has not been in transit for long and you picked it up right away, it will certainly be fresh for longer.
However, it is best to take that with a grain of salt (unless you are certain about the facts) and always consider your watermelon fresh for no longer than one week.
An uncut watermelon is usually stored at room temperature, in the kitchen or a storeroom, if you have one.
However, when you’ve bought watermelons in bulk and you want to keep them for more than a week, it’s best to keep them refrigerated.
How Long Does A Watermelon Stay Fresh After Being Cut?
Regardless of whether you cut it in smaller pieces or half, sliced watermelon can stay refrigerated for 3 to 5 days before it goes bad.
Even if it was already cut when you got it or you cut it into quarters yourself, you should put it in the fridge.
Another thing you should do to keep it fresh for days is to wrap it tightly with some cling film or put it in an airtight container., just like you would see it stored in the supermarkets where they sell watermelon slices.
When you want to eat some, all you have to do is take the cling film off, cut the amount of watermelon you need, and then wrap it up again.
Watermelon is 90% water, so not wrapping it before putting it in the fridge means that the cold air will dry it out.
Moreover, the watermelon may even absorb odors from the products that are close to it in the refrigerator.
You definitely don’t want your watermelon to smell like bacon or parsley!
Is It Possible To Store Watermelon In The Freezer?
As we mentioned earlier, watermelon is mostly water, so freezing it is not ideal.
That is because when thawed, the fruit will become soggy and may end up losing some of its sweetness and overall taste, as well as its color profile.
However, this doesn’t mean that storing it in the fridge is futile. Frozen watermelon can be used for many preparations like smoothies and fruit-infused water.
For smoothies, the watermelon will be mixed with other ingredients, so the texture difference is not really significant.
You can also substitute watermelon cubes for ice cubes.
Here’s how you do it. Take out the seeds, then cut the fruit into pieces.
Put the pieces on a baking sheet layered with aluminum foil and freeze them.
When frozen, place those watermelon cubes in a freezer bag and that’s your fruit cubes ready to be served!
The other option is to prepare it for use in watermelon-infused water.
To do that, cut the rinds off and put pieces of the fruit’s flesh in water to infuse them, and, if you are okay with watermelon seeds, you do not need to take them off.
What Will Happen If You Consume Watermelon That’s Gone Bad?
If you take your watermelon out of the fridge and think it has spoiled, don’t take any risks with trying it.
Eating watermelon that has gone bad may negatively affect your health.
You might very well feel nauseated, start puking, or even have a headache after eating a rotten watermelon.
Watermelon consumption has also been linked to diarrhea in some individuals.
This could be an indication of listeria infection, so it’s advisable you contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms above after consuming watermelon.
The Bottom Line
Watermelons are extremely refreshing and tasty and can be the perfect way to hydrate on a hot summer day.
Knowing when they go bad is important, though, but if you follow the guidelines above it should be easy for you to do so!