Warning Signs Your Watermelon Has Gone Bad

As the warmer months are fast approaching, so are the staples that make each summer delicious. Chief amongst summer cuisine and juiciest of fruits is the wonderful watermelon, so scrumptious, so sweet, so refreshing, and sometimes so difficult to judge overripeness.

As is the case with many melons, its sturdy rind makes it hard to tell whether or not it's in that goldilocks zone of not ripe enough and overripe. Although smacking it a few times and listening for the timbre of ripeness may be fun and feel sage-like, there are better ways to avoid a rotten watermelon.

According to MyRecipes, when inspecting whole watermelons, check to see if the skin is soggy. Look for patches of discoloration or mold, as these are clear signs that the watermelon has gone bad. A ripe watermelon should have firm, taut skin with a light green and dark green-striped pattern. If there is some yellow or white coloration at the base of the watermelon, this is fine — it's actually a sign that the watermelon is ripe, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Checking the insides of the watermelon

As mentioned before, the ripeness of your watermelon will usually require you to cut into it to find out whether or not it's good to eat, per Luckybelly. If the flesh of your watermelon is slimy, off-colored, foul-smelling, or growing something fuzzy, this means it has gone bad and should be thrown away (after being wrapped in layers of plastic bags to avoid stinking up the whole kitchen). These traits also apply to pre-cut and pre-packaged watermelon. Of course, as always, it is best to try to consume your food before the labeled expiration date.

To avoid spoilage, store your cut watermelon in the fridge with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. The Kitchn recommends shorter periods of storage for smaller pieces of watermelon — the longer you leave it, the more flavor the fruit will lose. Whole watermelons can keep at room temperature for up to 5 days, but keep the longest in the fridge. You can also freeze cut watermelon, although upon thawing, the watermelon will have lost some structural integrity and will therefore not be as pleasant a texture as fresh watermelon.