Love watermelons? This summer, be wary of the ones that foam and explode

It's a pretty clear-cut food safety issue: these watermelons should be discarded

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published August 14, 2023 5:00PM (EDT)

Heap of watermelons (Getty Images/Frank Rothe)
Heap of watermelons (Getty Images/Frank Rothe)

Watermelons are indicative of summertime, sunny days and the languorous attitude often associated with those halcyon months.

Unfortunately, though, there's been some decidedly less-than-ideal watermelons purchased this summer. There have been posts on Reddit and elsewhere online depicting watermelons foaming or in some cases, outright exploding. Amid hotter temperatures, which are, of course, blanketing the country currently, growing watermelons can be introduced to more bacteria than usual, which "combines with the sugars and yeast inside the melon and start[s] the fermentation process," which results in foaming, seeping and cracks. Jelisa Castrodale writes in Food & Wine that "watermelons are primarily grown in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida and Texas," which have all been experiencing hotter-than-usual temperatures this summer. 

A pretty clear-cut food safety issue, these watermelons should be discarded — even storing them can cause issues due to varying bacteria or even fermentation-induced gasses which could even cause the watermelon to explode. If you notice a watermelon leaking or foaming in some capacity, do not cut into it! Just get rid of it outright — perhaps even in an outdoor garbage can as opposed to the one in your kitchen.

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