This year is strange. Weather is not cooperating with anything in the garden, only watermelons grow. The first batch died because of the crazy weather jump, but second already set at least 6-7 good size watermelons. The problem is, they are all about same size , so probably will be ready withing 2 weeks of each other. It is tough task to eat that much even for two, but my DH leaving for 6 weeks in the middle of September, so I will be on my own with all these melons. I have no place with 50-60F recommended to store them for a month, so I am looking for a way to keep it them somehow else. Does it worth to freeze them? How do you eat them frozen?
Watermelons are one of those fruits that are eaten fresh, and for a pretty good reason. Freezing or otherwise storing them pretty much ruins the flavor and texture. You can crush and strain for watermelon juice or you can freeze chunks if you choose. It won’t be the same.
There are “winter storage” watermelons such as Kholodok. Ability to store is from genetics.
All said, you can still keep a watermelon for about 2 weeks by storing in a cool dry place. I’ve tried storing them longer, but the tradeoff in texture/flavor is too high.
Ok, I guess my neighbors will be helping me .
Dehydrated watermelon is actually pretty good I think. .25"-.5" thick slices, line the trays with silicone or parchment paper.
I left mine on the vine for more than a month withnsuccess and stored in my basement for a month. Jubilee air-loome variety.
I froze some as an experiment and then accidentally put them in stew, mistaking them for tomatoes. They were really good in it! They held their shape. Didn’t mush up like tomatoes would have done. Strange, but tasty.
You could always fo this with them. https://youtu.be/olPpBRoBP_A
I have one (maybe two) vines of Kholodok (I’ve spied one melon so far) and several of ‘King Winter’ and ‘Wintermelon’ from Sandhill Preservation.
Glenn’s recommendations for those ‘winter-keeper’ melons are: “Fruits, when picked just before peak ripeness, will ripen gradually and keep for 3 months when stored in a cool location. They need to be picked just prior to complete ripeness and carefully wiped off to remove surface fungi. Sometimes a mild bleach solution works well. Place them where they are not touching each other in a cool storage area where it is around 50 deg. F.”
I’ve not reached out to Glenn, but I’m not sure at what stage to pick them… what is ‘just prior to complete ripeness’?..when the tendril opposite the stem dries up? The Wintermelon & King Winter are round white-skinned melons with faint green striping… really no ‘field spot’ to look at to try to judge final ripeness with regard to color change.
And… even with my ‘regular’ watermelons, I’m beginning to feel less certain about color change from white/cream to yellow as a definitive indicator of ripeness, and I’m erring, at least on the yellow-fleshed varieties, on the side of picking them earlier, as they seem to get ‘punky’/over-ripe more rapidly than my red/pink-fleshed varieties.
Shot Glenn an email and got this response regarding timing on the wintermelons:
“Best key is to plant late enough that they ripen just before frost and then pick and even those partially ripe will ripen in storage. yes, as tendril dries pick and store in a cool dry place.”
So… based on average first frost date here, I probably should have been planting my ‘winter’ watermelons around 25 July to 1 Aug. Mine went in a bit earlier than that… guess I’ll see how long they store… though I did find one of the larger King Winter melons still on the vine, rotting earlier this week… flesh was already red and seeds were black… so I may not be eating homegrown watermelons at Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. Live and learn… there’s always next year.
I think you’re right lucky - the tendril opposite the stem seems to be the only consistent indicator of watermelon ripeness that works across different varieties.
Different varieties sound different when you thump them (both ripe and unripe) and I’ve never been able to reliably pick a watermelon based on field spot color.
If I had to pick just prior to ripeness, I’d pick them as soon as the tendril shows any brown/shrivel. Easier said than done!