There comes a time when we have a massive amount of fresh produce. If you find yourself with lots of watermelons that you can’t possibly eat before they go bad, try freezing them!
Wait, can you freeze watermelon?
Watermelon has the highest water content compared to other fruits. So, indeed watermelon freezes incredibly well.
Frozen watermelons are irresistibly refreshing for hot summer days. Plus, you can bring the sweet flavor of summer regardless of the season!
Keep reading for more tips on freezing watermelon. In this article, we share everything you need to know about preserving this summer fruit!
How Long Does Watermelon Last?
Watermelons are non-climacteric fruits. They won’t continue ripening once they are picked from the vines.
Although they look hardy with their thick rinds, they are very perishable. If kept on the counter, they are only good for 1 to 2 days after purchase.
We need to count for the days spent from the farm to the store. If you harvest from your garden, you can keep it for 5 to 7 days.
This oval-shaped fruit comes in a large size, so it takes up a lot of space to refrigerate an uncut fruit. Refrigerating a whole fruit is not really a good idea, but it stretches the shelf life up to 5 more days.
Once cut and chilled, the lifespan is shortened to 3 to 4 days. Luckily, freezing watermelons improves their shelf life significantly up to 10 to 12 months. Surely you can freeze enough to last until the next season.
How To Freeze Watermelons In Dry Pack
Freezing watermelon is easy and takes less than 15 minutes. The procedures are similar to freezing cantaloupe. You can freeze it on its own or in a syrup pack.
Either way, we need to pick a fresh, fully ripe watermelon for freezing. A good candidate should feel heavy for its size and has solid rinds.
The flesh is firm and juicy with bright color—not pale. Don’t use decaying or fruit with dark spots.
When it comes to variety, it is all up to you. But, we need to remove all the seeds. So, working with seedless variety is more convenient, especially if you’re short on time.
Here is how you can freeze watermelons to last until the next season.
1. Select a ripe and fresh fruit.
2. Wash under running water and cut the fruit open.
3. Remove the seeds.
4. Cut the flesh into big chunks, thinner slices, bite-size cubes, small balls, popsicles, or any shapes to your liking. For popsicles, cut into a triangle and slide a stick halfway through the slice. You can also puree watermelon and freeze it in ice cube trays.
5. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
6. Lay the prepped watermelon in a single layer. Make sure the pieces have space in between to prevent them from sticking to each other during freezing. You may need to repeat this step instead of cramming it all in one tray.
7. Flash-freeze for several hours until they are frozen solid.
8. Once frozen, bag them up in a freezer bag. Consider packing the fruits in smaller packs for frequent usage, so you can easily pull one out whenever you need it.
9. Suck out as much air as possible from the bag.
10. Seal it tightly and label it with the freezing date.
11. Store in the freezer until you need it.
How To Freeze Sweetened Watermelons
1. Choose a fully ripe watermelon.
2. Wash, cut it open and remove the seeds.
3. Cut the flesh into balls, cubes, or small chunks.
4. Prepare 30% simple syrup from 1 ¾ cups of sugar and 4 cups of water. Stir gently until all the sugar dissolves. (*)
5. In a freezer-safe container, place the prepared watermelon and pour the syrup. Use enough syrup to cover the fruit completely.
6. Leave a headspace.
7. Seal tightly and label with the freezing date.
8. Freeze until you need it.
Thawing and Using Frozen Watermelon
Frozen watermelon is best enjoyed frozen or slightly thawed. Fruits with high water contents (like watermelon) will be too soft and mushy when they are fully thawed.
To thaw, simply place the frozen fruit in the refrigerator. If you’re short on time, thaw it under running water. Just make sure the package is tightly sealed.
Here are a few ideas to enjoy frozen watermelon:
- serve as a low-calorie, healthy snack
- use as ‘watermelon’ ice cubes with a glass of water
- make an easy sorbet or granita
- mix with other fruits for fruit salad
- make into smoothies and juice
- mix into refreshing summer drinks and cocktails (margarita, mojito, daiquiri)
There are plenty of creative ways to eat watermelon rather than just eating it as merely cut fruit. If you want hassle-free recipes, make yourself juice, smoothie, cocktails, or fruit salad. If you have more time, turn this summer fruit into refreshing sorbet, granita, icicle, or gazpacho.
According to the USDA Food Data Central, every cup of diced watermelon (152 g) contains 11.5 g of carbs, with 9.4 g being sugars. Each serving is relatively low in carbs and sugar.
Considering the high net carbs in watermelon, this fruit is deemed unsuitable to include in a ketogenic diet unless consumed in a very small amount. Consult your dietitian before making changes to your diet.
Yes. You can freeze cantaloupe similarly to freezing watermelon, on its own or in a syrup pack. Cantaloupe freezes well for up to 12 months. It may lose a bit of texture, but it works perfectly well for cold drinks and cooking recipes.
Watermelon is a large fruit that takes some time to eat up a single fruit. Whether to rescue leftovers or to preserve your bounty, freezing watermelon is worth trying.
You can freeze this summer fruit as is or in a syrup pack. With adequate preparation and a cold freezer, it can last up to a year! So, never again let this nutritious fruit go to waste!
*image by natalipopova/depositphotos