The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat watermelon. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

ripe watermelon

What watermelon etiquette is

Watermelon etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat watermelon. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow watermelon etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect watermelon etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about watermelon

Watermelon is a type of fruit. Over 1,000 varieties exist. China is the major producer, accounting for over 60% of the watermelons in commerce. Other large producers include Turkey, India, Iran, Algeria, and Brazil.

Watermelon is oval in shape. Its flesh is bright red to pink in color. While the rind is light and dark green. Its flavor is sweet. The texture is juicy, soft, and slightly grainy. Most varieties in commerce present many small, black seeds.  

How To Serve And Eat watermelon

Etiquette tips to serve and eat watermelon

1) How to store watermelon

You can store whole, uncut watermelon out of the fridge. Store it in a cool place. Away from sources of heat or direct light. Outside, watermelon can last up to 7 or 10 days. However, it is best to eat it within 2 or 3 days.

If it fits, you can store a whole uncut watermelon in the fridge. It can last up to 3 weeks. Store it as it is, without any covering.

Once sliced, store watermelon in the fridge. To store watermelon halves, cover the surface with plastic or aluminum foil. To store watermelon slices, place them on a dish covered with plastic. Or place them in a sealed container. Sliced watermelon can last for 2 or 3 days. 

In the freezer, watermelon can last for up to 8 or 12 months. 

2) How to clean watermelon

It is a good hygiene norm to wash an uncut watermelon before slicing it. Even a quick wash decreases the risk of contamination from pesticides or other chemicals. 

Place the watermelon under running water and wash its rind.

3) How to prepare watermelon 

Cut the watermelon in halves. Whichever way works. You can use a spoon or a knife to remove the core, which has the highest density of seeds. Then, cut each half into slices.

Watermelon is ideal for fresh snacks or dishes. Add it to yogurt and cereals, salads, fruit salads, or ice cream. Squeeze it to make fresh juices. Use it as an ingredient in cocktails.

It is uncommon to cook watermelon due to its water-rich texture. However, its rind is edible after cooking. Watermelon seeds can be toasted and eaten too.

4) How to serve & present watermelon

Serve watermelon for breakfast, a snack, or a fruit course. Alternatively, you can serve watermelon to complement an appetizer or a course. 

Avoid serving watermelon whole. Serve it in slices, wedges, cubes, or chunks. If you serve watermelon in slices or wedges, you should keep the rind. When you present watermelon in chunks or cubes, it is appropriate to remove the rind.

Serve watermelon slices on a serving plate. You can present them without any serving utensils. 

You can serve watermelon wedges, cubes, or chunks on a serving plate or in a bowl. Present them with a serving spoon and a fork.

Serve watermelon chilled or at room temperature. 

5) Food and wine to pair watermelon with

Watermelon can go well with savory dishes. Match it with flavor-rich cheeses. Such as Parmigiano, Grana, or Feta. Add it to fish or seafood dishes. For example, with salmon or grilled scampi.

You can pair watermelon with vegetables. Such as cucumbers or onions. Combine it with most fruits in a salad. Lime or lemon. Apples. Strawberries. Bananas. Avocados. Tropical fruits, such as mango, coconut, and pineapple.

Enhance watermelon’s flavor with salt, chili, mint, cilantro, ginger, or pistachios.

Pair watermelon with light white wines or rosé wines. Watermelon is an ideal match with some spirits. Such as Vodka or Tequila

6) How to eat watermelon

Eat watermelon with a fork and a knife

On formal occasions, do not eat it with your fingers. On informal occasions, you can hold a watermelon wedge with your hand, by its rind, and eat the flesh. 

It is not appropriate to eat a full watermelon slice without utensils.

You should discard the rind of the watermelon. 

You can discard the seeds. However, there are often too many of them. Ideally, swallow them. Alternatively, remove a few of them with a fork and a knife. Discard them on the side of your plate. Do not spit the seeds out.

watermelon etiquette mistakes

Watermelon etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst watermelon etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Spitting watermelon seeds.
  • 5/10. Eating watermelon without utensils.
  • 4/10. Serving unripe watermelon.

Additional information for properly serving watermelon

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Watermelon contains 30 calories per 100 grams. An average slice of a medium-sized watermelon contains around 85 calories.

How to buy the best watermelon

A crucial factor in watermelon etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

The season for watermelons is from June to August.

It is possible to find imported watermelons in the off-season.

Choose the best

Ripe watermelons feel heavy. They should not feel empty when you hold them. The rind should be firm and should not give when pressed. 

Alternatives to watermelon

The best substitute for watermelon is another water-rich fruit. Try cantaloupe or honeydew melons.