Can Watermelon Go Bad? Here’s What to Look Out For

Watermelon is one of the best fruits for summer. It’s refreshing, tasty, and good for your health.

If you’ve got a lot of watermelons on hand, you’ve probably been wondering if they will go bad or last forever. Perhaps you want to know if storing cut watermelon in the fridge will preserve it or make it go bad.

This article provides answers to all your questions about the shelf life, spoilage, and preservation of watermelons.

What are watermelons?

Watermelon is a member of the genus Citrullus and a relative of other edible plants such as cucumber, pumpkin, squash, luffa, and gourd. It contains 92% water and 8% sugar.

Watermelons are available in many varieties, including seedless and seeded varieties. Seedless watermelons are a result of modification by breeders to suit the preference of some consumers.

If you’re buying a watermelon from the grocery store or farmers’ market, look for one that feels heavy for its size and has dull green skin without any bruises or cuts.

To test for ripeness, press the top of the melon with your thumb. If it gives in slightly (without leaving an indentation), it’s ready to eat. This works for all varieties of watermelon.

Can watermelon go bad?

Yes, watermelon can go bad. However, unless you store them improperly, whole watermelons can last for about a week at room temperature and for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Once cut open or damaged in any way, watermelons should be eaten right away or refrigerated/frozen for future use. If the rind begins to turn brown or mushy, it’s time to toss it out.

What is the shelf life of watermelon?

The shelf life of watermelon varies depending on how you store it and whether or not you have cut it open.

Whole watermelon

Whole watermelons have a shelf life of about a week at room temperature (68°F or slightly below). If you keep them in the refrigerator, their shelf life will increase to about 2 weeks.

Cut watermelon

Cut watermelons have a shorter shelf life than whole ones because they aren’t wrapped up in the protective rind and may dry out more quickly.

If you keep your cut watermelon at room temperature, it will last for about 24 hours. But if you transfer it to the refrigerator, its shelf life will increase to about 5 days.

You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. But keep in mind that frozen watermelon will not have the original texture when it thaws.

Can you eat expired watermelon?

Yes, you can.

The major thing that makes watermelon go bad is moisture loss. Once the fruit starts to shrivel up, it’s no longer good for eating. But as long as it still looks fresh and juicy, there’s no reason why you should not eat it.

If you have any doubts about whether your expired watermelon is still good, it’s best to throw it out rather than risk getting sick from eating spoiled fruits.

How to tell if a watermelon is bad


You can tell if your watermelon has gone bad by checking for mold on the outside of the fruit or the inside.

Moldy fruit can make you sick. So, if there are any signs of mold on your fruit, throw it away. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling the moldy fruit.

Smell it

Stick your nose directly over the fruit and inhale deeply. A good watermelon should smell sweet and fragrant.

If it has a sour or foul odor, then it has gone bad. Trash it and get a fresh one from the store.

Check the color

The color of the rind of a fresh watermelon should be bright and clean. If it looks dull and dark, this could be a sign that the watermelon is old or overripe. The flesh should also be bright red, not dull or brownish-red.

Feel it

If the outside or inside of your melon feels sticky or mushy, toss it out immediately and wash your hands. You can also check for soft spots in the rind — these are signs of decay too.

Look for cracks and scratches on the rind

Cracks and scratches on the rind may occur due to rough handling by workers during harvesting or shipping.

Bacteria can enter through these openings into the fleshy interior of the fruit, so discard it to avoid food poisoning.

How to preserve watermelon

Store in a cool place

A good way to prevent watermelons from going bad is to store them in a cool place and away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat.

You should also keep them away from any food that may give off ethylene gas, which can hasten the ripening process.

Refrigerate it

Another way to preserve this fruit is to refrigerate it at 41°F or below. This slows bacterial and mold growth which can cause spoilage.

For best results, put the cut pieces of watermelon in an airtight container before refrigerating them. The airtight container will prevent moisture from escaping through evaporation and help keep your watermelon fresh for longer.

Freeze it

If you have too much watermelon on hand, freezing is an excellent way to preserve it for later use.

All you have to do is cut up your melon into slices, put the slices in a freezer bag, and freeze until solid.

When you’re ready to use them again, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator until they’re soft enough to eat.

Make fruit cubes

This method works best with seedless watermelons or those with very few seeds in them.

To prepare, cut up the fruit into cubes and place them in an airtight container. You can use your frozen cubes as needed in recipes like smoothies or fruit salads.

Pickle it

To pickle watermelon rinds, cut them into chunks. Then, blanch them for five minutes in boiling water.

Pack them into hot jars, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each quart jar (optional), fill with hot syrup, and seal with lids and rings.

If you want some color in your pickles, add red food coloring or beet juice before packing the slices into jars. You can also add lemon juice, vinegar, or pickling spice if you desire.

Make watermelon juice

If you have leftover watermelons, you can use them to make juice instead of throwing them away. Blend the fleshy part in a blender, pour the juice into an airtight container, and refrigerate it.


Is watermelon healthy?

Yes, it is.

Watermelon is a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for the growth and repair of body tissue. It also contains vitamin A, which helps improve vision and aids in healing wounds.

How can you tell if a watermelon is ripe?

You can tell a watermelon is ripe by pressing the outside with your thumb.

If it gives in slightly but returns quickly to its original shape, then it is ripe. If it feels hard when you press it, then it is not ripe enough and may not taste good.

Is watermelon a berry?

Yes, it is.

The scientific definition of a berry is simple: a fleshy fruit with many small seeds. This means that watermelon is a berry because it has many small seeds inside its fleshy pulp.

Can watermelon prevent cancer?

Yes, it can.

Watermelon is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help protect against chronic diseases like cancer.

The fruit is high in lycopene, which has antioxidant properties that may help prevent certain cancers, including prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Can you use watermelon to make smoothies?

Yes, you can.

Watermelons are a great addition to smoothies, especially in the summer months when they are at their peak. They are sweet and refreshing, plus they contain many vitamins and minerals that benefit your health.

Watermelon smoothies are a popular choice for those looking to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet. You can also add some yogurt or milk if you want a creamy smoothie.


As it turns out, watermelon can go bad. When stored at room temperature, whole watermelons can last for about a week and cut watermelons can last for about 24 hours.

If you notice any discoloration on your watermelon or if it smells off, throw it away immediately.

Thanks for reading.

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