How long does watermelon last after harvested from its vine or sliced and refrigerated? This is probably a good question for first time planters of the fruit.
Watermelon, a popular tropical, juice fruit, is loaded with vitamins and essential properties that help lower the risk of certain health conditions. It is a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, carotenoid lycopene, amino acids and antioxidants.
As far as shelf life is concerned, watermelon can last up to 3 days to 2 weeks. The storage duration depends on when is harvested, how it is cut and how ripe it is.
But what matters is that you should be familiar with how long does watermelon last and how to properly store it. Keep in mind that once picked or harvested off the vine, its life is limited, especially when ripe.
How Long Does Watermelon Last When Harvested?
If this is your first time to grow watermelon, one of the questions that probably cross your mind is when does the fruit stays fresh after being picked off the vine.
After 75 to 80 days from the time you planted the seed, the fruit is normally ready to harvest. Hence, tracking the days is very vital and this should be done the moment you start planting it.
If the seed is bought in a packet from a local store, you may need to read the labels. The time it grows full and can be harvested is usually included in the packaging. From the vine, it must be picked 2 weeks of its ripening period.
Depending on the species, watermelons can be picked as early as 65 days after planting the seeds or up to 90 days. It also depends on the size as small watermelons ripen much quicker than the larger ones. Therefore, 75 to 80 days is a perfect duration to keep in mind.
After harvesting, the fruit is good to consume within 3 to 4 days. It is also possible to extend up to 10 days but that needs proper storing (refrigerated) and caring.
Signs that Indicate Ripe Watermelon
Like most fruits, watermelon ripens with a sign of course. The obvious indication is in the color. It should turn light green with some yellow that makes up the stripe effect. Eventually, this becomes brown and crumbly in texture.
2. Hollow Sound
Another sign that tells you to pick the watermelon and enjoy its delicious fruit is the hollow sound. Simply knock on the outer rind and pay attention to the sound.
Additional Tips when Harvesting Watermelon
- Water gently and only when necessary a week before the fruit ripens. This is to avoid easily breaking the fruit from the vine. Plus, over watering can reduce the sweet flavor of the fruit.
- Gently twist (turn left and right, repeat) the watermelon to remove from the vine. Do not forcibly pull it.
- Use a good, sharp knife to cut the tendril close to the watermelon fruit.
How Long Does Watermelon Last When Refrigerated?
Typically, watermelon lasts for 3 or 4 days only after being harvested. But to ensure it doesn’t shorten or rather extend its good flavor, it is recommended to keep it refrigerated.
It is even better if you do not cut it and place the whole fruit in the fridge. That can stay for up to 2 to 3 weeks. You can also just store in a cool, dry place like the counter for 7 to 10 days.
Cut watermelons have shorter life span. If stayed just on the counter, it is good for only 1 day. If you refrigerate it, this fruit can be stored for 3 to 5 days.
Since watermelon is too large to consume in a day, half or 2/3 of the left part should be kept in the fridge. To avoid being rotten, it must be stored in an airtight plastic container or resealable bag right after slicing. You may also wrap it in a foil.
Different Ways to Cut Watermelon
Watermelon can be sliced in 2 ways – in wedges and in cubes. When cutting, do it gently as it can get watery and messy.
1. Cut by Wedges
Before you cut the fruit, wash it off over running water to remove dirt and impurities on the rind. Dry clean with soft cloth or paper towel. Slice both ends and then cut the whole fruit in half, lengthwise.
Cut side down of each slice of the same manner to have four halves. Then start cutting 1 to 1 and 1/2 inch thick, wedge-shaped pieces.
2. Cut by Cubes
For this cut, you need to slice in half, lengthwise and get rid of the outer rind first. Now that you have peeled the fruit, cut each in halves, lengthwise and crosswise. Start slicing the pieces into smaller cubes, about 1 to 2 inch thick. Remove the seeds with the tip of the knife or fork.
It is important to know how long does watermelon last. This gives you an idea regarding when’s the right time to pick and how long to eat or keep it.