15 Heroic Saves for a Mealy, Overripe Watermelon
Did you accidentally bring home a less-than-perfect watermelon? Hey, we've all been there. It's hard to tell what's inside when you buy a watermelon (although we do have excellent tips for how to pick a ripe watermelon.) If your watermelon isn't ripe, the flavor is pretty blah and there's not much you can do with it. But when watermelon gets overripe, it starts loosing moisture and the texture changes from crisp and juicy to dry and mealy. Still, there's a lot you can do with a mealy, overripe watermelon. Here's how to turn a watermelon fail into a whole lot of watermelon win.
Is Overripe Watermelon Safe to Eat?
When a watermelon gets too ripe for its own good, the juicy crisp texture of the flesh can turn gritty and dry. If you cut it open, you might see the flesh actually pulling away from the seeds. If your watermelon is mealy, it's still safe to eat.
To save the situation, you'll want to use the mealy watermelon in recipes where crisp texture isn't a factor. And that means pulling out the blender (try this top-rated blender from Cuisinart) and giving the offending melon a fast ride to purée town. Once you've changed the texture, you can add a bit of sweetness if it needs it and throw in some flavor boosters like citrus and mint, or even booze it up. You can even pickle the rind.
Of course, if the watermelon is so ripe that it's rotting, then you should NOT eat it at all.
Blend puréed watermelon with coconut water and a touch of stevia or other sweetener for a cooling tropical mocktail.
Double down on the lime and brighten up with mint to make frozen Mexican-style pops.
No one will ever guess this gorgeous sangria started out as a less-than-stellar watermelon.
Simple Watermelon Sorbet
These colorful cocktails are made with, you guessed it, watermelon juice. The recipe notes tell you how to make juice by blending and straining chunks of watermelon.
Mealy watermelon takes a spin in your blender along with lemon juice, honey, and fresh mint. To really show that watermelon who's boss, hollow it out and using it as a serving bowl.
Jewel's Watermelon Margaritas
You can make cocktails with tequila or mocktails without. (I know what I'd do.)
Yummy Watermelon Pops
Raspberries (fresh or frozen) give these watermelon pops extra-fruity color and flavor.
Chef John's Watermelon Agua Fresca
The perfect refreshment for a hot summer's day. Just take a sip and say aaaahhhhhhhhhhh.
"I had very ripe watermelon and several other ingredients in this recipe that needed to be used up. This was a great way to avoid throwing them away, and a pleasant surprise because we really enjoyed this gazpacho," home cook lutzflcat says.
Watermelon Pink Lemonade
Lemonade is the unofficial beverage of summer, and what could be a better variation than this naturally-pink, watermelon-garnished version?
"Wonderful! I doubled the recipe to use up a watermelon that was past it's prime. The whole family has really loved this. I made it without using an ice cream maker. I just poured the mixture into a metal bowl and popped it into the freezer. Every couple of hours I whisked it until it was an even texture. When it reached soft-serve consistency, I put it into a covered container and stored it back in the freezer," Michelle Ann Anderson says.
Nobody's Strawberry Watermelon Shakedown
The texture of your overripe watermelon won't matter once it's blended into this summery smoothie.
"Five stars all the way around, for simplicity and ease of preparation, for presentation, and for pure, refreshing deliciousness," reviewer naples34102 says.
Pickled Watermelon Rinds
Use up every last bit of that watermelon and turn it into sweet/tart pickles you'll want to eat with everything. For best results, use a watermelon variety with a thick rind.
What to Do With Spoiled Watermelon
Sometimes a watermelon fail is beyond repair. If the rind is soft, discolored, or downright moldy, you really have no choice but to toss the whole thing — rind, flesh, and all. If you don't see signs of spoilage on the rind but the flesh turns out to be slimy or smelly, you still need to toss it out instead of eating it.