You have some leftover watermelon, and you know you won’t finish it before it goes bad. You don’t want it to go to waste, though. Can you freeze watermelon?
Going through an entire watermelon usually takes at least a couple of days. Often more. Even if we buy halves or quarters, that’s often too much to go through before the watermelon spoils.
Now you’re 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’d probably want to know how that works out beforehand. Or learn what’s the best way to go about freezing leftover watermelon.
Let’s talk about that.
Can You Freeze Watermelon?
Like many other fruits, watermelon loses its texture after freezing and defrosting. It turns out mushy and doesn’t taste nearly as good as fresh watermelon does. My wife said that it tastes like a “withered cucumber.”
Here are a couple of chunks after I thawed them:
Does it mean that you shouldn’t freeze the fruit? Not really.
What it means is that the frozen and thawed watermelon has a limited number of uses. And eating it on its own definitely isn’t one of them.
I cover a couple of ideas on how to use those frozen chunks later in the article.
How To Freeze Watermelon Chunks
You’ve probably heard about sugar-packing or syrup-packing fruits for freezing (e.g., in my article about freezing oranges).
While those options have their place, they’re either time-consuming or add extra sugar to the fruit. Both are big no-nos for me.
That’s why I think 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 those on hand, you can get to work. Here’s the step by step:
- Slice the watermelon. I go with thinner slices, so it’s easy to remove all the seeds, but you can do it however you like.
- Remove the seeds and cut off the rind. You can leave the seeds, 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 chunks. If you have a specific recipe in mind, cut the slices into shapes and sizes needed for that. If not, feel free to go freestyle (that’s what I do).
- Pre-freeze the chunks. Take a cookie sheet and line it with a silicone mat if you have one. Spread the pieces out in a single layer so that they don’t touch each other. Then put the cookie sheet into the freezer until the pieces freeze solid. A couple of hours should do the trick.
- Transfer the frozen pieces into a freezer bag. This way, you get the tray back, and the fruit takes much less space in the freezer. Plus the chunks don’t stick to each other, so you can easily take only one or two if needed.
That’s it. The melon chunks are frozen and ready to go whenever you need them. You can use the same technique to freeze cantaloupe or freeze honeydew melon chunks too.
If you’re not using a silicone mat when pre-freezing, it might 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 thawing. Nothing revolutionary, but I decided to list them anyway:
- In the fridge. The time needed for the fruit to completely thaw in the refrigerator depends on the size of your pieces. My pieces (those that you can see in the video and photos), spread out in a single layer, took about five hours to thaw.
- At room temperature. Defrosting at room temperature is only an option for smaller chunks that will thaw within about an hour (mine took exactly an hour to thaw). Please note that you should eat the melon immediately upon thawing if you opt for this route. Most people (me included) don’t recommend this way.
- Skip thawing. In many cases, you can use the fruit without having to thaw it first.
How To Use Frozen Watermelon
Here are some ideas on 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 taste, less water.
- Water flavoring. Watermelon-infused water is an excellent drink on a sweltering day. It also works for alcoholic drinks and cocktails.
- Fruit salads. Make sure the bulk of the salad is made of fresh fruits. Fresh fruit beats frozen and thawed one any day of the week, but most people won’t notice the difference if a small portion is from the latter category. Taste your watermelon first, though.
- Any recipe that calls for watermelon puree. Thawed melon is almost like a pureed one. You can probably puree it using only a fork instead of a blender. You might need to strain some of the water, though.