How to Preserve Cantaloupes & Watermelons

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Watermelons and cantaloupes require the same preservation methods. The fruits need to be preserved in the freezer to extend the shelf life. Before you can store the produce in the freezer, a syrup solution needs to be prepared. The syrup helps protect the fruits from freezer burn. The prepared syrup also protects the color, texture and flavor. After you freeze the watermelons and cantaloupes, thaw them in the refrigerator when you are ready to enjoy the fresh produce.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • Saucepan
  • Vegetable brush
  • Knife
  • Freezer containers
  • Create a medium preservation syrup by combining 4 cups of warm water with 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Chill the prepared syrup in the refrigerator.

  • Wash the exterior of the melons with cool, running water. Scrub on the skin with a vegetable brush to remove dirt and debris.

  • Slice the watermelon or cantaloupe in half. Remove the seeds and slice the rind off the produce. Cut the melons into cubes, slices or balls.

  • Place the fruit into freezer containers. Pour the syrup over the cantaloupe or watermelon slices to cover them completely. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion. Press the sliced fruit down into the syrup.

  • Seal the freezer containers tightly. Place the containers in the freezer and use the produce within 12 months.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you cannot prepare a syrup solution, sprinkle 2 ¼ cups of sugar over 5 lbs. of sliced watermelon or cantaloupe. Stir the fruit to cover it with the sugar, and then package into freezer containers.
  • Store whole cantaloupes between 36 degrees and 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cantaloupe into a refrigerator crisper to store it in high humidity.
  • Store any whole watermelons at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or at room temperature.
  • Cut watermelon and cantaloupe will last up to four days in the refrigerator.
  • Always wash produce before slicing and consuming it to remove harmful bacteria.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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