I love watermelon! For me, there is nothing as refreshing as digging my teeth into a sweet and crunchy slice of watermelon and savoring the cool treat. It would be nice if I can have it more often. I live alone, so I just buy the pre-cut watermelons from the supermarket. But I am thinking I could enjoy it more often and save money at the same time if I just buy the entire fruit, slice it myself, and freeze the slices. But I am not sure if it would remain as fresh as I like it.
Watermelon is indeed a refreshing and cooling treat, especially during hot days or after doing physical activities that make you sweat. This is because watermelon has high water content and comes with vitamins and minerals, so it really replenishes your body fluid and nutrients. It tastes like summer, too.
The good news is, you can have the taste of summer in your pantry all year long. Freezing watermelon preserves its taste and nutrients, although thawed watermelon would not have the same texture as the fresh one.
Can You Freeze Watermelon?
Watermelon is 92% water. It is rich in vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A, as well as electrolytes and minerals such as potassium and sodium. It is also low in calories with only 46 calories per cup.
You can enjoy this nutritious treat all year long by freezing it. It can last for 8 to 12 months in your freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating. Defrosted watermelon is good up to four days, but it is best to consume it immediately as its texture deteriorates as it thaws.
When you freeze watermelon, its water content expands into ice, bursting the cell walls and making them soft. Fresh watermelon is crunchy and juicy, but freezing and thawing makes it mushy and watery.
Frozen watermelon is ideal for prepared food such as sorbets, slushies, smoothies, and desserts that do not need watermelon slices.
If you want to eat frozen slices raw, it is best to just partially thaw it so it remains frosty.
Freezing watermelon also preserves the taste and shape of the fresh watermelon. So, it is important to freeze good quality watermelon, prepare it properly, and cut it based on your desired size and shape.
How to Freeze Watermelon?
Freezing watermelon is straightforward. Just follow the steps and tips.
- Choose watermelon at its peak ripeness, neither overripe nor underripe.
- Wash the watermelon thoroughly under cool running water. You can also scrub it with a brush.
- Dry it with a towel.
- If you are not yet ready to slice, you can leave it in the refrigerator for about a week.
- Leaving it at room temperature can slightly ripen the fruit
- Putting the entire fruit in too cold refrigerator (less than 4°C or 39.2°F) can cause chilling injury or internal discoloration and sogging.
- When ready to slice, cut the watermelon in half.
- Cut it in whatever shape you want, whether slices, chunks, cubes, or balls.
- Remove the seeds and rind as best as you can.
- Optional: Flash freeze if you do not like the pieces to stick together.
- Spread the pieces in a baking pan, parchment paper, or plate.
- Put it in the freezer for a few hours.
- Once the pieces are firm, transfer to sealed container.
- Optional: Sweeten the watermelon before freezing, either by sprinkling sugar or pouring syrup.
- Sprinkle sugar, just enough to coat the pieces, roughly 900 grams white sugar for a whole watermelon about 4500 grams.
- Pour syrup in the watermelon until all the pieces are submerged. Syrup is done by dissolving 1.75 cups white sugar in 1 liter boiling water.
- Pack it in sealed containers with half-inch headspace to allow room for the fruit to expand.
- Containers can be resealable freezer bags, plastic containers, or tempered glass jars. Ordinary glass jars are prone to breaking when frozen.
- Air-tight containers are ideal to prevent watermelons from absorbing odors and flavors from other food in the freezer.
- Label with the date when you froze it.
You can enjoy a healthy and fruity alternative to ice cream by making sorbet using just two ingredients. Put the frozen watermelon in a blender or food processor, along with fresh citrus juice such as lemon, lime, or orange. This simple and easy-to-make dessert is such a refreshing delight.
If you prefer to sip instead of spoon, why not make a slushy instead. Just increase the amount of liquid you add to the frozen watermelon. You can use citrus juice or even coconut water for a thirst-quenching summer drink. You can also add citrus zest and sweetener such as sugar or honey.
If you prefer a slushy with a kick, you can spike it up with a shot of vodka, tequila, or white wine. Or perhaps you can add replace ice with frozen watermelon in your usual cocktail drink.