The Best Ways to Store Fresh Cut Juicy Watermelon

how to store watermelon without plastic

Summer is hands-down my favorite season. I love the warmer weather, beach time, and fresh produce. 

As a huge foodie, fresh local produce brings me so much joy. I get so excited for farmer’s market hauls full of fresh tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, peaches, and watermelon.

But watermelon really has my heart. It’s perfect for backyard barbecues and poolside picnics, with a taste of summer in every bite.

During the summer, I buy at least one watermelon a week. I love that it’s super hydrating, versatile in cooking, and easy to prep. 

Benefits of Watermelon

Did you know that according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse? 

Not only is it a delicious fruit, it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and lycopene, an antioxidant important for good health.

Because of its high water content, watermelon is naturally low in calories. This makes it a perfect guilt-free summer snack, especially if you’re watching your weight.

But here’s the thing: nobody likes a flavorless, mushy watermelon slice. And let’s face it, cutting a whole watermelon can be a bit intimidating.

The good news is, with my simple storage tricks, you can enjoy juicy, delicious watermelon all summer long without any food waste.

Today, I’m sharing a few tips that will help you maximize the shelf life of your cut-up watermelon.

Hooray, It’s Watermelon Season!

Watermelon lovers, rejoice! There are a bunch of watermelon options beyond the classic red, seedless variety you find at most grocery stores. Here’s a breakdown of the watermelon types out there:

Color Variations

  • Yellow Watermelon: Surprise, surprise! The flesh of yellow watermelon isn’t bright yellow but pale yellow or sometimes creamy white. Yellow watermelons are known for being refreshingly sweet, sometimes even sweeter than red watermelons.
  • Orange Watermelon: Orange watermelons are rare, but they have gorgeous, vibrant orange flesh. They are typically lightly sweet with subtle melon notes.

Seeded or Seedless?

  • Seedless Watermelon: This variety is popular for its convenience. However, along with other watermelon enthusiasts, I would argue that seeded varieties have a sweeter flavor.
  • Seeded Watermelon: This variety requires a bit more prep work for seed removal, but often has a more intense sweetness and firmer texture compared to seedless varieties. 

Size Variations:

  • Miniature Watermelons: I think of them as personal-sized watermelons. They’re sometimes called “picnic” or “icebox” watermelons as they are perfect for single servings or lunchboxes. They come in various colors, including red, yellow, and even orange.
  • Giant Watermelons: On the other end of the spectrum, we have giant watermelons. They can weigh upwards of 200 pounds! But you won’t find these in the grocery store. These are often grown for competitions or special events.

how to store watermelon without plastic-perfect ripe watermelon

Choosing the Perfect Ripe Watermelon

Now, let’s focus on the big guy – the uncut watermelon. 

My first step to finding the perfect whole watermelon at the grocery store is choosing one that feels heavy for its size.

I also look for a yellowish spot on the underside where it rested on the vine. This is called the field spot.

I always give it a little knock and listen for a “thump” noise. A ripe watermelon will make a hollow sound when you knock it.

Another good indicator of ripeness is a thick rind on a watermelon. Here’s why: A thick rind develops naturally on a watermelon as it grows. This watermelon rind helps protect the juicy flesh inside from insects, damage, and dehydration.

Storage Tips for Uncut Watermelon

Once home, I store the uncut watermelon at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Uncut watermelon has a longer shelf life than cut watermelon.

With proper storage, an uncut watermelon can stay fresh for up to two weeks!

Storing Cut Watermelon

Once you’ve sliced into that juicy watermelon, you can gobble it right up or store it for later enjoyment. When I’m cutting up fresh watermelon, I can’t help but each a bunch of it. I know you know exactly what I’m taking about!

There are several ways to store watermelon, whether it’s watermelon slices, watermelon triangles, or watermelon cubes.

But how do you store that leftover watermelon so that it maintains its peak freshness? I use various methods, as shown below.

  • The Wrap Method: For larger pieces like halves or quarters, I tightly wrap the exposed cut side with plastic wrap. For a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative, consider beeswax wrap.
  • The Paper Towel Trick: For smaller cut watermelon pieces or cubes, I place them on a paper towel-lined plate. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that can lead to sogginess.

​What’s the best way to store fresh watermelon, depending on the cut size?

  • Large Pieces: Freshly cut watermelon loses moisture and flavor when exposed to air. The best way to combat this is to tightly wrap the cut end (the exposed flesh) with plastic wrap. Then, place the wrapped watermelon in a shallow airtight container. An airtight food storage container or cling wrap will work wonders here.
  • Smaller Pieces: For watermelon cubes or bite-sized pieces, transfer them to an airtight container. This minimizes air exposure and keeps those yummy watermelon chunks fresh and delicious.

Freezing watermelon

Alternative Methods: Freezing Watermelon for Later

Maybe you bought a bit too much watermelon, or you’re looking to extend its shelf life even further. The good news is that watermelon is freezer-friendly! Here’s how to freeze watermelon for an extended period:

  1. Wash and cut your watermelon into cubes or triangle-shaped slices.
  2. Place the watermelon pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. This prevents the pieces from sticking together in a giant frozen clump.
  3. Flash freeze the watermelon pieces for a few hours.
  4. Once frozen solid, transfer the watermelon chunks to a freezer-safe container or freezer-safe bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Pro-tip: Frozen watermelon is a fantastic addition to smoothies, summer cocktails, and fruit salads. I also love eating it as a refreshing treat on a hot day. 

General Rules for Storing Cut Watermelon

Here are some general rules for storing cut watermelons:

  • Keep it in a cool place: Store cut watermelon in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator. Avoid storing it near strong-smelling foods, as watermelon can absorb odors.
  • Enjoy it quickly: While proper storage helps, cut watermelon has a shorter shelf life than uncut watermelon. Like most fresh fruits, it’s best enjoyed within a day or two for the peak flavor and juicy goodness. Watermelon left out for too long can lose its sweetness and become less flavorful. The last thing we want is a less-than-flavorful slice. 

Bonus Tips and Hacks:

  • For long-term storage, consider investing in a vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealing removes air, which significantly extends the shelf life (think weeks!).
  • Soaking freshly cut watermelon pieces in cold water for 15 minutes before storing them can help maintain their crispness. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly before placing them in an airtight container.
  • While refrigeration helps, avoid storing cut watermelon for over a day or two. The cool temperatures can start to diminish the watermelon’s sweet taste.

Blog Banner for Mortadella Head

The Easiest Ways to Remove Watermelon Seeds

Although seedless watermelons are super convenient, some people, like myself, still prefer seeded varieties. I swear that seeded watermelons have a richer, more complex flavor than seedless watermelons.

The Spoon Method:

This is my tried-and-true method. All you need is a spoon and a cutting board.

  1. Cut your watermelon into manageable wedges or thick slices.
  2. Using the spoon, gently scrape parallel lines across the watermelon flesh, creating shallow grooves about ½ inch apart.
  3. Now comes the fun part! Tilt the watermelon slice slightly over a bowl, and use the spoon to scoop out the flesh between the scored lines. The seeds will naturally fall into the bowl along with the flesh.

The Fork Flip Method:

This method works well for smaller watermelon cubes or bite-sized pieces.

  1. Cut your watermelon into bite-sized cubes.
  2. Gently hold a watermelon cube over a bowl using a fork. With another fork or your fingers, firmly but carefully press down on the top of the cube, pushing the flesh downwards. This will often cause the seeds to pop out and fall into the bowl.
  3. Flip and press each cube to remove the seeds, then enjoy your seedless watermelon chunks!

Special Seed Removal Tools:

If you want to streamline the process even further, there are special watermelon seed remover tools available. These tools typically have a serrated edge that cuts through the watermelon flesh while separating the seeds. Sometimes, I use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. 

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

As I mentioned earlier, a juicy summer watermelon is super versatile. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

  • Watermelon and Feta Salad: I love how simple this is. For a super flavorful side dish, combine watermelon chunks with feta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh mint, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Add pistachios if you want a little crunch.
  • Grilled Watermelon with a Kick: If you’ve never tried grilled watermelon, you’re in for a real treat! It might sound weird, but it’s surprisingly delicious. Cut watermelon slices into wedges, brush them with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite spices (think: chili flakes, lime juice, or a sprinkle of cinnamon). Next, grill the slices for a smoky and slightly caramelized flavor.
  • Watermelon Salsa: Have you had enough of summer tomatoes? Watermelons offer a vibrant and refreshing take on traditional salsa. Combine cubed watermelon with chopped red onion, jalapeno (if you like a kick), lime juice, fresh cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Enjoy it with chips, grilled fish, or tacos.
  • Watermelon Sorbet: On a low-calorie diet? This is a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional ice cream. Simply blend frozen watermelon chunks, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a touch of honey for a sweet and refreshing sorbet.
  • Frozen Watermelon Popsicles: Puree watermelon with honey or lime juice, pour the mixture into popsicle molds, and freeze for a delightful summertime snack.
  • Fruity Infused Water: Infuse your water with fresh watermelon chunks to add a touch of summer flair. Combine watermelon with other fruits like cucumber, mint leaves, or berries for a refreshing and hydrating drink.

lasagna 4 pack

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(and get a free ebook)

Our latest posts


Join Our Mailing List