SECOND SLICE: IS IT OKAY TO FREEZE WATERMELON?

January 14th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

The following Q&A was posted here on What About Watermelon a while ago, but I’ve decided to post it again because a friend recently asked me a similar question. If you have any watermelon questions of your own, feel free to email your inquiry to any of the experts listed in the “Ask the Experts” section on the right!

BETSY B. WRITES: I am sooooo sad that there are no watermelons in the grocery store now.  I have an addiction to the sweet fruit. Has anyone ever tried freezing it?  If so, how would you do it? I have to know. Also, are there sources where you can go to buy watermelons out of season?

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Good questions, Betsy. I’ll answer them by breaking your email down into a few parts. First, the first part (because it’s first). Contrary to popular belief, there are still watermelons in grocery stores throughout the fall and winter. Sure, they’re not sold front-and-center in giant cardboard bins like they were back in September, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find them.

That leads us to the last part of your question, about out-of-season watermelon sources. Like I said, you should be able to get your fix at your local grocery store. (Try the mini watermelons, which can be found amongst the pineapple and cantaloupe.) If you don’t immediately see watermelon when you enter the produce aisle, don’t panic. Flag down a grocery employee or the produce manager and ask if they have some watermelon.

The middle part of your question, about freezing watermelon, gives us the most food for thought. The good news, as we just discussed, is that you can probably find watermelon in your grocery store, so no freezing is necessary. If you’re still interested in freezing watermelon, I ran your idea by the folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board, and here’s what they had to say about freezing watermelons whole or in chunks: “A watermelon is 92 percent water, so it will definitely freeze, but the defrosting process will ruin the taste, texture, sweetness and consistency.”

So “Operation Subzero” is a no-go, but that only applies to whole or chunked watermelon. I’ve heard of people who freeze it in cubes to use as ice in drinks or to puree later in various smoothies and beverages, but if the freezing process affects the watermelon taste and sweetness, that may or may not be a good idea.

I hope this helps. If you’d like more info about off-season watermelon consumption, check out this National Watermelon Promotion Board press release and this document with tips for getting watermelon during the winter months.

Good luck, and remember – the start of spring is only 65 days away!

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