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How To Store Watermelon

If you’ve ever struggled with how to store watermelon properly, then you’re at the right place. This refreshing summer fruit can be a bit tricky to keep fresh once cut.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into our juicy guide to learn how to store watermelon and make it last longer.

Sliced watermelon on a dark cutting board with mint leaves.

To store watermelon, keep whole ones at room temperature in a cool place for up to 7-10 days. Cut watermelon should be covered in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container, then refrigerated and consumed within 3-4 days. Frozen watermelon lasts longer, ideal for smoothies or desserts.

How to store watermelon

First off, how you store watermelon depends on whether it’s cut or whole. Let’s get into each case.

How to store cut watermelon

Once a watermelon is cut open, its shelf life begins to decrease. So, here’s a list to follow if you’ve got some delicious slices on hand:

  1. Wrap It Up: Use plastic wrap to cover the cut surface. This helps keep your melon moist and prevents it from absorbing odors from other foods in your fridge.
  2. Seal It: For small pieces, you can also use an airtight container or ziplock bag.
  3. Refrigerate: Place your wrapped or sealed watermelon in the fridge. Cut watermelon likes the cold!

If you want a few tips on how to cut watermelon I have a post and video that will show you the easiest way!

How to store whole watermelon

If you’ve got an uncut watermelon, storing it is a bit simpler. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Keep it Cool: Store your whole watermelon in a cool place, like a basement or a pantry.
  2. Avoid the Fridge: Interestingly, whole watermelons don’t like the cold as much as their cut counterparts. They can be kept at room temperature until they’re cut open.

How long does watermelon last?

You may be curious about the shelf life of this delightful, juicy fruit. Generally, a properly stored whole watermelon can last about 7-10 days at room temperature.

However, once the watermelon has been cut, it should ideally be consumed within 3-4 days if kept in the fridge.

Keep in mind that these timelines are not set in stone and can fluctuate depending on the ripeness of your watermelon when it was purchased.

Learn the signs of how to tell if a watermelon has gone bad so that you know what to look for.

Choosing a ripe watermelon

The process of picking a ripe watermelon is as crucial as storing it correctly. A ripe watermelon will not only taste better but also last longer. Let’s break down how you can choose the perfect watermelon.

Weight matters

Watermelons should feel heavy for their size. That’s because a ripe watermelon is composed of 92% water! So, if the watermelon you’re picking up feels like it’s packing a few extra pounds, that’s a good thing.

Check the field spot

Take a look at the field spot, the area of the watermelon that was resting on the ground. If it’s a creamy yellow color, you’ve got a ripe watermelon on your hands. Any other color might indicate an underripe or overripe fruit.

Uniform shape

Lastly, the shape of the watermelon matters too. It should be uniform in shape. Any irregularities might mean that it grew unevenly, potentially impacting its taste and texture. A perfectly round or oblong watermelon is what you should be aiming for.

Try out with refreshing watermelon feta salad on your next hot summer day.

Can you freeze watermelon?

Yes, you can! Freezing watermelon is a great way to preserve it for use in smoothies or desserts later on. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Cut It Up: Chop your watermelon into small pieces or use a melon baller to create fun shapes.
  2. Spread Out: Spread the pieces out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Freeze: Put the tray in the freezer until the pieces are frozen solid.
  4. Store: Once frozen, you can transfer the pieces to a freezer-safe bag or container. Remember to label it with the date!

Remember, thawed watermelon can be a bit mushy, so it’s best used in recipes where texture doesn’t matter much.

How long can watermelon sit out?

When it comes to leaving cut watermelon at room temperature, it’s best not to leave it out for more than two hours.

If the temperature is above 90°F (like a hot summer day at a picnic), that time is reduced to just one hour. This is because bacteria grow rapidly at these temperatures and can cause foodborne illnesses.

After this time, it’s recommended to refrigerate any leftover watermelon promptly to prevent it from spoiling. Remember to store it in an airtight container or tightly wrap it to maintain its freshness.

Whole watermelons, on the other hand, can be stored at room temperature for 7-10 days, depending on the ripeness of the fruit when it was purchased. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s cut open.

It’s always a good practice to store food properly to avoid waste and to keep you and your loved ones safe from any potential foodborne illnesses.

Frequently asked questions about how to store watermelon

A ripe watermelon feels heavy for its size, has a creamy yellow field spot (the area that was resting on the ground), and is uniform in shape. Any irregularities might indicate that it’s not ripe yet or is overripe.

While it’s okay for a whole watermelon to sit at room temperature, cut watermelon should be refrigerated as soon as possible. Leaving it out for more than two hours (or one hour if it’s over 90°F) can lead to bacterial growth.

It’s not recommended to eat watermelon that’s been left out overnight, especially if it’s cut. Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature, making the fruit unsafe to eat. Always refrigerate cut watermelon and consume it within 3-4 days.


Now you know how to store watermelon properly, whether it’s cut or whole. Remember, the key to long-lasting watermelon is storing it right and picking a ripe one in the first place.

And if all else fails, you can always freeze it for later use. So go ahead and enjoy your watermelon, without the worry of it going bad too soon.

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