My Watermelon Is Brown Inside: Is It Safe To Eat?

Have you ever cut open a watermelon and discovered that the inside of the fruit has turned brown? This is quite off-putting and disappointing when it happens.

Often, brownness inside a watermelon is the result of something called rind necrosis, and this causes discolored patches on the inside of the melon’s rind. These don’t tend to spread to the part you eat, but they can be off-putting nonetheless. Watermelon flesh doesn’t usually go brown.

Checking whether a watermelon is okay to eat can be challenging, so we’re going to look at what causes browning, along with other key signs that your watermelon has gone off.

What Shows That A Watermelon Has Gone Off?

watermelon

Rind necrosis is one of the most common causes of browning inside a watermelon. This disease is not fully understood yet, but it is thought to be caused by a kind of bacteria that is naturally present in watermelons. For some reason, this bacteria sometimes causes discoloring on the inside of the watermelon’s rind.

Annoyingly, this can only be seen when you cut into the watermelon, which results in people purchasing watermelons that are already suffering from rind necrosis. Rind necrosis doesn’t render the rest of the fruit unfit for consumption, but it results in many melons being rejected by stores, and it is an ongoing problem with no current solutions.

There are some key signs that watermelons have gone off, which you should be on the lookout for when preparing to eat one of these fruits:

  • Soggy areas on the rind
  • Any hint of mold, either on the rind or on any areas of exposed flesh if you have cut the watermelon open
  • A sour scent
  • An alcoholic scent
  • A fizzy texture when you start to eat the fruit

If you notice any of these things, you should not eat the watermelon, as it may contain bacteria that could make you sick. However, brown spots on the rind are not usually dangerous, since you will not be consuming the rind. 

If in doubt, leave some flesh next to the rind, rather than eating it. This will ensure that you aren’t eating flesh that has been touching the rind, and should minimize any risk of you consuming bacteria. There is no evidence that rind necrosis is dangerous to people, but this may give you more peace of mind.

What Does Rind Necrosis Look Like?

Rind necrosis usually appears in the form of brown spots on the inner rind of the melon. If you cut across the rind, you are likely to see brown splotches inside the band of green that makes up the rind.

These spots may be mushy if you poke them, but they will be restricted to the rind’s circumference. You should not see the brown spreading into the watermelon’s flesh, and it shouldn’t affect the taste or texture of the flesh. Rind necrosis is only cosmetic.

How Should You Store Watermelon?

To store watermelon and make sure it lasts as long as possible, you should keep it uncut until you are ready to eat it. A whole watermelon with no damage to the rind will last a lot longer than a watermelon that has been cut open.

This is because the flesh of a watermelon is so soft, that it’s very easy for bacteria to get into it once the rind has been removed. It will quickly turn moldy because it is such a wet environment.

If you do have to cut up the watermelon, you should make sure you put the pieces in an airtight container to minimize the airflow and prevent mold and bacteria from reaching the watermelon. Leave the watermelon in large pieces, and always check that no mold has formed before you start eating the slices.

Keep both whole watermelon and sliced watermelon in the fridge. Whole watermelons can be stored on the counter, but they will keep for longer if you store them in the fridge.

How Long Does Watermelon Stay Good For?

A watermelon should last for about 2 weeks if you keep it in the fridge and it is whole. The rind must be intact if it is to keep for this long. As soon as the rind has been broken, you need to use the melon up more quickly.

If they are kept in airtight tubs, most watermelon slices should keep for about a week, but you should check on them regularly. If you find that they are starting to go moldy or slimy, throw them away.

If you want your watermelon to keep for longer than a couple of weeks, you should freeze the slices in airtight containers. The fruit can be eaten without thawing it, and many people enjoy this icy, refreshing summer snack. 

Slice the watermelon into small portions before freezing to make it easy to thaw and enjoy. You can then just get a single serving out when you are ready to eat it.

Does Watermelon Flesh Go Brown?

On the whole, watermelon flesh will not turn brown when exposed to oxygen the way that a lot of fruit flesh goes brown once the fruit has been cut open. It tends to keep its red color. However, watermelon flesh can discolor as it starts to go off.

Usually, the flesh will simply turn darker as the cell walls start to break down and the different chemicals within the fruit mix and react. If the fruit is left for too long, it will mold, and this often creates a layer of white, pink, blue, or green fuzz on top of the flesh, depending on what kind of mold forms.

If there is any discoloration, this is usually an indication that the watermelon is no longer safe to eat, so you will need to throw it away.

Conclusion

If your watermelon rind has gone brown, this is a sign of rind necrosis. The fruit is still perfectly safe to eat. However, if the watermelon’s flesh has changed color, turned fizzy, or taken on a strange flavor, you should not eat it.