Should you store watermelon in the fridge?
As you know, I love lycopene, heck I even named my blog after it, so of course I have to report on any lycopene discoveries or trivia that are out there.
I read today that, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the lycopene content of watermelon is significantly increased if it’s stored at room temperature, by as much as 40%, so it’s a big difference.
Personally, I love my watermelon straight from the fridge, on a hot, hot day, sat in the garden, not worrying about the juice dribbling down my chin – which is not going to help the lycopene content. However, while lycopene is a really important antioxidant and this research is interesting and despite my love of lycopene, I’m probably not going to change my behaviour.
Firstly, watermelon is a source of other micronutrients, including vitamin C, many of which will survive just fine when stored in the fridge, so when eating cold watermelon I’m still getting some good nutrition. Secondly, as I’ve said before, we don’t absorb the lycopene from fresh, uncooked foods very well. Instead cooking, heating and processing lycopene increases its bioavailability – ie how much of it we can make use of.
More than this though, food is also about enjoyment. I could store my watermelon on the benchtop, I could even heat it up, to make sure I get every last drop of lycopene from it, but for me that just wouldn’t be the same. It would spoil the enjoyment I get from biting into a cold, sweet, juicy piece of watermelon, of having those juices trickle down my chin before spitting out the pips. That’s the real reason why I’ll carry on storing my watermelon in the fridge.