Handling and Storing Watermelon
Watermelon is a wonderful fat-free, low-calorie sweet nutritious treat. A whole watermelon from the grocery store tastes better and longer than a pre-cut one. Melons can be stored cut or uncut for varying lengths of time and can even be frozen successfully. Handling and storing watermelon properly will help protect it's taste and nutritional value.
Store uncut watermelons at room temperature
Store uncut watermelon at 55°F to 70°F (13°C to 21°C). Whole melons will keep for two weeks at 60°F (16°C), 7 to 10 days at average room temperature and up to a week in hot weather. Store it too long, and it will lose flavor and texture.
Chill the watermelon before cutting
Watermelon tastes best warm but is more refreshing if cooled down before eating. To chill, place the whole, room temperature watermelon in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
Wash the watermelon before cutting
First, wash your hands. Then wash the outside of the melon thoroughly under running water, using a brush if necessary to remove dirt and other contaminants. Pat the watermelon dry with paper towels. Be careful handling wet watermelons, they are very slippery!
Cut the watermelon into pieces
There are several ways to cut a watermelon for serving. To cut the watermelon for the maximum number of servings is to slice it. You can get up to 138 pieces from a 20-pound watermelon. Use a clean, long bladed, sharp knife. Start at one end of the watermelon and carefully cut it -- avoid sawing or hacking at it, watermelon can easily turn to mush -- vertically into 1/2-inch slices. Then, cut each slice into 6 equal wedges.
Cover cut watermelon and store in the refrigerator
Once the watermelon has been cut, cover the cut side with two pieces of plastic wrap tightly secured in a criss-cross pattern. Place in the refrigerate with cut side up, to prevent juices from escaping or place covered cut side down on a plate. Or cut the remaining watermelon into cubes or balls and store in a tightly covered plastic storage container.
Refrigerator storage time
Cut watermelon can be stored in the refrigerator at 37°F to 39°F (3°C to 4°C) for up to 3 to 4 days.