To better understand cutting, yield and shelf life of watermelon, the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) conducted a cutting, yield, and storability study throughout summer 2015. The Board worked with the Food Innovation Center, a part of Oregon State University, to conduct the research. Fruit was sourced from industry members in Oregon.

First, six chefs and retail food handlers were selected. The six included representatives from Sheridan Fruit Company, Whole Foods, Moberi, Pale’s Place, Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon Convention Center. Those representatives were then observed cutting watermelon. Lastly, they took part in an interview about using watermelon. Some key takeaways from the interviews included:

  • All but one organization uses watermelon year-round.
  • Between the six interviewees, there are many different uses for watermelon:
    • Most use watermelon in beverages in addition to fresh.
    • Other primary usage included fresh cut, salads, garnish, protein accompaniment, fruit plate or bowl, etc.
  • After watermelon is cut the rind is composted or pickled – great food waste message for the industry.

Between the six organizations, they used four different cutting methods. The cutting methods were evaluated in the lab based on time to cut and yield. Once the best method was defined, there were 50 watermelons from three key sizes analyzed: 36, 45, and 60. This is the cutting method to receive the yield as stated below.

Cutting Method

  • 1. Wash hands and watermelon.Safe Handling Practices

  • 2. Set up work station, sanitizing work area.

  • 3. Put on gloves.

  • 4. Start by cutting the watermelon ends off.

  • 5. Set watermelon on one of the cut ends, giving the melon a base of support.  

  • 6. Take a large sharp knife at an angle, set it where the white rind meets the red flesh on the top of the cut watermelon, begin to cut the rind off.  

  • 7. Use the rind as a guideline, continue to cut off until the watermelon is rind free.

  • 8. Trim any excess rind off the watermelon.

  • 9. Cut the whole watermelon into one inch thick disks, width ways.  

  • 10. Lay half of the disks face down

  • 11. Again, cut one-inch strips; try to push the smaller melon disks to one side to increase the amount of cubes that are similar in size and shape.  

  • 12. Then lengthwise cut more one-inch strips.

  • 13. Break apart with hands and cubes will form.  

Yield

    • Size: 36
    • Time: 3.05 min
    • Flesh: 10.67 lbs
    • Skin: 7.17 lbs
    • Flesh: 59.8%
    • Size: 45
    • Time: 2.58 min
    • Flesh: 9.54 lbs
    • Skin: 4.24 lbs
    • Flesh: 69.2%
    • Size: 60
    • Time: 2.50 min
    • Flesh: 8.61 lbs
    • Skin: 3.61 lbs
    • Flesh: 70.5%

For more information or to request the full report, please email mmckenna@watermelon.org.

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