Watermelons are abundant during the summer season. The large fruits are harvested at the peak of ripeness. After you harvest or purchase a fresh watermelon, it has a limited storage life. Storing the watermelon past its storage life can cause it to spoil. Knowing the signs of spoilage will help you to determine if the watermelon is safe to consume. Consuming a spoiled watermelon puts you at risk for a serious food-borne illness.
- Skill level:
Examine the watermelon carefully. Look for areas of mould or dark brown or black spots. The spots indicate that the watermelon has rotted and it needs to be discarded.
Look at the cut watermelon slices. Inspect them closely for signs of slime and discolouration. Throw away the watermelon if you notice any of these signs because they indicate spoilage.
Smell the watermelon. If you notice a sour or foul odour, discard the watermelon to prevent the risk of a food-borne illness.
Tips and warnings
- Store the unwashed watermelon at room temperature to ripen for up to five days. Store sliced watermelon in the refrigerator. Use the stored watermelon within three to four days after you slice it.
- You may not be able to tell that the watermelon has spoiled by examining, smelling or tasting it. If the watermelon has been stored for longer than the recommended time, throw it away immediately to prevent a food-borne illness.
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- Virginia Tech University; Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers; Renee Boyer; May 2009
- Texas A&M; University; Safe Storage of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables; Amanda Scott; September 2008
- Colorado State University; If Your Freezer Stops; L.Price et al.; December 2010
- Iowa State University Extension; Storing and Discarding; Peggy Martin
- University of Wisconsin Extension; Keeping Food Safe; Barbara H. Ingham et al.