ASK THE EXPERTS: HOW LONG WILL MY WATERMELON LAST?


“Ask the Experts” features questions submitted by readers via the Ask the Experts feature in the right hand sidebar. Feel free to ask our panelists anything you’d like about watermelon. All questions will get a personal response and some will be featured here on What About Watermelon!

DAVID S. ASKS: We recently hosted a large family picnic and we bought a little too much watermelon. Now I’ve got watermelon in my fridge, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m wondering… how long will it last?

chefharry3Great question, David. First of all, there’s no such thing as “too much watermelon.” Second, there are so many things you can do with those leftovers, but that’s a subject for another day.

To answer your question, if the watermelon has already been cut, it should be okay in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. While it’s in there, keep it in a container (if it’s cubed) or place plastic wrap over the exposed edge. If the watermelon is whole, you’ve got a bit more time to figure out what you’ll make with your leftovers – anywhere from 7 to 10 days.

Here’s the kicker: Researchers have found that whole watermelons stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark place (around 55 or 60 degrees) last much longer than watermelons stored in the fridge (around 41 degrees). So, if you’ve already got a whole watermelon in the fridge, you should keep it there. But if you’re storing it outside the fridge, put it in the fridge about three hours before you plan to eat it in order to cool it down to just the right temperature.

As for your leftovers, two of my favorite things to do with excess watermelon are cutting into chunks for use with other fruits in yogurt smoothies or pureeing the watermelon and freezing it in an ice cube tray to make watermelon ice cubes for drinks!

Enjoy!
Chef Harry


Comments

  1. [...] To be safe, go ahead and pick up a few extra watermelons, just in case. After all, like I told David a little while ago, there’s no such thing as “too much [...]

  2. Jim says:

    You actually did not answer the question I had, How long outside the fridge can you keep watermelon? We never got around to it, and it’s been about three weeks.

    “Researchers have found that whole watermelons stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark place (around 55 or 60 degrees) last much longer than watermelons stored in the fridge.”

  3. Rick says:

    GEEEZZ HE does not answer the question….. HOW LONG WILL A WAWMELLON LWST IN THE FRIDGE????? 1 WEEK? 10 WEEKS? HOW LONG????
    Thought this guy was an expert…..

  4. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Sorry Jim and Rick, looks like these two comments fell off my radar and I forgot to forward them to Chef Harry for his input (it’s not his fault).

    The answer to how long a watermelon lasts OUTSIDE the refrigerator is a little tricky. Most experts maintain that if the uncut watermelon is stored in a cool, dark place (i.e. basement), it should last two weeks or more. That said, sooner is always better in order to ensure freshness, however I’ve heard people who said they’ve been able to store whole watermelons for a month or two and it’s still okay. I’m not sure if I’d let a watermelon go that long though.

  5. Jay Castelli says:

    Well, I have one (uncut) that has been sitting on my countertop for more than 5 months, and it is still like the day I got it. It has the same color and the same size. I will cut it on his first aniversary. (Im sure it will last)

  6. Mitch Singleton says:

    I bought a watermelon back in june of 2010 it has sat upon my desk now all this time no rotten or soft spots…no smell and still sounds ripe. I am planning on shooting it this year it should make a nice rifle target from 500 yards out. I was never a bif fan of watermelon anyway :)

  7. Olen says:

    We have had a watermelon in the fridge for 3 or 4 weeks.
    I just cut it and it looks picture perfect.
    However; The red meat seems a bit tuff.
    Is this from staying in the fridge too long and is it eatable???

    Thanks in advance…

  8. Sarah says:

    Craving not garaging sorry.

  9. Rachel Humphrey says:

    We have a Watermelon it’s been in our Garage that’s heated and cooled for about a week. As soon as we cut the watermelon and ate half of it the fridge stopped working. We have a repair man coming but well, the watermelon is cut. Should I freeze it, wrap it and leave it on the counter? I want to finish it tomorrow. thanks Rachel Humphrey

  10. Melissa says:

    i keep my thermostat around 70-72 and i cut a watermelon and ate half then covered the rest with a papertowel and left on kitchen counter before going to bed. i got up the next day and finished most of it throughout day and placed remaining portion in fridge that night. tasted fine each time:) wish i could have watermelon all the time!

  11. brandy says:

    i have a cut up water melon in our fride that we eat all thru the week!! but this week we have plaenty of left overs……. will it last another week???

  12. Ed says:

    I hear Whitney Conner, National Watermelon Queen 2011 rules with an iron fist.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I was wondering if I buy a couple of uncut whole unrefridgerated watermelons 4 days before we intend to use them for a BBQ will they still be good they will NOT be in the fridge.

  14. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Vanessa — Yes, the watermelons should be fine, as long as they’re uncut. To be extra sure, store them in a cool, dark place (a basement works well).

  15. Lea says:

    How far in advance can you carve a watermelon? I want to make a watermelon carving for a baby shower but am unsure of how long the outside will maintain. Thank you!

  16. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Lea,

    I’ll send you an email, but I’ll also answer with a comment. In my experience with watermelon carvings, you can usually carve a watermelon one or two days in advance and it’ll be fine. After a few days, the carving starts to lose it’s “fresh” look and the watermelon chunks also lose some freshness (assuming you’re eating the watermelon, too).

    Hope this helps. Good luck with the carving and send me a picture of your carving — watermelonexperts@gmail.com.

  17. kim sutkowski says:

    I left my uncut watermelon in the car overnight accidentally! the temperature yestedday reached 100. will the watermelon still be safe to eat?

  18. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Kim,

    That’s a tough one. Your watermelon might be a goner (sad, I know), but it’s hard to say for sure. My advice when it comes to questions about whether a watermelon is still good is to use the “When in doubt, throw it out” rule. But first, go ahead and cut it open. If it smells alright, looks alright and tastes alright, then it’s probably alright. If not, you might have to throw it out and buy a new one.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if your watermelon passes the smells/looks/tastes test!

  19. Greg says:

    As they say, you never really know how ripe (or good) a whole watermelon is until you cut into it. It’s such a crap shoot and that is why I hate buying whole watermelons. Much prefer halves and 1/4′s, as I can 100% see what I am getting and pick the one with the a thin rind and the flesh the way I like it, very pale red, firm & with little or no cracking/fissures. But for that level of personal quality control, I have to pay a premium and thus, it’s hard to beat the price when whole ones are $4 or $5. If only there were a fail safe way to choose one.

    In the past I have kept a whole watermelon 2-3 weeks, in a cool kitchen in a shaded spot, and had it be just perfect inside. But I think I got lucky. But tonight I can say with certainty to not keep one for over 5 weeks (since May 26th) in a warm room that is very bright, just as I just did.

    I thought that because it was still all firm, solid, shiny, unblemished and well colored on the outside, it was staying just fine on the inside too, just as with say a cantelope or honeydew. Boy was I wrong. Some parts of the inside were super over ripe, as dark, gooey, runny and gelatinous. But luckily about 1/2+ of the flesh was still good (pale red, firm and crunchy the way I like it). So I just cut away the bad and am enjoying the good, But the problem is I now need a week to eat it all but being already so ripe I fear I may lose the race of ripeness. So it goes.

    Just reminds me of the old adages that sometimes a bargain is not a bargain, and don’t buy more than you can eat right away, because this week, cut watermelon is finally on sale for 49 cents a pound, and I could buy two nice big halves for less than this whole, and have it all good and fresh and wonderful. Which begs the eternal question: To toss it all and replace or just suffer through it. Alas, woe is me.

  20. jsport says:

    from my research you should not mix watermelon or any melon with other fruits so the comment on mixing it in with other fruits isn’t quite correct.

  21. Roger Henderson says:

    I have had a whole watermelon on my counter since like August 2012….It looks and sounds fine. Will it still be good to eat???

  22. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Probably not, Roger. It’s definitely past its freshness date. As painful as it might be to do this, the best course of action is to throw the melon away and get a new one!

  23. Tracer says:

    We bought one April 19th, cut the end off and put it in the fridge. Just ate a piece and it was still firm, bright red. Not quite as juicy, maybe. Still palatable though.

  24. Sara says:

    I just bought my first whole watermelon for my sons birthday party this weekend.I usualy buy already sliced, so what is the best way to go about cutting one? Not sure where to start?

  25. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Great question Sara. Check out this blog entry for a good strategy for cutting whole watermelon!

    http://www.whataboutwatermelon.com/index.php/2010/07/ask-the-experts-how-to-cut-a-watermelon/

  26. courtney says:

    Can you survive off just watermelon

  27. Ginny says:

    My daughter gave me 1/2 a watermelon she had cut. She brought it to work with her (she works 3rd shift) and left it in her car overnight and brought it to me when she got off work the next morning. I refrigerated it immediately. But…would it still be safe to eat?

  28. The Watermelon Guy says:

    That’s a tough one, Ginny. Your watermelon might be a goner (sad, I know), but it’s hard to say for sure. My advice when it comes to questions about whether a watermelon is still good is to use the “When in doubt, throw it out” rule. But first, go ahead and cut it open. If it smells alright, looks alright and tastes alright, then it’s probably alright. If not, you might have to throw it out and buy a new one.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if your watermelon passes the smells/looks/tastes test!

  29. Gail Davis says:

    I have recently been advised to never eat watermelon with other foods. Is there any basis to this unusual advice?

  30. terre says:

    We bought a wonderful but HUGE Watermelon at the farmer’s Market on 8/3. I immediately cut it up and put it in the fridge. There is still a lot left. We are only a family of 3. Will it be ok for a few more days or do I have to toss it??

  31. Teri says:

    I love watermelon, my favorite fruit but the season is almost over. I’m not that great at picking them but I have no problem in returning them to the store, but I would rather pick right the first time. I look for the spot that appears yellow or pale to thinking that the watermelon sat outside longer for more ripeness, I also thump it and listen for a hollow sound. Needless to say that don’t alway work is there anything else I can try? Do anyone have a straight answer on how long a watermelon last uncut and how to store it?

  32. pbowcan says:

    I’ve had a 1/2 watermelon in my garage fridge for 5 weeks , took it out this morning cut off the first 1″ and the seems fine so i at a piece, taste was a little off but other than that tasted like it should, consistency was good and firm. Thought you should know.

  33. Faith says:

    Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits so I thought I would answer someones question that seems to not have been answered with great clarity. For all of you who are wondering, if you cut your watermelon into cubes and store it in a airtight package (such as ziplock bags) out of the way of direct sunlight in a room temperature environment (40 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit), your cut watermelon will be fine for a couple of hours.

    If you refrigerate your cut watermelon to 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) in a air tight package prior to leaving out at room temperature then it will be fine for 4 – 6 hours. Environment is very important however so remember if the area is a very warm place its not safe to keep cut fruit & vegetables for a extended period of time as bacteria thrives in that type of situation.

    Also its very important to make sure that before you cut your fruit and vegetables you wash the outside thoroughly. This step is often neglected for some strange reason beyond me. Oh and please wash your hands before handling any food. Most illnesses would easily be avoided by people if they just learn to simply wash their hands before touching food!

    I am a restaurant owner & In my restaurants I have always practiced the “when in doubt throw it out” rule because “its better safe than sorry”;)

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