How to Store Cantaloupe to Keep It Fresh?

Here’s all about storing store-bought cantaloupe at home. Learn how to handle cantaloupe so that it ripens properly (if you bought it unripe) and lasts in storage as long as possible.

Not sure whether you should refrigerate your cantaloupe or let it sit on the counter? How to store a cantaloupe so that it stays fresh?

The Short Answer

An unripe cantaloupe should sit on the counter at room temperature until it ripens. Once ripe, cantaloupe lasts for up to a week at room temperature and for two to three weeks in the fridge.

That’s the main takeaway from this article.

If you’d like to learn a bit more, here’s what we cover below:

  • telling if your cantaloupe is ripe (it’s not obvious)
  • details on storing whole and cut cantaloupe
  • how to choose whether you should refrigerate yours or not

Sounds interesting? Read on.

Cantaloupe halved
Cantaloupe halved

How to Tell if a Cantaloupe Is Ripe?

Cantaloupes aren’t always harvested ripe.

That’s because it’s easier to ship unripe ones that are firm and difficult to bruise than ripe ones, which are slightly less firm and bruise more readily. Plus, it extends the shelf life and gives the supermarket more time to sell the fruit.

That’s why you need to know if your cantaloupe is ripe or not.

If either of these three signs is present, your cantaloupe fruit is most likely ripe:

  • the flower end (opposite to the stem end) is slightly soft (i.e., not as firm as the rest of the melon)
  • the skin visible between the netting has turned from green to yellow (i.e., the whole thing looks yellowish, not greenish)
  • it gives off a strong sweet aroma (i.e., you can clearly smell it)

If neither is there yet, the fruit is probably still unripe and needs to ripen before eating it.

(Technically, you can eat a slightly unripe cantaloupe, but its quality is best when it’s ripe.)

Knowing that, let’s talk about storage options for this melon.

Store-bought cut cantaloupe wrapped in foil
Store-bought cut cantaloupe wrapped in foil – another storage option

How to Store Cantaloupe

If your cantaloupe is unripe, leave it at room temperature for another 3 to 10 days until it ripens. Once ripe, place it in the refrigerator. To store cut cantaloupe, use resealable bags or storage containers and stick them in the fridge.

If your cantaloupe is still unripe, leave it on the counter. It needs a warm temperature and a bit of time (usually less than a week) to ripen.

The time a cantaloupe needs to mature is difficult to predict, but if you want one that’ll last as long as possible, choose a melon that’s firm, green between the netting, and doesn’t smell like much.

Once your cantaloupe is ripe, it’s time to decide whether you want to refrigerate it or not.

Cantaloupe half in a freezer bag
Cantaloupe half in a freezer bag

Should You Refrigerate Cantaloupe?

Once your cantaloupe is ripe, you can leave it at room temperature or refrigerate it, depending on how long you need it to last. If you’re going to consume it within a couple of days, it’s okay to store it on the counter. Otherwise, it’s best to stick it in the fridge.

As you can tell, it’s all about your needs related to storage time. If you know you’re going to eat it soon, leaving it in a fruit bowl at room temperature is okay. Plus, it saves a bit of that precious refrigerator space.

But if you bought it without a plan in place, hoping to get to it one day, chuck it in the fridge, where it’s going to last much longer.

Related: How long does cantaloupe last?

If your cantaloupe ends up in the fridge, consider placing it in a resealable plastic bag. That bag will stop the melon’s aroma from spreading all over the fridge and possibly being picked up by other foods.

Now, it’s time to talk about what to do with cut cantaloupe. Let’s jump right in.

How to Store Cut Cantaloupe to Keep It Fresh

Store cut cantaloupe sealed tightly and in the fridge. For halves, quarters, and slices, a resealable bag works best. If you’ve removed the rind and diced the melon, an airtight container is probably better.

Consider leaving the seeds if you’d like the cut-up cantaloupe to keep decent quality for longer (it lasts 3 to 4 days). That should help retain moisture for longer.

(Of course, that only works for halves and quarters, not for dice cantaloupe.)

How to store diced cantaloupe
In an airtight container: how to store diced cantaloupe
Tip

Wash your cantaloupe thoroughly before cutting it up. If you don’t, you may contaminate the flesh with any microbes from on the surface.

With all that said, let’s say you know you cannot use the cantaloupe before it spoils? Can you freeze it?

Can You Freeze Cantaloupe?

Main article: Can you freeze cantaloupe?

Cantaloupe freezes okay. It’s neither the best nor the worst fruit to freeze – it falls somewhere in the middle.

Like many other fruits, it turns soft after defrosting, making it a no-go option for fruit salads or enjoying it as-is.

(It’s not like you cannot use it in fruit salads, but hardly anyone enjoys soft and mushy fruits in those.)

That said, frozen cantaloupe works quite alright in smoothies and baked goods. So if you’re into either, you won’t have any issues using that frozen cantaloupe.

For more details on the freezing process and some photos, check out my article on freezing cantaloupe.