Cutting into a watermelon usually results in a flash of bright red below the dark green rind. It’s an exciting moment for fruit-lovers – but have you ever found that the flesh is white inside?
White flesh in a watermelon can indicate that the watermelon is not yet ripe. These fruits take a long time to ripen and become red, so if you pick the watermelon too early, it will be white inside. Sometimes, white flesh can be caused by sub-optimal growing conditions, so check you’ve got the environment right if you’re growing your own watermelons.
In this article, we’ll explore why watermelons might have white flesh, and whether they are safe to eat. We will also look at how you can select ripe watermelons every time you buy them!
What Makes Watermelons White Inside?
A watermelon that is white inside is generally not ripe. Watermelons get their red coloration from a phytonutrient known as lycopene. This is responsible for the hue of many fruits, including tomatoes and grapefruits, and before it has formed, the flesh will be white. The more lycopene there is in a watermelon, the darker and redder its flesh will be.
In general, a watermelon will take between 70 and 90 days to fully ripen, although some will be ready sooner, and others will take longer. If the watermelon is picked before it has finished ripening, it will have white flesh inside or will be fully white within the rind, therefore, make sure you don’t pick melons too early.
White flesh inside the watermelon can also be caused by:
- A disease known as white heart
- Improper care while the watermelon is growing
- Unwanted cross-pollination
- Growing the wrong kind of seed and getting a cultivar that has naturally white flesh inside.
Any of these things could happen if you aren’t careful about your watermelons, so make sure you pay attention if you are growing them yourself. If you are just purchasing the melons, check the cultivar before buying them to make sure they will be red inside.
Is It Safe To Eat White Watermelon Flesh?
If you have got an unripe watermelon, you can still safely consume it, but you will probably find that it doesn’t taste very good. The best part about watermelon is the sugars, but these won’t be present until the fruit has fully formed. At this point, it will begin converting the starches into sugars, and these give it its delicious taste.
The unripe flesh will not hurt you, so you can eat it if you choose to – just be aware that the taste won’t be great.
How Do You Avoid White Flesh If You Grow Your Own Watermelons?
If you’re growing your own watermelons, you probably don’t want to end up picking and eating ones with white flesh. You will need to learn how to tell if a watermelon is ripe, but you’ll also need to make sure you are providing appropriate growing conditions.
Firstly, you should learn how to recognize white heart. This tends to develop during the final growth stages of the fruit, and it results in white streaks appearing in the red flesh. It usually occurs as a result of over-feeding or over-watering your watermelons while they are growing, especially in the latter stages, so it may be possible to avoid it in the future.
You should make sure you know how much food and water your watermelons need, and supply them in the correct quantities, rather than giving the plants too much. This should ensure that the watermelons ripen normally and develop the red flesh that you would generally expect to see.
How Do You Choose A Ripe Watermelon?
Whether you are picking the crops yourself or just selecting one in a store, knowing how to correctly identify when a watermelon is ripe is very important. If you are picking the fruit, the first thing to do is look at the vine. It should have turned brown and started to dry up by the time the melon is ripe.
Next, try gently twisting the melon around. It should come away easily, rather than being a struggle. If you have to pull, tear, or cut to remove the watermelon, it isn’t yet ready to come off, and should be allowed to continue ripening on the plant for a while longer.
If you are purchasing the watermelon in a supermarket, there are signs you can use too. Firstly, check whether the rind looks tough and dull, as this indicates that it is ready to cut open and eat. You should be able to press hard and leave a small dent.
You can also check the watermelon’s “field spot.” This is the part where the melon touched the ground while it was growing, and it’s this spot that is the best indicator of whether the melon is ripe. It should be yellow, as this means the melon has been ripening for weeks. If the spot is still white, the melon isn’t ready yet.
Are Some Watermelons Naturally White Inside?
There are a few naturally white kinds of watermelon, so you should make sure you check what variety you are growing or buying. Some watermelons will not turn red no matter what you do to them, and it’s important to know if you have purchased one of these varieties.
Tender white watermelons are varieties that can be eaten like the red watermelon, although they are lower in vitamins. Try the “white sugar lump” or the “cream of Saskatchewan.”
There are also hard white watermelons, and these are intended for pickling or baking. They should not be eaten raw, even though they look like normal watermelons from the outside.
A watermelon that is white on the inside is usually just unripe, meaning it has been picked too early. However, watermelons may also be white due to unsuitable growing conditions, so be aware of this if you are going to grow your own plants. White watermelons are generally safe to eat, but may not taste very good.