To keep a watermelon in good condition for an entire year, it is best to freeze it. The easiest way to do this is to place the dried fruit on a baking sheet and take it to the freezer. However, you can also cover it with sugar to preserve the sweetness of the watermelon, which can be lost at low temperature. To keep watermelon as fresh and sweet as possible, store it in a jar of syrup or fruit juice. Although the loss of some of the watermelon's natural texture is inevitable, the fruit will remain fit for consumption and to be used in vitamins and other recipes.
Method 1 of 4: Washing and Cutting the Watermelon
Step 1. Wash the watermelon under running water and dry
Wash the fruit thoroughly before cutting it to remove dirt and any other debris that might be trapped in it. Use a clean kitchen brush to remove stubborn dirt if necessary. Then dry the watermelon well with a paper towel.
Wash your hands with hot soapy water to avoid contaminating the watermelon
Step 2. Cut the watermelon into quarters with a sharp knife
Lay the fruit on a flat, stable surface such as a counter or cutting board. Cut the fruit side to side first, opening it in half. Then lay the halves on the work surface and cut them in half vertically.
- Another way to cut watermelon is to cut it into thin slices. Open it in half first and cut it horizontally into slices approximately 2.5 cm thick
- You can also peel the watermelon before cutting it. Cut off one of the tips of the fruit so you can get it upright. Then slowly cut the bark on all sides.
Step 3. Remove the husk and seeds from the pieces
Place the pieces of fruit back on your work surface. Pass the knife between the flesh of the fruit and the white and green layer of the skin to separate the two parts. Before moving on to the other slices, take the time to remove the lumps and throw them away.
While you can also discard the bark if you prefer, it is rich in nutrients and serves many things. Try, for example, frying the skin, preparing a preserve, making a juice or incorporating it into a dish such as a frittata
Step 4. Chop the fruit into 2.5 cm cubes
After removing the rind, the watermelon will be easy to cut into whatever shape you like. To freeze the fruit, the ideal is to chop it into cubes or balls. Try to make the pieces the same size so that they freeze at the same speed.
- To make watermelon balls, use a fruit bowl. The bola is a scoop similar to an ice cream scoop. Use it right after breaking the watermelon in half.
- Watermelon can also be frozen in slices, but it can end up taking up too much space. In addition, the fruit will also lose some of its texture in the freezer and will not taste very good raw.
- You can also freeze watermelon in juice or puree in a pot or ice cube tray. Just beat and sift the fruit before freezing it.
Method 2 of 4: Storing watermelons dry and unsweetened
Step 1. Spread the watermelon pieces on a baking sheet
Line the surface with a sheet of parchment paper so that the watermelon does not stick to the bottom. Distribute the pieces of fruit in a single layer, taking care to leave a little space between them.
- You can also place the watermelon pieces directly onto the pan. However, lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat will reduce the dirt.
- Pieces can stick together if they touch each other, which will make them difficult to store and unfreeze.
Step 2. Freeze the watermelon for two hours until the pieces are firm
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and set a timer. The pieces will be on point when they are hard. If you can still sink the fruit with your fingers, wait a little longer.
Use a spatula to loosen the frozen pieces of watermelon from the surface if you are having difficulty. Usually, the heat from the hand is enough to release the fruit. However, you can also let the baking sheet sit outside the freezer for a minute to make things easier
Step 3. Transfer the watermelon pieces to properly labeled freezer containers
Place all pieces of watermelon in a plastic bag or container with a lid. Leave about 1.5 cm of space at the top of the container in case the pieces expand. Then write the date on the bag so you know how long the watermelon has been in storage.
- It is very important to leave some space at the top of the pot. Otherwise, the container may end up opening on its own if the watermelon pieces expand.
- You can write the date directly on the bags with a black pen. To store watermelon in a pot, use adhesive labels.
Step 4. Store frozen watermelon for up to one year
Pieces can be frozen for an unlimited time at −18 °C. However, the fruit will start to lose quality after ten months.
Frozen in this way, the watermelon will go soft and lose some of its sweetness. Ideally, use the fruit as an ingredient for vitamins and other recipes
Step 5. Thaw the watermelon in the refrigerator before using it
When using the fruit, transfer the container in which it is stored to the refrigerator. Let the pieces soften and place them in the chosen recipe. Watermelon can be used even if it's still a little bit frozen, especially in liquid recipes like vitamins.
Once thawed, the watermelon will last around four days in the refrigerator. Throw it away if it starts to get too soft, builds up mold, or smells bad
Method 3 of 4: Freezing the Watermelon with Sugar
Step 1. Add sugar to the watermelon pieces
Wash and cut the watermelon normally. Then transfer the pieces to a bowl. Cover them with 500 g of refined sugar for every 2.5 kg of fruit and mix by hand or with a sturdy spoon.
You can also apply this method to cubes and balls. Sugar will preserve some of the sweetness lost from freezing
Step 2. Place the watermelon in freezer containers
After covering the pieces of fruit well with sugar, transfer them to plastic bags or containers with a lid. Leave about 1.5 cm of space at the top of the container in case the pieces expand, and note on the packaging the date you put the watermelons in the freezer.
In this method, it is not necessary to freeze the watermelon before storing it
Step 3. Store watermelon for up to one year
Keep it at a temperature around −18 °C or less. Watermelon can be frozen indefinitely, but the quality of the fruit will start to decay after 10 to 12 months.
Step 4. Thaw the watermelon in the refrigerator before using it
Transfer the containers in which you placed the pieces of fruit to the refrigerator and wait about 30 minutes for them to soften. Once thawed, the watermelon will be even softer than when it was fresh. Although it can be eaten straight, it is ideal to use it to prepare vitamins and other beverages.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days
Method 4 of 4: Preparing a syrup with syrup
Step 1. In a small saucepan, boil the water with sugar
Mix four cups (950 ml) of water with one cup and 3/4 (150 g) of refined sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
- You can also exchange 2/3 of the sugar for equal parts of corn syrup or honey.
- Another option is to use fruit juice. Try replacing the water with pineapple or orange juice or ginger. You can also set aside the syrup and pour the juice directly over the watermelon.
Step 2. Refrigerate the syrup for an hour
Transfer the syrup to a plastic container that you can refrigerate. Leave it there until it gets really cold. Take your time. If the syrup is still hot, wait at least until it is at room temperature.
Hot syrup can end up cooking the fruit. Wait a while for it to cool down. If you touch the syrup and find it too hot, it means that it needs to chill a little longer before being added to the watermelon
Step 3. Gradually mix the watermelon and syrup in a freezer container
Choose a good quality plastic bag or pot to freeze the watermelon. Turn half a cup (120 ml) of syrup into the container. Then add the watermelon. Finally, turn the rest of the syrup over the fruit until it completely sinks.
- Leave about 1.5 cm of space at the top of the container. That way, the watermelon pieces will have room to expand throughout the freeze without straining the lid of the pot.
- You can also soak the watermelon in fruit juice if you don't feel like making the syrup. The quality of the preserve will be practically the same.
Step 4. Cover the watermelon with a sheet of parchment paper
Keep the pieces of fruit submerged! To keep them the right way, use a waterproof paper. Wrap the paper tightly in the mouth of the container and close it with the lid. This will help keep the watermelon pieces submerged so they don't dry out.
Note on the container the date you prepared the preserve
Step 5. Freeze the watermelon for up to one year
Keep the fruit at or below −18 °C. When using it, defrost it in the refrigerator or immediately add it to the recipe you are preparing. Watermelon can be refrigerated for up to four days without spoiling.
Fruits stored this way are perfect for desserts and cocktails. The syrup preserves the quality and sweetness of the watermelon in a similar way to canned fruit
- Freezing will change the texture of the watermelon. Avoid freezing the fruit if you intend to eat it raw. Once frozen, the watermelon will be much softer than usual.
- The ideal is to use frozen watermelon in vitamins, drinks and other recipes that do not require fresh or whole fruit.
- Watermelon can also be frozen in fruit or puree form. Try putting the liquid on an ice tray to make watermelon cubes or popsicles.
- The above techniques can also be used to preserve different types of melon, such as yellow and cantaloupe.