Chat Leftovers: How long to store melons

September 11, 2013

What’s more fun than bubbles? Especially if they’re chewy and sitting in a drink. Intrepid reporter Tim Carman recently set out to learn how to make his own bubble tea, and you can follow his progress — or lack thereof — right here.

Also this week, meet the man whose “world’s best” lasagna recipe is the perennial chart-topper on AllRecipes.com, with millions of views since it was first posted 12 years ago. Caitlin Dewey has the story. And Emily C. Horton introduces you to whole-diet CSAs: Instead of a basket of vegetables, these farms give you meat, dairy products, fruit, flours — almost enough to keep you out of the supermarket for good.

Digest all that, and then join us for today’s Free Range chat. You know the drill: Show up here at noon, bring your questions and settle in for a fun hour of give-and-take. Then next week, watch for another Chat Leftover. There’s bound to be one, because time has this annoying habit of running out. For example, here’s a leftover from last week’s chat:

I just read that you can puree extra melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, etc.) to freeze for future use. My question is, how long is melon “safe” in the fridge before I puree it? Is a week-old cantaloupe risky?

If it looks fresh enough to eat — not soft, mush, watery or slimy — then it should be good to puree and freeze. But how long can you keep it before it reaches the yucky point of no return? That depends a lot on whether you’ve cut it up or not.

A whole, uncut cantaloupe or honeydew melon should last for seven to 10 days in the refrigerator. A whole, uncut watermelon is even sturdier: It should be good for two weeks.

The picture gets somewhat bleaker once you’ve sliced into your fruit. The shelf life for the cantaloupe or honeydew shrinks to a mere three to four days, and so, interestingly, does the shelf life for the watermelon.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board, by the way, says the fridge is not the best place for a watermelon until you cut into it. The scoop: “Researchers have found that whole watermelons stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark place (around 55 or 60 degrees) last much longer than watermelons stored in the fridge (around 41 degrees). So, if you’ve already got a whole watermelon in the fridge, you should keep it there. But if you’re storing it outside the fridge, put it in the fridge about three hours before you plan to eat it in order to cool it down to just the right temperature.”

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