Selection & Storage
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
- Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water.
- Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Storage & Shelf Life of Whole & Cut Watermelon
Store watermelon between 50-59°F, however 55°F is the ideal temperature. If watermelon are received refrigerated do not break the cold chain and store them in refrigeration. Watermelon will keep for 7-10 days at room temperature. After two days at 32°F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing causes rind to break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored between 9-36°F.
As a part of Cutting & Yield Research the NWPB tested watermelon shelf life, once cut. The 36-count watermelon was still edible at day 7 and had a 7-day shelf life. The 45- and 60-count watermelon sampling and microbial study showed that the watermelon was still edible at day 4 and had a 4-day shelf life. Food Innovation Center (a part of Oregon State University) researchers suggested further shelf life research due to the 36-count being received refrigerated and the 45- and 60-count received at ambient temperatures, which could explain the shelf life discrepancy. Additionally, researchers stressed the need for foodservice education about washing the outside of the watermelon before cutting the fruit.
Stay on top of what’s happening with Watermelon
Sign up here to receive the monthly What About Watermelon? enewsletter with seasonal tips, tricks and recipes.