Freezing Watermelon (cantaloupe, muskmelon, honedew melons too)
Watermelon can be frozen to use later as a treat or in recipes, such as beverages and desserts. There are several methods for freezing so you can continue to enjoy watermelon well after the season has ended.
Prepare the watermelon for freezing
First wash your hands, then wash the watermelon in running water, using a clean brush to remove any dirt. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut the watermelon in half, lengthwise, then cut the melon into slices, wedges, cubes or balls, removing the rind and any seeds.
Unsweetened dry pack method
The simplest and fastest method for freezing melons is to spread the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Once firm, transfer the pieces to containers or plastic freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace for expansion during freezing.
Sweetened dry pack method
Add 1 pound of granulated sugar to each 5 pounds of fruit; mix well. Pack in suitable containers. Seal, label and freeze, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace for expansion during freezing.
Syrup pack method
The syrup pack method is useful if you plan to serve the watermelon in desserts or fruit cocktail. This method preserves the melon's flavor and texture the best. Use a light syrup (9 cups of water or fruit juice to 2 1/4 cups sugar). Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill. Pour 1/2 cup of syrup into the freezer container and add melon. If necessary, add more syrup until melon is completely covered and place a small piece of water-resistant paper on top to keep them submerged. Leave a 1/2 inch of headspace for pints, 1 inch for quarts for expansion during freezing.
Juice pack method
Pack fruit in suitable packaging containers. Pour in pineapple juice, orange juice or ginger ale, completely covering the melon and place a small piece of water-resistant paper on top to keep the mellon submerged. Seal, label and freeze leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace for pints, 1 inch for quarts for expansion during freezing.
Use suitable packaging containers
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. The best packaging for freezing watermelons includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers or heavy-duty foil containers.
Watermelon can be frozen for 8 to 12 months at 0°F
Thawing frozen watermelon, using and storing thawed watermelon
Remove the watermelon from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator. Add to dishes or consume with a few ice crystals still remaining. Use within four days.