Watermelons are abundant during the summer season. The large fruits are harvested at the peak of ripeness. After you harvest or purchase a fresh watermelon, it has a limited storage life. Storing the watermelon past its storage life can cause it to spoil. Knowing the signs of spoilage will help you to determine if the watermelon is safe to consume. Consuming a spoiled watermelon puts you at risk for a serious food-borne illness.
Examine the watermelon carefully. Look for areas of mold or dark brown or black spots. The spots indicate that the watermelon has rotted and it needs to be discarded.
Look at the cut watermelon slices. Inspect them closely for signs of slime and discoloration. Throw away the watermelon if you notice any of these signs because they indicate spoilage.
Smell the watermelon. If you notice a sour or foul odor, discard the watermelon to prevent the risk of a food-borne illness.
Store the unwashed watermelon at room temperature to ripen for up to five days. Store sliced watermelon in the refrigerator. Use the stored watermelon within three to four days after you slice it.
References and ResourcesVirginia Tech University; Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers; Renee Boyer; May 2009
Texas A&M University; Safe Storage of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables; Amanda Scott; September 2008
Colorado State University; If Your Freezer Stops; L.Price et al.; December 2010
Iowa State University Extension; Storing and Discarding; Peggy Martin
University of Wisconsin Extension; Keeping Food Safe; Barbara H. Ingham et al.