This is all about storing store-bought melon at home. Learn how to handle your melon so that it ripens properly (if you bought it unripe) and lasts in storage as long as possible.
Not sure if you should refrigerate your cantaloupe or let it sit on the counter? How to store a melon so that it stays fresh?
That is the main conclusion of this article.
If you want to learn a little more, here’s what we cover next:
- know if your melon is ripe (not obvious)
- details on the storage of whole and cut melons
- how to choose if you should refrigerate yours or not
Sounds interesting? keep reading
How to know if a melon is ripe?
Melons are not always harvested ripe.
This is because it is easier to ship unripe ones, which are firm and difficult to bruise, than ripe ones, which are slightly less firm and bruise more easily. Also, it extends the shelf life and gives the supermarket more time to sell the fruit.
That is why you need to know if your melon is ripe or not.
If any of these three signs are present, your melon fruit is most likely ripe:
- the flower end (opposite the stem end) is slightly soft (i.e. not as firm as the rest of the melon)
- the visible skin between the netting has changed from green to yellow (i.e. everything looks yellowish, not greenish)
- gives off a strong sweet aroma (i.e. you can smell it clearly)
If none are there yet, chances are the fruit isn’t ripe yet and needs to ripen before you eat it.
(Technically, you can eat a slightly immature melon, but its quality is better when ripe.)
Knowing that, let’s talk about storage options for this melon.
How to store melon
If your cantaloupe is not ripe, leave it at room temperature for another 3-10 days until ripe. Once ripe, place it in the refrigerator. To store cut melon, use resealable bags or storage containers and store in the refrigerator.
If your cantaloupe isn’t ripe yet, leave it on the counter. It needs a warm temperature and a little time (usually less than a week) to mature.
The length of time it takes a melon to mature is hard to predict, but if you want one that will last as long as possible, choose a melon that is firm, green between the mesh, and doesn’t smell much.
Once your cantaloupe is ripe, it’s time to decide whether or not you want to refrigerate it.
Should you refrigerate the melon?
Once your melon is ripe, you can leave it out at room temperature or refrigerate it, depending on how long you need it to last. If you are going to consume it within a couple of days, it is fine to keep it on the counter. Otherwise, it is best to put it in the fridge.
As you can see, it’s all about your storage time needs. If you know you’re going to eat it soon, it’s okay to leave it in a fruit bowl at room temperature. Plus, it saves some of that valuable fridge space.
But if you bought it without a set plan, hoping to get to it one day, throw it in the fridge, where it will last much longer.
Related: How long does the melon last?
If your melon ends up in the fridge, consider placing it in a resealable plastic bag. That bag will prevent the aroma of the melon from spreading throughout the refrigerator and possibly being absorbed by other foods.
Now is the time to talk about what to do with the cut melon. Let’s jump right in.
How to store cut melon to keep it fresh
Store the cut melon well sealed and in the refrigerator. For halves, quarters, and slices, a resealable bag works best. If you removed the rind and diced the melon, an airtight container is probably best.
Consider leaving the seeds if you want cut melon to maintain decent quality longer (lasts 3-4 days). That should help retain moisture longer.
(Of course, that only works for halves and quarters, not diced melon.)
Wash the melon well before cutting it. If you don’t, you can contaminate the meat with any microbes on the surface.
With all that said, let’s say you know you can’t use the melon before it goes bad. Can you freeze it?
Can you freeze melon?
Melon freezes well. It’s neither the best nor the worst fruit to freeze – it falls somewhere in between.
Like many other fruits, it becomes mushy after thawing, making it a great choice for fruit salads or enjoying as is.
(Not that you can’t use it in fruit salads, but hardly anyone enjoys soft, mushy fruits in them.)
With that being said, frozen melon works quite well in smoothies and baked goods. So if you like either one, you’ll have no problem using that frozen melon.
For more details on the freezing process and some photos, check out my article on freezing cantaloupe.