Can watermelons ripen in the refrigerator

The watermelon - origin, ripeness & storage

It is uncertain whether the Chuck Norris jokes that are currently circulating will at some point achieve the cult status of Fritzchen or Ostfriesen jokes, but: There are some real gems among the countless of the admittedly rather flat superhero puns. For example this humorous gem: Chuck Norris prefers to eat melon yogurt - with whole fruits. Personally, I have never eaten melon yoghurt, but I can imagine the combination to be quite delicious. But more about the taste aspect of the impressive fruit (of the vegetables? The berry?) Later, we will first dedicate ourselves to the hard facts that are known about the already visually impressive heavyweight. I mean facts about the melon, of course, and not Chuck Norris.

The botany

Even if the melon is counted as a fruit by most people, from a botanical point of view it is a fruit vegetable from the cucurbitaceae family. A distinction is usually made between watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) and sugar melons (Cucurbita melo), which in botany are not considered to be related groups. The sugar melon is more closely related to the cucumber than to the watermelon. From its original home in the arid regions of South and Central Africa, the melon first spread to the warm regions of Western Europe and then made the leap across the Atlantic to America from Spain. Today, China is one of the largest growing areas in the world with around 70 percent of total production. In Germany, melons can only be grown in regions with a particularly mild climate, for example in the Palatinate or in the southern Rhine Valley.

Watermelon Knowledge

The name suggests that the flesh of the watermelon has a water content of up to 95 percent and is therefore particularly popular as a summer thirst quencher. The pulp owes its bright red color to the carotenoid lycopene, which, in addition to its strong coloring power, is also said to have a positive effect on the immune system. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest watermelon of all time weighed a whopping 122 kilograms and was harvested in America in 2006. But even the "smaller" specimens that find their way into local retailers already weigh between two and five kilos. Fortunately, little of this lands on your hips when you eat it - 100 grams of watermelon contain just 30 calories. Most of the varieties bred nowadays (there are around 150 different ones) are “low in seeds”, while the kernels with a high content of “good” proteins and fats are particularly valuable from the point of view of nutritionists. Tip: Melon seeds roasted in a pan and lightly salted are a great and healthy crunchy topping for summer salads.

Ripe or not?

And now to the number one melon question: How can I tell in the store whether a watermelon is unripe, ripe or already overripe? The color of the skin and the smell of the (not cut) watermelon do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the degree of ripeness. Nevertheless, you don't have to buy a pig in a poke or a melon in a bowl: the degree of ripeness can be quickly determined with a simple tap test. A ripe melon makes a hollow, muffled sound when you tap it with your knuckle. A lighter (almost metallic) sound indicates an overripe fruit, while a very soft or completely absent sound indicates an unripe melon. Since a whole melon is usually too much for our two-person household, I buy sliced ​​melons from the Turkish greengrocer I trust. Conveniently, the friendly dealer offers his customers a tray with pieces to try, so a bad purchase is actually impossible. If I buy a halved or quartered melon in the supermarket (where you cannot try it) a rich red or pink color is a good indicator of freshness and the right degree of ripeness. Floury-like pulp or brownish mushy discoloration are a sign of overripe or already fermented fruits - then it's time to put your fingers off.

The keeping

Since the fruits hardly ripen afterwards, a melon that has not been cut can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three weeks (provided there is enough space). If melons have already been cut, the cut surface should be covered with cling film. The shelf life is shortened here to two to three days. Frozen melon pieces become mushy when thawed, so this storage method is only recommended for later use for smoothies or desserts.

The slicing

Actually, you don't need more than a sturdy cutting board and a sufficiently large knife to cut the mega fruit into slices, sticks or cubes. But of course there are countless tips and lifehacks on the Internet for this too. You can find a particularly successful YouTube video on the subject under the following link: Cut watermelon correctly

If you like my post and would like to read something about the very tasty sugar melons, let me know in the comments - the melon season has only just begun. Good Appetite!