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Postharvest Care


Most melons have a relatively short storage life. Larger growers may have refrigerated storage facilities but smaller producers will only hold fruits for a few days. Post-harvest handling is as important as the growing of the crop. If possible, cool the fruits quickly after harvest or harvest is in the early morning when temperatures are cool and plants are well-hydrated.

Watermelons stored at 55-60°F and 90% humidity will keep for 10-15 days. Do not store below 50°F, as fruits are sensitive to chilling injury and disease development. If kept at ambient temperatures, watermelon will hold for about 5-7 days. Cantaloupe are highly perishable and will maintain good quality for about one week. Full-slip cantaloupe can be stored at 40°F but those harvested at half-slip should not be stored below 45°F to ensure they ripen properly. Never store casaba and other specialty melons at temperatures less than 50°F as they are subject to chilling injury. For more detail on storage, handling and ripening techniques of the different melons, refer to the specific produce fact sheets for the different melons available through the UC Davis Postharvest Technology website: postharvest.ucdavis.edu.