There is nothing quite as refreshing as a freshly sliced watermelon on a hot day. But, have you ever wondered – How long does watermelon last? How does rotten watermelon look like?
Well, look no further. This article gives you all the details regarding the types of watermelon, how to identify spoiled watermelon as well as how best to store them.
There are different types of watermelon. Here is a short description of each.
Also known as orange watermelons, these fruits derive their name from the color of flesh.
The color can have a yellowish to orange hue and are available in both seeded and seedless form.
Examples include Desert King and Yellow Doll.
There are numerous seedless varieties. This trend became popular in the 1990s and was embraced by several interested parties.
The seeds are kept sterilized hence cannot mature into whole seeds. A seedless watermelon has few whitish flat seeds in the flesh.
Examples of seedless watermelon include Nova, Trio, Queen and King of Hearts.
These are identified by their small size. The ice box variety is the smallest among the watermelon family and each fruit can easily fit inside the refrigerator.
This type has a distinct sweet and dark red flesh. An example is the Sugar Baby variety.
These varieties are well known for their huge sizes. The name is derived from the connotation that it is enough to feed people out on a picnic.
It can weigh up to 50 pounds and usually comes in oblong, oval or round shapes. It also has a sweet, deep red flesh.
Examples include Charleston Grey and Jubilee.
5 Healthy Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is highly esteemed for the numerous health benefits it is packed with. These benefits include:
- Is low in calories. This makes it a healthy fruit to snack on throughout the day.
- The high water content (92%) is beneficial for keeping the body well hydrated, thus promotes proper cell function and blood circulation.
- Promotes bowel movement and a healthy gut due to its fiber content.
- The lycopene in watermelon that is responsible for the red flesh, is a super antioxidant which helps to buffer the body against free radicals that are associated with cancer and heart diseases.
- Contains amino acids and vitamins B6, A and C which helps in repairing the body and promotes a healthy immune system and brain development.
How Best To Store Watermelon
This works best for sliced or cut watermelon pieces. Whole watermelons are best stored at room temperature.
Refrigerating a whole watermelon reduces the nutritional benefits and alters the composition of the flesh.
For unpeeled slices of watermelon, wash the skin well to prevent any dirt from permeating into the flesh. Make clean slices without jagged edges to reduce deterioration in some parts.
Check for signs of spoilage in all the pieces and discard them. You can also refrigerate rind-less watermelon slices.
Store refrigerated watermelon slices in airtight or seal-able containers. De-seed them if they contain seeds.
For halved watermelons, wrap them tightly in cling film and store with the flesh facing up.
Eat refrigerated watermelon within a few days, and not more than one week.
Watermelon can be frozen in various ways.
A good way of prolonging the shelf life of watermelon is to blend it into a smooth consistency.
Pour the blended watermelon onto ice cube trays or Popsicle molds. Allow to set in the freezer before transferring the individual cubes into airtight containers or wrapper.
Get creative and combine other fruits, vegetables and spices to make tantalizing summer treats for the family.
You can also use watermelon puree to make ice cream. Frozen watermelon keeps well for several months.
When used with other ingredients, the shelf life will be determined by the fastest spoiling ingredient.
Another brilliant idea is to freeze the puree in sugar pack. Add a substantial amount of sugar and mix well with the puree. Divide into smaller batches and freeze. Use one batch at a time. These packs are great in smoothies.
When it comes to food preservation, drying is one of the most effective methods. The process of drawing out moisture guarantees a prolonged shelf life. Moisture is a conducive element for rotting.
Watermelons can also be dried. A dehydrator works best due to regulated temperatures as well as air-circulation system.
When drying watermelon, peel the rind and slice the watermelon into thin slices. Thick slices will take too long to dry out completely.
Drying can take a maximum of one day.
Dried watermelon can be used in various ways:
- Sprinkle chili flakes on dried watermelon for a spicy afternoon snack.
- Make candies. Simply crush the slices into fine crumbs. Add honey, orange zest and desiccated coconut. Mix them well until all the crumbs are well coated with honey. Divide and shape the mixture into small balls and arrange them onto a lined baking sheet. Leave them to set in the refrigerator until firm. Store in airtight bags and enjoy as a melt-in-your-mouth treat.
Pickled watermelon is popular in Soviet states like Ukraine and Russia.
There are numerous recipes for pickling. Some recipes call for the entire fruit, others use the rind only and some call for flesh alone.
Pickling involves preserving the fruit in a hot pickling solution. Ingredients used include vinegar, sugar and lemon juice. Add herbs and spices for a spicy infusion.
Thoroughly clean the fruit first and remove any blemished sections. Slice it into even sections and arrange inside mason jars.
Boil the reset of the ingredients and pour over the watermelon while still hot. Seal the jars and leave in room temperature until cool.
Refrigeration increases shelf life. Never leave the jars opened as this attract mold or bacteria.
Another creative preservation technique is to make jelly. Making jelly is fairly easy. It involves simmering the juice of fruits or vegetables until it reduces into a thick, clear mass.
Thickening agents like pectin and a sweetener are also added. Pectin helps the mixture to set and thicken.
Use a juicer or just blend the fruit and pass the blended mixture through a muslin cloth. Squeeze out the juice with your hands.
Besides making jelly, use the peels to make candied rind.
To make candied watermelon rinds, immerse cubed rinds into sugar syrup. Afterwards, reduce the mixture to a thick, jam like consistency through simmering. Furthermore, add spices like cinnamon to enhance the flavor of bland rind.
Allow the mixture to cool completely before drying.
Candied fruit peels are a wonderful pastime snack in addition to being great sources of fiber.
How to Identify Spoiled Watermelon
Deterioration occurs quickly due to high water content. Therefore, eat as soon as you grab one. Spoiled watermelon is easily identified in the following ways:
- It has a pungent odor.
- Has a sunken, mushy flesh.
- Discolored and darkened skin indicates that rotting is underway.
- Flesh separation is another sign of spoilage. The flesh has a porridge-like consistency.
Enjoy the juicy, refreshing watermelon in its fresh state as much as possible. For long-term use, try out any of the mentioned techniques that will guarantee a prolonged shelf life.