No, You Can't Save Overripe Watermelon (But Don't Throw It Away Just Yet)

Watermelons are not so hard to pick out if you know how to tell if a watermelon is good. Signs like a big yellow field spot and a resonant thump can help ensure you don't waste money on something rubbery or dull. Watermelons also don't ripen once they are picked off the vine, so you get what you get. However, let's say you overshot it and end up with an overripe watermelon. As long as it's not too overripe, there are good ways to repurpose it.

We spoke to Rachel Syngo about overripe watermelons and what to do with them. Syngo is the chief marketing officer of The National Watermelon Promotion Board (, which promotes watermelons and supports watermelon farmers through research and education. First and foremost, Sygno cautions against using an overly overripe watermelon. "Like all fresh foods, if it looks or smells bad, it's best to properly dispose of it," she explains, adding, "After purchasing a watermelon from a store or farmer's market, it should be consumed within seven days."

With enough heat, fruits can rot, grow mold, and essentially ferment as their sugars convert to alcohol. Otherwise, overripe watermelons are perfect for smoothies and juices "up until the point that the watermelon starts to have any pungent sour smell."  Smoothies and juices can mask the undesirable mushy texture of an overripe watermelon while capitalizing on its still-fruity flavor and sweetness. It's a win-win situation that results in plenty of refreshing treats.

Recipe ideas using overripe watermelon

Once a watermelon's flesh has lost its snap and turned mushy, not many people will want to consume it as it is. Still, no one wants to be wasteful. There's no need to toss the fruit when, as suggested by Rachel Syngo, a variety of smoothies and juice drinks can be made from it. Start by puréeing the watermelon in a blender or fruit processor. Watermelon purée can be either left as is or stained to remove the pulp, depending on personal preference. Add the purée to any of your favorite smoothies, combine it with another juice, or drink as is over ice. It will be delicious.

If you're looking for even more inspiration, try using overripe watermelon purée in our homemade watermelon lemonade recipe and garnish it with a sprig of mint. You can also use watermelon purée in a variety of frozen treats like popsicles (if you happen to have a popsicle mold) or drizzled over shaved ice for an all-natural dessert. Alternatively, skip the purée and freeze the overripe watermelon in bite-sized chunks instead. These frozen chunks blend into a smoothie to make it thicker or become the base for a refreshing watermelon sorbet that only calls for frozen watermelon, frozen bananas, lime, and maple syrup. Next time your watermelon is a little too ripe, consider repurposing it in a variety of tasty treats.