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

Using safe handling practices, as outlined by USDA, this cutting sequence resulted in the highest yield of cut fruit. Remember to wash your watermelon before cutting

  • Cutting Method Step 1

    1

    Cut off the ends, providing a base and access to the peel and rind.

  • Cutting Method Step 2

    2

    Angle the knife, placing it where the white rind meets the red flesh and following the curve of the fruit, cut off the rind.

  • Cutting Method Step 3

    3

    Cut the whole watermelon into disks, width-wise in the desired size of cubes.

  • Cutting Method Step 4

    4

    Lay the disks face down, pushing the smaller disks to one side and cut same size strips in both directions.

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 a free download featuring Watermelon Cutting & Yield click here.

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