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How to Tell When a Watermelon is Bad to Eat

Watermelon is a refreshing summer treat, but it’s important to know if a watermelon is good or bad to eat.

Checking for mold or an unpleasant odor is one way to tell if your watermelon is rotten.

You can also check the expiration date to see if the pre-cut watermelon has passed its prime.

In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to determine if a watermelon has gone bad.

Look for Signs of Spoilage

Before buying a watermelon, checking for mold or dark-colored spots on the surface could show that it has gone bad.

The mold could be black, brown, white, blue, or green, and it could be fuzzy (1).

However, the watermelon should be a consistent pine green color or striped. Striped watermelons have lime-green and darker pine-colored stripes that alternate.

These colors show the watermelon is in good health. If your watermelon is a different color, for example, black, don’t eat it.

Similarly, watermelon varieties differ in their internal appearance. For example, watermelons with yellow or orange flesh have their own names, such as yellow baby, yellow doll, desert king, and tendergold (2).

When watermelon has passed its prime, the crisp flesh shrivels. The flesh may even separate from the seeds.

Watermelon may become slimy and mushy in other cases. A healthy, edible watermelon should have a fresh aroma. If it smells tangy or sour, it has gone bad and is not good to eat.

Read Date to Determine Freshness

Pre-cut watermelon packages are typically labeled with an expiration date, which should be taken seriously.

Of course, most foods aren’t guaranteed to spoil by that date, so knowing what to look for is essential. Again, avoid melons that are slimy, discolored, strange-smelling, or growing anything fuzzy.

However, you can store sliced watermelon for three to five days if it is properly stored. Make eating watermelon a priority to avoid the need to discard it.

Watermelon that has not been refrigerated or cut should be consumed within 10 days. Uncut, unrefrigerated watermelon will turn bad after a week.

Watermelon should be eaten as soon as possible if it is unrefrigerated. Keep in mind that after 10 days, refrigerated, uncut watermelon will also spoil.

To prevent your uncut, refrigerated watermelon from going bad, eat it within 10 days of purchase.

Extend the Shelf Life

Always refrigerate your watermelon, whole or sliced. Store your watermelons in a refrigerator at a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, which is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (3).

Precut watermelon should be stored in an airtight container. This will preserve the flavor and freshness. Wrap your watermelon in aluminum foil or plastic if you’re in a hurry.

When freezing watermelon, proceed with caution. Some people recommend not freezing watermelon at all because thawing or cutting open a frozen watermelon piece may cause the juice to drip out.

If you want to go all out and freeze your watermelon, put it in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.


Check the expiration date on pre-cut watermelon before purchasing, and consume it within three to five days of purchase.

A whole watermelon will keep in your kitchen for about a week, though if it’s really hot where you live, that might be too long and the watermelon will spoil soon.

If that is the case, store your watermelon in the fridge for about 10 to 14 days.

Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a retired pharmacist, nutritionist, and food system expert. My interests include medical research and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to transform their lives.


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