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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


39 thoughts on “ASK THE EXPERTS: HOW LONG WILL MY WATERMELON LAST?

  1. What will happen if i leave my watermelon out of the fridge for over 5 months. Because i have one in my cupboard thats been their for a little over 5 months. Could it possibly turn into alcohol?

  2. Hi there! Which will make longer lasting – watermelon stored inside refrigerator (uncut) or not stored inside refrigerator (uncut). Thank you :).

  3. “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.”

  4. Cindy, you should refrigerate cut up watermelon. This will keep the freshness and crispness of the fruit for as long as possible.

  5. I am single and usually buy a small wedge of watermelon at the grocery store. It’s shrink wrapped and cold. How long will it be safe to eat?

  6. Karen, your shrink-wrapped watermelon wedges should stay fresh for about 2-3 days in the fridge. Be sure to keep the shrink wrap kept tightly around the fruit to keep the freshness in! Happy eating!

  7. I bought a watermelon about 3 weeks ago. It hasn’t been refrigerated, but stored in our dining room which is usually dark. Do I dare cut into it now to eat or is it bad already?

  8. Hi Margaret! According to nationalwatermelonassociation.com, the ideal storage temperature for watermelon is 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s been hot where you live, you may want to proceed with caution. However, if the watermelon has stayed in a dark, cool room, it may be fine to eat.

  9. I cut up a watermelon last night and stored it in the fridge. This morning I took out one of the containers put it in my insulated lunch bag and proceeded to forget it in the living room. Will it be fine after work or toss it out? I will have been out for about 10 hours in a sealed container.

  10. Hi Shelly, I can’t find any articles that give a definitive answer, but personally – I wouldn’t take a chance on it. When you take the melon out of the fridge, the heat will make the flesh fibrous, giving it a weird texture. I would pitch it just to be safe.

  11. I got home, and must be a good thing my apartment doesn’t get a lot of light and blinds drawn, and it was in an insulated bag. It was still cool to the touch and I took a few pieces out and they were still cool. So we put it in the fridge and ate it 4 hours later, and here to type to you today!! hahaa

  12. I think I got it from what you wrote already but just to be sure ha ha my cubed up watermelon stored in a bowl with a lid in the fridge will keep for 3 or 4 days? Thanks in advance!

  13. Your watermelon will be fine, Knight. Without the wrapping over it, however, you might lose the crispness of the fruit if it’s in the fridge uncovered too long.

  14. I bought 3 triangular slices of watermelon a few weeks ago and expired on June 23rd. It is still shrink-wrapped in it’s original package from when I bought it, so I we wondering if it is still safe to eat?

  15. I bought a watermelon about 3 to 4 weeks ago. It has sat in my pantry uncut since then. I usually keep my house around 70 to 72 degrees. Although my pantry is dark it is above the 50-59° temperature recommended. Will my watermelon still be good, or I guess the better question is, would you still eat it? Lol Thanks so much for your reply, I really appreciate it! Have a great day! Regards, Justin

  16. Don’t think I found the precise answer for my question. Cut small melon in 1/2, chunked 1/2 and stored in refrig. in Tupperware. But what is best way to store the 2nd, uncut piece. Don’t laugh; I may have gone over-board. Wrapped in Saran, covered that with foil AND just to play it safe, taped the foil with masking tape so the covers won’t come off. Is there is a better way?

  17. I think you’ll be just fine, Isabel! I wouldn’t keep it stored in the refrigerator for too long. It could get mushy in the wrapping.

  18. Can watermelon keep longer than 3-4 days if you keep your fridge colder than the recommended temperature? If so how long? Thank you for your help on this question.

  19. I had a watermelon on ice for 4 days. My son forgot to get it out of the ice chest for 3 days. Is it still good. Hot outside 97 degrees

  20. Cheryl, since you had the watermelon kept chilled and cold, I’d say it’s okay to eat. After all, it’s better to have been chilled than sitting out in the heat.

  21. I was given a very large watermelon on July 30 to be carved for a baby shower. The problem is the shower isn’t until Aug. 29. I haven’t put it in the fridge. It’s sitting on my counter. I’m guessing it won’t make it till the shower. Is there anything I can do to make it last?

  22. Hi Rebecca, the first thing you need to do is put that watermelon in the refrigerator. It will keep it colder and fresher longer. Unfortunately, refrigerated whole watermelons keep for about 2-3 weeks, so I don’t think it will last until the shower. With how fragile the melon may be after that long, your carving may not turn out as beautiful as it should!
    Just because you can’t use it for the baby shower doesn’t mean it can’t be used for something fun and delicious. Check this link for creative ways to use your melon in recipes and drinks: http://www.watermelon.org/Recipes

  23. hello! I just dropped my watermelon on the ground. Managed to pick it up and it’s mostly intact with a big crack in the middle. Water is obviously leaking out. Is it good to eat still? Should I cut it up and refrigerate? or toss it altogether, since it’s not juicy anymore? I need it for 2 days from now for a get together.

  24. Hi Lili! I’m no stranger to this unfortunate event – just the other day, I saw a woman trying to carry two of them and one of them paid the ultimate price. With the crack in the side, however, I’m going to recommend that you just pitch it. I hate to waste food in any way, but now that the “seal” has been broken, the freshness will not be at its peak.

  25. I’ve had a big whole watermelon stored outside the fridge for almost 2 weeks now. We keep the house at a cool 67 degrees. Is it still safe to cut up and eat? I’ve read it should be kept at a temp of 50-59 degrees so is there a way to tell if its not safe to eat? Like a certain taste a bad watermelon has? Thanks, Ashley

  26. Well, Ashley, there are 3 ways to tell if your watermelon is still okay to eat. You’re right about keeping it in a cool part of your house around 67 degrees, but you should keep your melon for 7-10 days before eating it.
    First, inspect the melon for any mold or dark spots. If there are any dark brown or black spots, you may want to consider throwing it out.
    If you aren’t ready to cut it open just yet, this is the only way to check if it’s still good to eat. If you want to cut it open, make sure there are no signs of slime or discoloration. The last thing you can do is smell it. If it gives off a sour or foul odor, it might be time to pitch it.
    Hope this helps!

  27. I keep seeing everywhere an uncut melon will only last 7-10 days, but i have had this large 1-1.5 ft long watermelon sitting in my kitchen since early summer (maybe june to very early july). I cut into it, not really thinking, as it still had a nice sound when i would tap/pound on it. Rind is really thin, but otherwise the melon is perfect and still smells, tastes, and looks good. I live in moderate climate anywhere from 70’s-80’s. Sorta just throwing this out there since i know more from experience melons last way longer in warm weather than people say they do.
    To test if a melon is good Firmness and sound are good indicators. If it doesnt sound like their is loose liquid, its not going bad, and if the melon is still firm, its definitely still good.

  28. How long 1/2 melon tightly plastic wrapped can stay good in fridge. I had kept 1/2 melon two weeks back at very end and forgot to notice. Shall I try cutting it or just through it away?

  29. I have had a watermellon in cold storage for four months. It’s not soft or dose not look bad is it good to eat?

  30. I am in Russia. A neighbor just gave us a piece of watermelon she kept [SOMEHOW] since October, when they were last sold. January is almost over. :How do you keep a watermelon that long? It is as crispy as if I just cut it. I’m from Texas, so I know a little about melons. They used to plant them on our place.

  31. Hello! I’m a big watermelon fan! I buy a watermelon every week to eat but I have found recently a large number of melon-related-disappearances! I live alone with only my pet parrot, Tweeties…. Do parrots like to eat watermelon? If so is it a common occurance for birds to eat such a fruit?
    Would this have a negative effect on the parrots health?
    Thank you, stay juicy!
    Walter

  32. Hi Walter! That’s a great question. I’ve never owned a parrot, but I’ve always dreamt of having one that repeats everything I say.. I’d teach it to talk about watermelon!
    From what I’ve read from my bird-loving friends, watermelon is good for birds. They enjoy the sweetness of the fruit, plus it’s very easy for them to enjoy! I would recommend letting your parrot snack on the seedless type, just to be safe. I’m not sure that birds should have the seeds. Happy snacking!

  33. I just bought a watermelon and I cut it up and ate a few cubes and it was pretty sweet. I put it in the fridge in a Tupperware but later I went to get some and it had an awful smell. What could it be?

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