SECOND SLICE: ASK THE EXPERTS – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WASH YOUR WATERMELON?


Watermelon is arguably one of the easier fruits to consume, as it requires very little effort to eat. You just cut, slice and enjoy, right? Well, sort of.

Many people often forget a small, but very important, step. Washing your watermelon is necessary to remove any dirt or unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. Just before you are ready to cut the watermelon, simply give it a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge.

ROBERT K. OF ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, ASKS: If you’re not going to eat the outer rind of a watermelon, why is it so important to wash the watermelon before you carve it?

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Image courtesy of WikiHow.com

Excellent question, Robert. It’s one that I’m particularly fond of, because I’m a stickler for this important, but often overlooked, step of the watermelon-eating process.

Traditionally, we wash things to make them clean and generally more sanitary, right? We wash our hands before we eat (or at least we should). We wash our dishes. We wash our clothes. We wouldn’t think of NOT washing these things on a regular basis, so it only makes sense to wash our food, too.

The main reason it’s recommended that you wash your watermelon is to remove any dirt or other unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. I’m not going to go into details about what sort of “stuff” might be loitering on the rind, but just think about how many people may have handled your watermelon in the grocery store before you purchased it, and that should paint a clear enough picture for you.

That wash-it-before-you-carve-it recommendation isn’t just my opinion. It actually comes from the USDA, the FDA and the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

So, how should you wash your watermelon? According to the aforementioned organizations, a quick but thorough bath under cool, running water should do the trick. For fruits with an outer surface that isn’t eaten (like a watermelon), feel free to also give a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge. And, although you might be tempted to add some dish soap or detergent to the mix to get things extra clean, the USDA and FDA recommend against that, because those cleaning solutions might not be approved by the FDA for use on food.

From start to finish, your watermelon bath will only take a minute or two, but the results — a clean and delicious watermelon — are well worth it!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON!


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