How to handle and store melons

The Australian melon industry has developed a Best Management Practice Guide for melons to inform growers about fruit quality and food safety practices. The BMP Guide assists melon growers to identify improved practices in quality management in their field and post-harvest practices that will provide consumers with high quality produce.

Guide for consumers
  • Do not purchase melons that are bruised or damaged. If buying fresh cut produce, ensure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
  • Fresh produce should be refrigerated within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Wash all rockmelons with cool tap water immediately before eating. Don't use soap or detergents. Scrub melons with a clean produce brush. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas before eating.
  • Wash hands with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh rockmelons.
  • Cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops should always be washed with hot soapy water and cleaned after coming in contact with fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Use clean cutting boards and utensils when handling fresh produce. If possible, use one clean cutting board and knife for fresh produce and a separate board and knife for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Storing melon

Fruit kept at room temperature are best eaten within a day or two. Whole rockmelon and honeydew melon kept at room temperature for a few days will soften and develop a little more flavour but are should be refrigerated after 2-3 days depending on room temperature.

Watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons will keep 3 to 4 days or longer when refrigerated. Cut surfaces of fruit are best covered to prevent them drying out or deteriorating.

Note that rockmelons do not ripen once picked, the flesh firmness reduces with time and this gives the impression of getting sweeter.