Is there something more refreshing and satisfying than a slice of cold watermelon on a hot summer day?
Thus, we have decided to tell you everything there is to know about this succulent summer fruit. In case you get carried away and buy a watermelon far bigger than you can eat in days, we will tell you how long does watermelon last as well as how to store it to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Have you ever wondered if you freeze watermelon? Do you know how to choose the sweetest watermelon in a batch? Is watermelon good for you or not? Can it make you fat?
As you can see, multiple questions need to be answered. Do not worry, though; we have all the answers ready for you. All you need to do is stay with us to the very end!
A Few Words About Watermelon
Watermelon, or Citrullus lanatus, is a member of the plant family Cucurbitaceae. It originated in West Africa but has spread all around the globe, and you can now find it and enjoy it no matter where you reside. There are currently more than 1000 varieties worldwide.
This vine-like flowering plant provides us with large edible fruit we all love. It is sweet and refreshing, but, is watermelon good for us or not?
Health Benefits Of Eating Watermelon
We all find watermelon quite invigorating during long summer days, but it offers numerous other benefits too:
1. It Helps You Stay Fit
- Containing only 46 calories per serving and being high in fiber and water content, watermelon can keep you feeling full without weighing you down or making you fat. It is also rich in vitamin C, which helps boost your metabolism.
2. It Keeps You Hydrated
- Watermelon is made up of 92% water. In order to keep your body healthy, you need to make sure it is well hydrated. Obviously, watermelon can help you!
3. It Provides You With Beneficial Nutrients And Plant Compounds.
- One cup (154 grams) of watermelon will provide you with many highly-beneficial nutrients including essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamins B1, B5, and B6, Potassium, and Magnesium.
- Watermelon is rich in carotenoids as well. Beta-carotene and lycopene have numerous health benefits. As a bonus, a slice of watermelon contains an important amino acid citrulline and cucurbitacin E – a plant compound that has antioxidant & anti-inflammatory effects.
4. It Helps Prevent Cancer
- Some studies have shown that lycopene and cucurbitacin E can help prevent some types of cancer or inhibit tumor growth. These studies are yet to be confirmed.
5. It Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Problems
- Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide. A healthy diet can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and thus lower the risk of a heart attack. Watermelons are rich in lycopene, which helps lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure. Citrulline can also lower blood pressure, while vitamins A, B6, C, magnesium, and potassium help keep your heart healthy.
6. It Can Reduce Inflammation And Oxidative Stress
- Lycopene and vitamin C reduce inflammation and oxidative damage and thus lower the risk of many chronic diseases.
7. It Can Slow Down The Progression Of Alzheimer’s Disease
- The mighty antioxidant lycopene helps keep your brain healthy, too. It can delay or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
8. It Can Prevent Macular Degeneration
- Lycopene plays an important role in protecting your eyes from oxidative damage and inflammation. In this way, it helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that can eventually lead to blindness.
9. It Helps Relieve Muscle Soreness.
- Citrulline is a well-known aid when it comes to sore muscles. If you are a professional athlete or work-out regularly, you perhaps already use it as a supplement. Watermelon is not only rich in citrulline but also enhances its absorption. Try drinking watermelon juice after exercise, and see for yourself!
10. It Is Good For Your Skin And Hair
- Vitamins A and C are well known for their role in keeping your skin and hair looking healthy. Vitamin C plays a part in the collagen-forming process, while vitamin A helps create and repair skin cells.
11. It Improves Digestion
- Water and fiber are a killer combination when it comes to a healthy digestive system. They promote healthy bowel movement.
How To Pick Ripe And Sweet Watermelon
Check Out The Field Spot
- The field spot is a spot on which the watermelon was resting while growing in the field. It should be yellowish-brown. The darker the color, the longer the melon was on its vine and the sweeter it will be. If this spot is missing or almost white, the watermelon was picked too early.
Do Not Be Seduced By A Shiny Appearance
- You should best opt for a dull looking watermelon even though shiny looking ones might catch your eye first. Shiny appearance is a sign that the watermelon is underripe.
Knock On The Watermelon
- It might feel funny the first time around, but knocking on the watermelon can tell you a lot about it. If your knuckles bounce off the skin and the surface feels firm, the watermelon is fresh and did not start to spoil.
Choose The Heaviest Watermelon Of Its Size
- This rule is universal and applies to almost all fruits and veggies. The heaviest watermelon is full of water, and that means it is super-fresh.
Black Spots And Dots In A Line Are A Good Sign
- When people see dark spots or dots on watermelon, they often think it is a bad sign of damage or decay. It is quite the opposite. These are the sugar spots and pollination points that indicate a sweet melon. The more, the merrier!
How To Store Watermelon
It would be best to store a whole watermelon. In this way, it has the best chance to keep its top quality until you decide to eat it.
A whole watermelon is best kept in the cold dark place such as your pantry or fridge. The cooler the place is, the longer will the watermelon stay fresh.
It is best to eat the whole watermelon when you cut it up. If you have any leftovers, you need to put them in the fridge as soon as possible.
To keep its texture intact for at least a day, the watermelon should be tightly wrapped in a plastic or aluminum foil. If you have already cut it up in small pieces, you can use an air-tight container instead. Resealable bags will do the trick too.
In this way, the flesh will not dry or become soggy, and it will stay protected from all the odors in your fridge. This is why watermelon pieces are always sold in plastic wrap in the first place.
How To Freeze Watermelon
- Even we were not sure about whether or not you can freeze watermelon, but we did a bit of research and found out it is definitely possible!
- If you have more watermelon than you or your fridge can handle, you can freeze it, but that will not be without consequences. The freezing and thawing are sure to alter the texture of your watermelon.
- For this reason, we do not recommend eating the thawed watermelon as you would fresh! You should rather use it to make a smoothie or a sorbet.
- Therefore, it is best to freeze watermelon after you cut it into small pieces and remove all the skin and seeds. Pack these pieces up into freezer-safe bags and seal them well.
- If you want to keep the shape of the watermelon pieces intact, you can spread them on a sheet, freeze them and then transfer the frozen pieces in freezer bags.
- We recommend labeling the bags so that you know for how long you can use them. They will be good to eat for at least a few months.
- If you want to defrost watermelon, it is best to take it out a night before eating it and put it in the fridge. If you’re going to make a smoothie, simply transfer it into the blender – no need to defrost it first!
How Long Does Watermelon Last
Due to high water content, watermelon cannot be kept for long. If you follow our advice and keep it whole, it should retain its quality for up to a week in the pantry and maybe two weeks in your fridge.
The clock starts ticking rather fast as soon as you cut it up! Try to put it in the fridge as quickly as possible and store it according to our recommendations. If you do that, it should stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days. Logically, the fresher it is when you cut it, the longer it will last afterward.
If you want to keep watermelon for longer, freezing it would be your only option. In theory, frozen watermelon can stay safe to eat indefinitely, but we do not recommend using it after more than a few months.
Of course, all the periods stated are just the estimates, and it is always a good idea to rely on your senses when determining whether or not you should eat something.
How Can You Know If Watermelon is Bad
The watermelon should be bruise-free, feel heavy, and show no signs of mold. Once you cut it, make sure the flesh does not feel slimy. The discoloration is not a good sign, either.
Do not eat a mushy watermelon! You should best discard it!
You can use your sense of smell too. If you feel a sour or foul odor, throw it in the bin.
What if a watermelon passes all the tests but has been stored for longer than recommended? It is up to you, but we would not eat it!