Stay at Home Mum have teamed up with GLAD Australia, the leaders in innovative fresh food protection products, to create our Fresh Pickings series, where we will take you behind the scenes in paddocks across Australia to learn how to protect and preserve our fresh Aussie grown fruit and veg properly to maximize nutrients and freshness and ultimately reduce our food waste. We’ve already discovered all there is to know about the humble avocado. Next on our list is the delicious watermelon! Watermelon is a healthy snack high in vitamin C, Lycopene, Arginine and Citrulline.
Stay in season with GLAD and join Jody and Lydia as they ventured to Terry’s farm in Chinchilla to discover how the pick, prepare and protect your watermelons. And, check out our delicious Watermelon Cake recipe, which are sure to be a hit with both kids and adults!
Watermelon are the perfect summer fruit but they are actually in season all year round in Australia because of the size and diverse climate in the country. In the summer months melons are grown South of the Tropic of Capricorn, in winter they are grown in the North. Lydia and Jody headed into central QLD to Terry O’Leary’s watermelon farm where they were able to get the low down on picking the perfect watermelon, whether buying from a farmer’s market or a grocery store.
Pick | choosing the perfect melon
Terry O’Leary is a true blue Aussie farmer. He is father to three girls and grows Wahu watermelons. His farm is 2000 acres and located in Chinchilla, QLD where the temperature is just right for watermelons. Watermelons are fruit but they grow and act similar to pumpkins and squash. They grow on trailing vines that have separate male and female flowers that are pollinated by honey bees. Terry kept the gals laughing the entire day and agreed to share his top tops on picking the right watermelon:
Terry’s Watermelon Picking Tips
- Check the Weight. Weight matters when you’re picking out the fruit, which actually behaves like a vegetable…shhh! Since melons are made up of 92% water, a good one should feel heavy for its size.
- Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. It should also have a smooth round or oblong shape with a slightly dull rind and creamy yellow underside where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
- Check for ripeness. To do this, give the melon a firm tap—if you hear a hollow thump, it’s a winner.
Prepare | Watermelon protection tips
How you prepare your watermelon will depend on what you want to use it for. There are several different ways to cut your watermelon for salads, fruit kebabs or simply to eat on it’s own. We were fortunate enough to witness Terry, watermelon farmer and watermelon cutter extraordinaire cut a whole watermelon in under a minute. Folks, don’t try this at home! But do take his tips on board – they will ensure a perfectly prepared watermelon regardless of what you plan on doing with it.
- Remember the 7-10 day rule – Whole melons will keep for around 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, however, and they’ll lose flavour and texture.
- Store at room temperature. For whole watermelons, it’s best to store at room temperate directly out of sunlight.
- Wash your melons – all fruits and veggies should be washed, even those with rinds. Just don’t wash them until they are ready to eat. Simply wash the rind under warm water before you are going to cut.
- Cut the ends first. When chopping a whole watermelon, cut off the ends so the watermelon stands up and is stable. Next, cut the watermelon in half and then into fourths and eights. Then, slice smaller with the rind on. This is great for an easy snack, party platters and so forth.
- No rind? Try this. You can also choose the cut the watermelon with the rind off which is better when making a salad, kebabs, and you want cubes. This is also often preferred for little ones, especially fussy little ones who don’t like the idea of any skin, rind or crusts. Start by cutting off all the rind so you are left with just the pink bits. Then slice into half inch cubes and turn and repeat.
Protect | Keep your Watermelons fresh up to 3x longer*
Watermelons are great for lunch boxes, for after school snacks and for smoothies. However, a whole watermelon can go off quite easily once it is cut. Watermelons are composed of 92% water, and rapidly lose moisture once cut. In fact, with no protection a watermelon wedgy can lose 45% of its moisture after 3 days, drying out and spoiling quickly.
Plastic however acts as a great moisture barrier so via wrapping your melon with a food protection product like GLAD Cling Wrap you can retain 99% moisture in your watermelon over 7 days* and actually keep your watermelon fresh up to 3x longer!* – (winning!). The better the cling seals and sticks to surfaces and itself, the less moisture your melon will lose, slowing down the spoilage process and ensuring your watermelon will stay fresher for longer.
We’ve showed you how to store a whole watermelon and how to cut a watermelon, but how do you protect the delicious wedges you don’t want to get yet? Here are our tips to ensure your cut watermelon stay fresher for longer in the fridge:
Storing Cut Watermelon
- Store with skin on – If you’re not going to eat your watermelon straight away we recommend storing watermelon wedges or halves with the skin on. The skin is your fruits natural protection barrier for moisture loss. By leaving the skin on you will help hold the moisture in the fruit and stop it from drying out faster.
- Wrap with quality products: GLAD Cling Wrap is the perfect companion for your cut melons. Simply seal the Watermelon half/wedge as tightly as possible, making sure the exposed surface comes into full contact with the plastic, leaving no air gaps. The new GLAD Cling Wrap is their best-ever wrap and now comes with 50% better cling** which gives you one and a half times tighter seal when protecting. This tighter seal will actually keep your watermelon fresh up to 3x longer.* Plus all GLAD Cling Wrap is BPA free and the new packaging now comes with a V-start roll start feature which helps you to easily find and start the edge of a new roll (no more annoying sticker!).
- Avoid the fruit crisper. Normally the rule is to keep all your fruit in your fruit draw and all your veggies in your veg draw in the fridge. Watermelon is an exception to this rule – it is the fruit which acts like a vegetable! Unlike most fruits, watermelon produces a very low amount of ethylene, a colourless, odourless gas which acts as a ripening agent that can speed up spoilage. Similar to many vegetables, watermelon is very sensitive to ethylene gas and will spoil faster in its presence. Yes, all cut watermelons must be stored in the fridge however once protected in GLAD Cling Wrap make sure you store it away from all your fruit in your veggie draw for longer lasting freshness.
- Remove the rinds. Always remove the watermelon rinds when freezing as they do not freeze well. Then cut the flesh into cubes before placing the cubes in a GLAD Snap Lock reseal bag, squeezing all of the air out of the bag before sealing. Only GLAD Snap Lock bags have this unique double lock which lets you really feel the seal. They now come with a secure lock guarantee so you don’t have to worry about your watermelon bursting open in your freezer and are thicker than standard freezer bags which will help protect against freezer burn for longer. They are also all BPA free!
- Label for later. Finally, make sure you label and date the bag before storing in the freezer. They will last in the freezer for a couple of months but keep in mind that frozen watermelon will change its texture. Thus, it’s best used in desserts, drinks or smoothies, rather than in salads.
Cook | Watermelon Cake Recipe
Now, the fun part! Cooking with watermelon. We’ve taste tested this delicious, healthy Watermelon Cake and it is awesome! It’s pretty as a picture and the fresh, crisp watermelon with the sweet berries and cream is the perfect combination of healthy with a little bit of sweetness, and super tasty. Try it for a gluten or egg free birthday cake or surprise the kids with a fresh ‘cake’ afternoon tea.
Check out the above video or head on over to our Watermelon Cake Recipe to learn how to make this fantastic cake in no time at all!
For more watermelon cooking ideas, be sure to also check out our additional watermelon recipes in our new Fresh Pickings Section.
Fresh Pickings | Save Good Food, From Going Bad
Jody and Lydia has a fantastic time meeting with Terry and discovering the secrets to protecting watermelon. And while we may not be able to cut a watermelon in under a minute, we certainly learned a lot! Thanks for coming along with us to beautiful Chinchilla and be sure to check out our other videos in the series.
Disclaimer *based on moisture loss data and visual appearance compared to no protection.
Disclaimer: **Up to 1.5x (or 50%) improvement in GLAD cling film to GLAD cling film seal.