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4 Easy Signs That Will Teach You How to Know if Watermelon is Bad


Citrullus lanatus is watermelon – the giant green fruit, juicy and full of water. This is one of the most popular summer fruits consumed across the world.

If you are like me then you might end up buying the whole fruit instead of a portion to save a few bucks. If this happens there two main problems that are likely to occur.

  • You pick a fruit that is not ripe
  • You pick a fruit that has gone bad

A ripe watermelon feels heavy, gives a hollow sound when you knock on the fruit and also has a large yellow spot. This spot comes from being left on the vine for a long time which means that the fruit is highly likely to be ripe. Telling whether a watermelon is ripe is quite easy.

Now the second problem is even bigger than the first one. Sometimes the signs of a rotten watermelon are visible and easy to identify but not always. This is not one of those fruits you can simply pop open and consume in one shot.

So you might be storing them on your countertop or even in the fridge. Wherever you store, remember that the fruit should ideally be consumed within 3 to 4 weeks after harvest. You do not know the time of harvest in the case of store-bought melons.

If you have to store the watermelon, remember that uncut melon last longer. You can store it for a week, outside or for 2 weeks when stored in the fridge. Leaving all the guessing behind, how to know if watermelon is bad or the fruit has not gone bad? 

What Is This Tutorial About?

I am going to tell you how to find out whether a watermelon you bought is fresh or spoilt. I will give you 4 easy ways to figure out the freshness of the fruit.

What do you need to carry out these tests to tell the freshness of the fruit? You can simply gauge the results using your sense of smell or with a physical examination. I will simplify them for you so that you can be sure that you are only eating fresh melon this summer.

How to Know if Watermelon is Bad?

1. Visible signs on the outside

There are many telltale signs that a bad watermelon might have on the outside. These are signs that you might notice even before you cut the fruit open.

  • The appearance of a dark moldy spot like the one in the above picture is the easiest way to tell that the watermelon has gone bad. Sometimes it is not this big a spot. It might be too small that you might miss it. But this will be a melon that has started rotting on the inside and it will not last long once you take it home. So every time you pick a watermelon, look closely for dark spots.
  • Some areas appear mushy- sometimes this mushy spot might come from damage but then this is the type of melon that is likely to rot faster than the others. Stay away from these watermelons.
  • Cracks on a melon could be another sign of rotting on the outside. Cracks could occur due to the fruit rotting or losing its water content. Foamy discharge from the cracks is an even stronger indication of rotting.
  • A rotten watermelon has a strong sour odor while a fresh one has a pleasant odor. Do not worry if you are not able to decipher anything from the smell. This is not one of those fruits that have a distinct fruity odor when ripe and therefore even when it is bad you might sometimes not be able to tell from the smell.

2. Signs after cutting fruit

Once the fruit is cut you can easily tell whether it is bad or fresh to consume. If you happen to store the fruit in the refrigerator, make sure that you wrap it tight in a cling film.

You can also use an airtight fridge storage container for cut fruits. Check out this 8 piece pack of sturdy glass fridge containers to store cut watermelons and other food items. This makes sure that your fruit doesn’t dry up.

If the cut piece shows white moldy spots or mushy portions then it has gone bad. Telling it from the smell is easy in this stage.

The other sign of a bad watermelon is a shriveled look. When the watermelon starts losing its water content it loses its taste first and then goes bad. The seeds start separating from the skin and the fruit looks dry and shrunken.

3. The expiry date for cut fruits

For cut fruits that you buy from a reliable store, you might find a date of expiry on the box. This makes it easier to know when to toss the fruit. Ideally, make sure that you consume your cut watermelons a day before the expiry date on the label.

4. Shelf-life based judgment

Before you go about looking for signs comes the judgement based on the shelf life of this fruit. Watermelons once cut, cannot be stored for more than 5 days even when refrigerated.

Uncut fruits, when stored in the counter top, should be consumed preferably within 10 days. If you do store it in the fridge as whole fruit, do not keep it for more than 3 weeks.

If you like to freeze everything, there is good news. Even watermelon can be frozen. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for months.

Check out this economic combo of 60 freezer storage Ziploc bags that you can use for storing cut watermelons. However, remember that frozen watermelon doesn’t taste that good once thawed. You can use it in your infuser bottle for a quick cold drink on a sunny day. You can even use it in smoothies.

Did I answer your question?

I hope that I could give you a brief insight into identifying bad watermelons. These tips are based on the information I could gather from my friends who cultivate watermelons in their fields and culinary experts who love to add this fruit in their desserts.

Do you have any other tips that you have heard or learned from your experience? Please share with us on this site.