You have some leftover watermelon and you know you won’t finish it before it goes bad. However, you don’t want it to go to waste. Can you freeze watermelon?
Going through a whole watermelon usually takes at least a couple of days. Often more. Even if we buy halves or quarters, it’s often too much to spend before the watermelon goes bad.
Now you are looking for a way to preserve those leftovers and freezing is the first thing that comes to mind.
Sure, you can put the fruit in the freezer and see how it goes. But you probably want to know how that works beforehand. Or learn the best way to freeze leftover watermelon.
Let’s talk about it.
Can you freeze watermelon?
Like many other fruits, watermelon loses its texture after freezing and thawing. It turns out mushy and doesn’t taste as good as fresh watermelon. My wife said that she tastes like “withered cucumber”.
Here are a couple of chunks after defrosting:
Does it mean you shouldn’t freeze the fruit? Not really.
What it means is that frozen and thawed watermelon has a limited number of uses. And eating it on its own is definitely not one of them.
I cover a couple of ideas for how to use those frozen chunks later in the article.
How to Freeze Watermelon Chunks
You’ve probably heard of fruit packed with sugar or syrup for freezing (eg, in my article on freezing oranges).
While those options have their place, They are very time consuming or add extra sugar to the fruit.. Both are big no-nos for me.
This is why I believe that freezing watermelon chunks is the best way to freeze the fruit. All you need is a cookie sheet, a silicone mat (optional, but helpful), and a freezer bag or container.
Once you have them on hand, you can get down to business. Here is the step by step:
- Cut the watermelon into slices. I prefer thinner slices, so it’s easy to remove all the seeds, but you can do it however you like.
- Remove the seeds and cut the shell. You can leave the seeds in, but that means you’ll have to do it after thawing. I can’t be bothered with that, so I do it right away.
- Cut the fruit into pieces. If you have a specific recipe in mind, cut the slices into the shapes and sizes needed for that. If not, feel free to go freestyle (that’s what I do).
- Pre-freeze the pieces. Take a cookie sheet and cover it with a silicone mat if you have one. Lay out the pieces in a single layer so they don’t touch each other. Then, place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the pieces are frozen solid. A couple of hours should be enough.
- Transfer the frozen pieces to a freezer bag. In this way, you recover the tray and the fruit takes up much less space in the freezer. Also, the chunks don’t stick together, so you can easily take just one or two if you need to.
That is. The melon chunks are frozen and ready to use when you need them.
If you are not using a silicone mat when pre-freezing, it may be difficult to remove the frozen pieces from the tray with your fingers. If that’s the case, use a spatula.
How to thaw frozen watermelon
As usual, there are a couple of options when it comes to defrosting. Nothing revolutionary, but I decided to list them anyway:
- In the fridge. The time it takes for the fruit to thaw completely in the refrigerator depends on the size of the pieces. My pieces (the ones you can see in the video and photos), spread out in a single layer, took about five hours to thaw.
- At room temperature. Thawing at room temperature is only an option for smaller pieces that will thaw in about an hour (mine took exactly an hour to thaw). Keep in mind that you should eat the melon immediately after thawing it if you go this route. Most people (including me) don’t recommend this way.
- Skip defrosting. In many cases, you can use the fruit without defrosting it first.
How to use frozen watermelon
Here are some ideas for how you can use your leftover frozen watermelon:
- smoothies If you leave the fruit frozen, you can use those pieces instead of ice cubes. More flavor, less water.
- Water scent. Watermelon infused water is a great drink on a sweltering day. It also works for alcoholic drinks and cocktails.
- Fruit salad. Make sure that most of the salad is made from fresh fruits. Fresh fruit is better than frozen and thawed any day of the week, but most people won’t know the difference if a small serving is from the latter category. Try your watermelon first though.
- Any recipe that calls for watermelon puree. The thawed melon is almost like a puree. You can probably puree using just a fork instead of a blender. However, you may need to strain some water.