It’s summertime, and that means watermelon is officially in season! We’ll help you take the guesswork out of how to pick, store, and freeze this delicious fruit. Plus, we’ll share some amazing kid-friendly watermelon recipes your family will love.

Graphic for post - how to pick, store and freeze watermelon. IMages are in a grid in front of a white background of watermelon, cut, in baggies, on colorful plates and whole.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

How to Pick, Store & Freeze a Watermelon

Watermelon is a beloved summertime treat for many of us, and for good reason. Not only is this pretty pink fruit refreshing on a hot day, watermelon also boasts quite a few health benefits. First, it helps with hydration, due to its 92% water content. If you have little ones that struggle with drinking enough water on hot days, watermelon is a great choice to offer.

Second, watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. It also contains a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, as well as other phytonutrients. Research has shown that lycopene may help support heart health and reduce inflammation. And third, since watermelon contains a small amount of fiber and plenty of water, it can aid in digestion.

So how do you go about picking a watermelon? And storing it? Cutting it? We’ll offer some pointers so that you can easily enjoy this sweet and healthy treat all summer long.

Box of watermelons at the grocery store.

How to Pick a Watermelon

Since cutting up a watermelon does take a bit of effort, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking a nice fresh one. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Shape: make sure the watermelon is symmetrical in shape and is free from any dents or cuts.
  • Weight: pick up the watermelon. You want one that feels heavy for its size. That means it’s ripe, full of water and juicer.
  • Spot: check the field (or the ground) spot. This is where one side of the melon has been in contact with the ground as it grows and ripens. This spot should be more yellow than white, which indicates a ripe watermelon. Avoid a melon with a white spot, as this means it may have been picked too early and didn’t reach peak ripeness.
  • Touch: look for firmness. A ripe watermelon should have a firm rind that doesn’t give easily when pressed. If it does, it may be overly ripe.
  • Sound: give the watermelon a tap. Although opinions differ on this, we always notice that a ripe watermelon will have a deep sound if you tap it with your fist. If it has more of a hollow sound, it may be a sign of a watermelon that’s too ripe.

Watermelon Types: while there are over 300 varieties of watermelon grown, the most common types of watermelon are seedless, picnic, icebox, and yellow/orange-fleshed.

A watermelon against a white background.

How to Store a Watermelon

You can store a whole watermelon at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you aren’t ready to cut it up for a bit, you can also store a whole watermelon in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

A half of a watermelon sitting on a cutting board with saran wrap on it.

How to Store Large Pieces of Watermelon

If you want to cut up one half of your watermelon at a time, wrap the uncut half tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. This will prevent your watermelon from picking up flavors or odors of other foods in your fridge. Use up the other half of the watermelon within 3-5 days.

A wooden cutting board with a container full of cubes of watermelon.

How to Store Cut Watermelon

Store watermelon that’s been cut in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How to Cut Watermelon

We recommend putting your watermelon in the fridge for a few hours and cutting it when it’s cold. A cold watermelon retains its juices better, keeping less juice from spilling onto your cutting board. And a cold watermelon seems to hold its shape better when cutting it.

You can cut a watermelon into wedges, cubes, shapes, sticks or balls.

How To Freeze Watermelon

Freezing watermelon is a great way to make use of the extra fruit for future recipes. While freezing extends a watermelon’s shelf life, its quality and freshness will decrease over time. Therefore, most recommend freezing it for no longer than 10 to 12 months. Here’s how to freeze a watermelon:

  1. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper
  2. Cut watermelon into cubes
  3. Spread out the cubes onto the baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch
  4. Place the baking sheet into the freezer and let freeze for 5-12 hours
  5. Once frozen, remove the baking sheet and place the cubes into a zip-lock baggie or stasher bag.
  6. Keep the frozen watermelon in the freezer until you are ready to use.

How to Use Frozen Watermelon

Frozen watermelon is perfect for making slushies, smoothies and sorbet. We don’t recommend thawing frozen watermelon to use in a fruit salad or to eat plain. This is because the texture will change greatly due to its high water content and will become mushy after you freeze and thaw it.

Some Amazing Kid-Friendly Watermelon Recipes

A Ziploc bag full of frozen watermelon cubes.

Get the recipe: How to Freeze a Watermelon

5 stars (1 rating)
Freezing watermelon is a great way to make use of the extra fruit for future recipes.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 watermelon

Instructions 

  • Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Cut watermelon into cubes. Spread out the cubes onto the baking sheet, making sure they don't touch.
    A baking sheet with cubes of watermelon on a parchment paper
  • Place the baking sheet into the freezer and let freeze for 5-12 hours.
    A baking sheet with cubes of watermelon frozen.
  • Once frozen, remove the baking sheet and place the cubes into a zip-lock baggie or stasher bag.
    A baking sheet with frozen watermelon cubes and hands putting the frozen watermelon cubes into a Ziploc bag.
  • Keep the frozen watermelon in the freezer until ready to use.
    A Ziploc bag full of frozen watermelon cubes.

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