When summer hits and the hot weather arrives, there’s nothing better than a refreshing snack to cool off with.
Whether you’re out on the patio with friends or relaxing by the pool, you can never go wrong with fresh, juicy watermelon – unless that watermelon has been sitting on your counter for a little too long and is starting to give off funky vibes.
When you think of food spoiling, most people could tell you what rotten dairy products are like or how veggies that have past their prime appear. Identifying a bad watermelon, on the other hand, is not as easy.
When watermelon is good, it’s fresh, juicy and will have a yellow spot on its exterior. In this state, watermelon is extremely healthy and full of a variety of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.
However, when watermelon goes bad, all of these health benefits disappear and you are left with nothing but spoiled food.
Although there are obvious signs of spoilage once a watermelon is significantly past its due date, when watermelon initially goes bad it might be difficult to identify whether or not it has actually expired.
In today’s fast-paced society, life is too busy to have to worry about possibly eating rotten food (not to mention the ailments you may contract post-eating), which is exactly why we are here to share with you 5 foolproof ways of being able to recognize spoiled watermelon.
If your watermelon passes any of the following texture, smell, color or mold tests, it has likely gone bad and we would highly recommend not consuming it.
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Is Bad: Texture?
When determining whether or not your watermelon is bad, a great indicator is the texture.
Different parts of the watermelon will show different signs of spoilage, so it’s important to examine all of it.
|Crispness||When watermelons are healthy, their texture will be juicy but also crisp. This, however, changes as watermelons start to go bad, creating a more gritty and dry consistency. |
As a watermelon begins to spoil, it loses its crispness and will begin to show signs of shriveling.
Once this happens, it may be time to throw your watermelon away.
|Pulling Away||When you cut open a watermelon, you will notice that it contains black seeds. |
When your fruit is past its expiry date, you will see that the flesh (the red part) begins to pull away from the seeds.
|Soft/Mushy||In terms of texture, the final indication of spoiled watermelon is softness and mushiness. If you press down on the watermelon and it is mushy, it is likely going bad. |
If the watermelon is very mature, it may even become slimy.
If this is the case, you should definitely avoid eating it.
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Is Bad: Smell?
When it comes to identifying whether or not food has gone bad, the most common indicator is smell.
Have you ever opened your fridge and almost got knocked over by an extremely unpleasant odor?
If this happens, it’s a good idea to find the root cause of it. If you suspect it might be your watermelon, take a look at the following indicators.
|Unpleasant Smell||When watermelon is in its prime, it should smell pleasant, fresh and sweet. |
If you open your fridge and are greeted by a tangy or sour odor, it’s likely time to get rid of your watermelon.
If you’re unsure about the smell, look for some of the other indicators, such as the texture, color, or whether or not mold is present.
|Bugs||Watermelon that has gone bad will often attract fruit flies due to the smell, so if there are any insects in the vicinity, this is a good sign your watermelon has gone bad.|
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Is Bad: Color?
After smell, the second most obvious indicator of rotten fruit is appearance.
When you look at your watermelon and your instincts are telling you that something is off visually, you’re probably right.
The color, in particular, will be a sure sign of this. For further reassurance, check out these indicators:
|Exterior||As most of you likely know, the outside shell of a watermelon is covered in a striped design in two different shades of green. |
What you may not know is that when a watermelon is ripe, it develops a yellow spot on the outside.
When the watermelon goes bad, it will start to become black. This may even be a result of mold developing.
|Interior (Flesh)||The inside of the watermelon, or the flesh, can also be prone to developing black spots. This occurs after significant maturation. |
You are also all familiar with the red flesh of the watermelon and while this is normal, if the red hue is deep red or pink, this may be an indication that the watermelon is bad.
It’s good to keep in mind that there are different types of watermelon that come in different colors. Other than red, watermelons can also be found in orange and yellow, so if you cut into your fruit and it’s one of these colors, don’t panic- you’ve likely just encountered one of the Desert King, Tendergold, Yellow Baby, or Yellow Doll variations!
RELATED: How Much Does A Watermelon Weigh?
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Is Bad: Mold?
For everyone’s sake, we hope your sweet potatoes never reach this state.
If they do, don’t panic. We’ve all been there- you haven’t cleaned out the fridge in a while and food inevitably gets lost in dark corners of the produce crisper.
You start to notice a strong odor and decide it’s time to go on a hunt to identify where the smell is coming from. And that’s when you discover it. A shriveled lump of something that once resembled food, is now covered in mold.
Mold is extremely unhealthy and, when consumed, can make you very sick. If you’re not sure whether or not the spots on your sweet watermelon are moldy, the indications in the following chart may be able to help you.
|Change in Color, Fuzziness||When your watermelon begins to go bad, it may start to develop mold.|
This will appear in the form of green or white fuzzy spots and should not be consumed under any circumstances.
Your watermelon may also become plagued with black spots. When this happens, it’s important to discard it immediately (besides bacteria, it will also taste terrible).
NOTE: While it is unsafe to consume areas that are moldy, if only a small part of the watermelon is fuzzy or black, you can simply cut this out and consume the rest.
This also applies to the inside flesh part.
A good rule to follow is to cut out the moldy parts as well as a 1-inch parameter around the mold to ensure you’re not eating any contaminated areas.
If you’re unsure, it’s best not to risk it!
How To Tell If Your Watermelon Is Bad: Expiration Date?
While a bad odor or mold spot is a sure sign that your watermelon has gone bad, sometimes the best way to know your produce has gone bad is simply by looking at the expiration date.
|Expiry Date||The best way to know when your watermelon is no longer edible is simply by looking at the expiry date. |
It’s good to keep in mind, however, that the expiration date is an estimation and you may still have a few days of leeway post expiration.
Remember that the expiration date is only applicable to pre-cut watermelons. Once they are stored in the fridge, the aging process will occur more quickly.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to look for one of the other indicators.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Watermelon Stay Good For?
When you don’t know the expiry date or you are refrigerating your watermelon, there are also guidelines that you can follow to ensure you are eating your fruit before it goes bad:
- Unrefrigerated/uncut: unlike a lot of other vegetables and fruits, watermelon can be stored on the countertop at room temperature. If storing it this way, watermelon should be consumed within 10 days after purchasing it. Remember, this applies to watermelon that has not yet been cut into slices.
- Refrigerated/uncut: if you prefer your watermelon to be cold and fresh, you can also refrigerate it (watermelon will last the longest this way). If this is the storage method you choose, it should be consumed within two to three weeks, depending on how mature it was when you purchased it. Again, it’s important to note that this is for watermelon that is still wole and has not yet been cut.
- Refrigerated/cut: if you don’t have space in your fridge for a whole watermelon, or you simply have leftover slices, you can store your cut-up watermelon in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How Do You Store Watermelon?
Storing watermelon correctly is critical for a longer shelf life. As mentioned in the previous question, watermelon can be stored three ways:
- Unrefrigerated/Uncut: one of the ways you can store your watermelon is on the counter. This is critical if your watermelon is not ripe as watermelon should be kept at room temperature until it is ready to eat.
- Refrigerated/Uncut: once your watermelon is ripe, it’s best to transfer it to the fridge. If you are putting a whole watermelon in, then you can store it unwrapped for up to 3 weeks (it can be less so make sure to check on it). Watermelon is normally stored at a temperature of 13 degrees celsius (55 F), but if you can store it at 21 degrees (70 F), you will increase the health benefits.
- Watermelons contain several antioxidants, including lycopene and beta-carotene. When you store your watermelon at 21 degrees celsius, these antioxidants will increase in content.
- Refrigerated/Cut: whether for space purposes or you simply have leftover slices, you can also store your watermelon in the fridge. If using this method, make sure to place the pieces in an airtight container or ziploc bag.
- Freezer: it is not advised that you store watermelon in the freezer due to the excess juice that will drip from cut watermelon but if you still wish to do this you can place the watermelon in an airtight bag and store it in the freezer for 10-12 months.
How To Pick A Watermelon In The Store?
Choosing the correct watermelon at your local supermarket is also imperative for buying a watermelon that will last longer.
Here is what you should look out for:
- The color should be two alternating shades of green- when it is ripe, it will have a cream-colored spot near the base
- When you pick up the watermelon, you will notice that it is heavier than it appears. This is a good indicator of a ripe watermelon.
- Examine the watermelon and if it is completely free of any dark spots or strange odors, you’ve chosen a good one.
When Is Watermelon Season?
This will depend on where you live but in the United States, the best time to buy a watermelon is from May to September.
You can buy watermelons at other times of the year, but they will be imported from places further away and, therefore, won’t be as fresh when you purchase them.
Can You Eat An Overripe Watermelon?
If you eat a small amount of watermelon that has expired, there’s a good chance that nothing will happen (as long as it didn’t have any mold on it).
On the other hand, if you eat overripe watermelons in large quantities, you will likely encounter digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea.
If you have eaten mold, the health effects could be even more extreme and you should seek medical attention.
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