How Long Does Watermelon Last Once It’s Cut?

source: Pexels

Watermelon is a big part of my summer. I love it. There’s something about biting into a juicy, sweet piece of watermelon on a hot day that just feels right. Whether I’m hosting a barbecue, heading to the beach, or just lounging on my porch, watermelon is my go-to treat. But as much as I love watermelon, I’ve often found myself wondering: how long does it actually last? And what’s the best way to store it to keep it fresh and delicious for as long as possible?

First things first, let’s talk about whole watermelons. An uncut watermelon can last quite a while, which is great news if you’re like me and buy them in bulk whenever they’re on sale. Generally, an uncut watermelon can last about two weeks if you store it at room temperature. However, if you want to stretch that a bit, you can store it in a cooler place, like a basement or a cellar, and it might last up to three weeks. The key is to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

source: Pexels

Once you cut into that watermelon, though, the clock starts ticking a bit faster. A cut watermelon will typically last around 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. To maximize its freshness, make sure to cover the cut surfaces tightly with plastic wrap or place the pieces in an airtight container. This helps to prevent the watermelon from drying out and keeps it tasting sweet and juicy.

Now, let’s get into the best ways to store cut watermelon. As I mentioned, an airtight container is your best bet. If you’re like me and sometimes get a little lazy with food prep, you might be tempted to just toss it in a bowl and cover it with foil. Don’t do that. Trust me, you’ll regret it. The watermelon will dry out faster, and it might even absorb odors from other foods in the fridge, which is just…not good.

source: Pexels

If you’re storing larger pieces, such as halves or quarters, wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap works wonders. Make sure the wrap is really snug around the flesh to keep it from drying out. For smaller chunks or cubes, a good quality airtight container is the way to go. They keep the watermelon fresh, juicy, and ready to snack on whenever you need a refreshing treat.

And speaking of cutting watermelon, let’s talk about the best ways to do that. I used to struggle with cutting watermelons, making a mess in the kitchen and ending up with uneven pieces. But over time, I’ve learned a few tricks that make the process so much easier.

First, you’ll want a good, sharp knife. This is non-negotiable. A dull knife will just make your life harder and can even be dangerous. Start by cutting off both ends of the watermelon. This creates a stable base so it won’t roll around on you. Then, stand the watermelon on one of the flat ends and cut it in half from top to bottom.

source: Pexels

Once you have two halves, you can cut those into quarters if the watermelon is particularly large. From there, you can either slice it into wedges or use a knife to cut the flesh away from the rind and then chop it into cubes. If you’re going for cubes, try cutting the flesh into a grid pattern while it’s still in the rind, and then scoop the pieces out with a spoon. It’s quick, easy, and pretty fun, too.

Here are some extra tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Choose the Right Watermelon: When you’re at the store, look for a watermelon with a uniform shape and a creamy yellow spot on one side. This spot, called the field spot, shows where the watermelon rested on the ground and ripened in the sun. A deep yellow spot usually means the watermelon is sweet and ripe.
  2. Thump It: Give the watermelon a little thump with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, it’s a good one. This is an old trick my grandma taught me, and it hasn’t failed me yet.
  3. Refrigerate Wisely: If you’re not going to eat the whole watermelon at once, only cut what you need and keep the rest whole. A whole watermelon will stay fresh longer than one that’s been cut.
  4. Freeze It: If you find yourself with more watermelon than you can eat, consider freezing it. Cut it into cubes and freeze them on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag. Frozen watermelon is great in smoothies and can be a refreshing treat on its own.
  5. Keep It Separate: Store cut watermelon away from other strong-smelling foods in the fridge. Watermelon can absorb odors from other foods, which can affect its taste.
source: Pexels

When it comes to serving watermelon, I’ve found a few tricks that make it not only easier but also more enjoyable. First, try cutting it into sticks instead of wedges – they’re perfect for little hands and less messy for everyone. For a fun twist, use cookie cutters to make watermelon shapes; stars and hearts are always a hit at parties. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle a bit of sea salt or a squeeze of lime juice to enhance the sweetness. Finally, for a refreshing treat, serve watermelon cubes chilled with fresh mint leaves.

Watermelon is such a versatile and delicious fruit, perfect for summer and beyond. By storing it properly and knowing how to cut it efficiently, you can enjoy it at its best for as long as possible. So go ahead, grab that big, beautiful watermelon, and savor every juicy bite.