Watermelon is a tasty and invigorating fruit that is relished by numerous individuals worldwide. It is a staple during the hot summer months, and it is a popular ingredient in many recipes.
However, like many fresh fruits, watermelon has a relatively short shelf life, and it can easily spoil if not stored properly. This is why it is essential to know how to preserve watermelon, so that you can enjoy it for longer and reduce waste.
If you want to store your watermelon for a long period of time, the best way to do it is to wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. You can also store it in the refrigerator which will help to keep it fresh for up to two weeks. If you want to freeze it, slice the watermelon and put it in a freezer-safe bag. It should last up to three months in the freezer.
Fortunately, there are other several effective techniques for preserving watermelon, including refrigeration, freezing, canning, and dehydrating, and in this article, we will explore these techniques in detail.
How To Preserve Watermelon
Watermelon is a popular and refreshing fruit that is enjoyed by many people around the world. It is believed to have originated in Africa, and it is now grown in many different countries.
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Watermelon is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent certain types of cancer. In addition to being nutritious, watermelon is also delicious and versatile.
It can be eaten on its own, used in smoothies, salads, and desserts, and even grilled or baked.
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Watermelon is also a great choice for hydration, as it is made up of about 92% water. This makes it an ideal snack during hot weather or after a workout, as it helps to replenish fluids and electrolytes.
Watermelon is also low in calories, with only about 46 calories per cup, which makes it a great option for weight management.
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If you have excess watermelon at your disposal, here is the step to preserve them from spoilage and for future use.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Watermelon for Preservation
When it comes to preserving watermelon, it is important to choose the right one. Follow these step-by-step instructions to select the perfect watermelon for preservation:
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- Look for a watermelon that is symmetrical and free of bruises or dents. A lopsided watermelon may indicate that it didn’t receive equal amounts of sun or water, which can affect its taste and texture.
- Check the color and texture of the watermelon. A ripe watermelon will have a deep green color and a slightly waxy texture. The bottom of the watermelon, where it sat on the ground, should have a creamy yellow spot. If the spot is white or green, the watermelon may not be ripe yet.
- Give the watermelon a knock. A ripe watermelon will have a hollow sound, while an unripe watermelon will sound dull.
- Please lift the watermelon and gauge its heaviness. A ripe watermelon will feel heavy for its size, indicating that it is full of water.
- Smell the watermelon. A ripe watermelon should have a sweet, slightly musky smell. If it doesn’t smell like anything, it may not be ripe yet.
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Step 2: Cleaning and Preparing Watermelon for Preservation
Now that you have selected the perfect watermelon for preservation, it’s time to clean and prepare it.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to get your watermelon ready for preservation:
- Wash the watermelon under running water. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the surface of the watermelon, especially around the stem area.
- Cut off the stem and blossom ends of the watermelon. This will make it easier to cut into pieces and remove the rind.
- Cut the watermelon into slices or cubes. Remove the rind and any seeds.
- Blot the watermelon pieces dry with a paper towel. This will help remove excess moisture, which can cause freezer burn or spoilage.
- If you are planning to freeze or can the watermelon, pack the pieces into containers or freezer bags. If you are dehydrating the watermelon, place the pieces on a dehydrator tray.
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Step 3: Preserving Watermelon
There are different methods of preserving watermelon. We have identified 4 proven methods through which you can preserve your watermelon. They are:
#1. Refrigerating Watermelon
Refrigerating watermelon is a simple and effective way to preserve it and keep it fresh for longer. Follow these step-by-step instructions to refrigerate your watermelon:
- Place the watermelon pieces into an airtight container or a plastic bag. Make sure the container or bag is large enough to hold the watermelon pieces without crushing them.
- Label the container or bag with the date of storage. This will help you keep track of how long the watermelon has been stored in the refrigerator.
- Place the container or bag in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature for storing watermelon is between 36- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Eat the watermelon within 3 to 5 days. While refrigeration can extend the shelf life of watermelon, it will eventually start to lose its flavor and texture.
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#2. Freezing Watermelon
Freezing is a great way to preserve watermelon for longer periods of time. Follow these step-by-step instructions to freeze your watermelon:
- Arrange the watermelon pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure the pieces are not touching each other.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the watermelon for about 2 hours, or until the pieces are frozen solid.
- Once the watermelon is frozen, transfer the pieces to a freezer bag or airtight container. Label the bag or container with the date of freezing.
- Place the bag or container in the freezer. The frozen watermelon can last up to 8 months in the freezer.
- Thaw the frozen watermelon in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Avoid using the microwave to thaw the watermelon, as this can cause it to become mushy.
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#3. Canning Watermelon
Canning is another way to preserve watermelon for long-term storage. Follow these step-by-step instructions to can your watermelon:
- Prepare your canning equipment, including jars, lids, and a canning pot. Make sure your jars and lids are clean and sterilized before use.
- Cut the watermelon into small, uniform pieces. Remove any seeds and excess moisture, as they can affect the quality of the canned watermelon.
- In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the watermelon pieces to the sugar syrup and heat the mixture until it comes to a boil.
- Ladle the hot watermelon and syrup into the prepared jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth, and place the lids and bands on top. Make sure the lids are tightly secured.
- Place the jars in the canning pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canning pot and let them cool at room temperature. Check the seals on the jars to ensure they are properly sealed.
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#4. Dehydrating Watermelon
Dehydrating watermelon is a great way to preserve it for a healthy snack or for use in recipes. Follow these step-by-step instructions to dehydrate your watermelon:
- Cut the watermelon into small, uniform pieces. Remove any seeds and excess moisture, as they can affect the quality of the dehydrated watermelon.
- Place the watermelon pieces on a dehydrator tray, making sure they are spaced out evenly and not touching each other.
- Turn on the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135°F. Dehydrate the watermelon for 8-12 hours, or until it is completely dry and brittle.
- Remove the dehydrated watermelon from the dehydrator and let it cool at room temperature.
- Store the dehydrated watermelon in an airtight container or resealable bag. Label the container with the date of dehydration.
- Keep the dehydrated watermelon in a cool, dry place. It can last for up to 6 months if stored properly.
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Tips for Preserving Watermelon
Here are some additional tips to help you preserve your watermelon:
- To cut the watermelon, it is recommended that you use a sharp knife. A dull knife can damage the flesh and lead to faster spoilage.
- If you are freezing watermelon, use freezer-safe containers or bags to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers with the date of freezing.
- When canning watermelon, make sure to follow safe canning practices to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Always use clean and sterilized jars, lids, and equipment.
- When dehydrating watermelon, make sure to remove any excess moisture and space out the watermelon pieces on the dehydrator tray for even drying.
- Consider using different preservation methods for different parts of the watermelon. For example, you can freeze the flesh for smoothies or use the rind for pickling.
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Advantages of Preserving Watermelon
#1. Longer Shelf Life
Preserving watermelon can significantly extend its shelf life and prevent it from going bad too quickly.
#2. Availability Year-Round
By preserving watermelon, you can enjoy it year-round, even when it’s out of season.
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Preserved watermelon can be easily stored and used for a variety of recipes, making meal prep and planning much more convenient.
#4. Nutritious Snack
Preserved watermelon is a healthy snack option that is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Disadvantages of Preserving Watermelon
#1. Texture and Flavor Changes
Preserved watermelon may have a different texture and flavor than fresh watermelon, which may be less appealing to some people.
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#2. Requires Equipment
Many preservation methods require specialized equipment, such as a dehydrator or canning equipment, which can be expensive.
Some preservation methods, such as canning and dehydrating, can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort.
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#4. Risk of Spoilage
If not preserved properly, watermelon can spoil and become unsafe to eat. It’s important to follow proper preservation techniques to ensure food safety.
How To Preserve Watermelon For Winter
Preserving watermelon for winter can be done through a variety of methods, including refrigeration, freezing, canning, and dehydration. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.
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How To Preserve Watermelon Without Fridge
If you don’t have a fridge, you can still preserve watermelon by storing it in a cool, dry place. This method is best for whole watermelons and can help extend their shelf life for several weeks.
Storing Watermelon In Mason Jars
Storing watermelon in mason jars is a popular method of preserving watermelon for later use. To do this, cut the watermelon into small cubes or balls and pack them tightly into clean mason jars.
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Cover the watermelon with its juice or a simple syrup, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Preserve the jars by sealing them tightly and placing them in a cool and dark location.
How To Preserve Watermelon Juice
Watermelon juice can be preserved by canning, freezing, or dehydrating. To can watermelon juice, sterilize canning jars and lids, heat the juice, and fill the jars.
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It is recommended to process the jars in a water bath canner for the appropriate duration. To freeze watermelon juice, pour the juice into freezer-safe containers or bags and store them in the freezer. To dehydrate watermelon juice, pour the juice onto a fruit leather tray or a parchment-lined baking sheet and dry it in a dehydrator or oven.
How To Preserve Watermelon Seeds
Watermelon seeds can be preserved by drying them in a warm, dry place until they are completely dry. Once dried, store the seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
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How To Preserve Watermelon Juice Without Fridge
To preserve watermelon juice without a fridge, you can use canning, freezing, or dehydrating methods. Canning involves sterilizing canning jars and lids, heating the juice, and filling the jars.
One possible paraphrase of the given sentence is: It is advisable to immerse the jars in a water bath canner for the recommended duration.
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To freeze watermelon juice, pour the juice into freezer-safe containers or bags and store them in the freezer.
To dehydrate watermelon juice, pour the juice onto a fruit leather tray or a parchment-lined baking sheet and dry it in a dehydrator or oven.
How Long Can You Keep Cut Watermelon In The Fridge
Cut watermelon can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days if stored properly. To store cut watermelon, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. It’s important to keep the cut watermelon away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
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How To Store Watermelon Once Cut
To store watermelon once it’s been cut, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Keep the cut watermelon away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination. It’s also a good idea to place the container in the fridge to keep the watermelon fresh for longer.
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Preserving watermelon is a great way to enjoy this refreshing fruit for longer and reduce food waste. Whether you choose to refrigerate, freeze, can, or dehydrate your watermelon, the key is to store it properly and use the right techniques.
By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can ensure that your watermelon stays fresh and delicious, and you can enjoy it in many different ways throughout the year. So, go ahead and try out these techniques and enjoy the taste of summer all year long!