What To Do With A Watermelon That's Cracked On The Inside

Watermelon is a delicious but mysterious fruit. Since it looks more or less the same on the outside, you just never know what is on the inside until you cut into it. You might end up with a watermelon that is bright yellow inside, but usually you will get a solid red core of juicy goodness, punctuated by small seeds — although there are also seedless varieties. However, occasionally you will find a melon that has a big crack in the middle of its flesh, and you may wonder how the damage was formed and whether it's still good to eat.

If you find a watermelon that's cracked on the inside, rest easy knowing that there's absolutely nothing wrong with your pick. This facet is simply caused by environmental factors, and the crack is not a sign of rot or disease. In fact, the flesh around the fissure can even be sweeter than a "normal" watermelon, since the sugars are more concentrated.

Cracked watermelon, explained

Known in the agricultural industry as "hollow heart," an interior crack in a watermelon is difficult to identify at first look. From the outside, it will appear identical to any other melon. The phenomenon was likely simply caused by uneven pollination, a key part of the process for plants bearing fruit. In the past, it was thought that the cause of melon cracks may have been due to soil condition and nitrogen levels, but more recent research has pinpointed the true cause of hollow hearts as pollination factors.

Since these cracks are formed naturally and are not a symptom of disease, watermelons with hollow hearts are not dangerous or inedible. Although it might be difficult to carve out uniform-sized pieces for your fruit spread, the flesh is perfectly safe to eat. If you happen to have a watermelon with cracks inside, you can still use it in multiple ways, too. Simply scoop and eat the flesh with a spoon or slice it into classic half-moon shapes to make a pleasing treat for a party, and add a side of flaky salt to make it even better. Alternatively, you can juice the melon for a refreshing beverage on its own or use it as a cocktail mixer.

The many ways to enjoy a watermelon

Although a hollow heart watermelon might not make perfectly-shaped chunks to serve on a toothpick for party favors, it does not mean all is lost with your fruit. For instance, you can transform watermelon into a zesty salsa by dicing it and combining it with red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. This sweet and spicy condiment pairs perfectly with grilled chicken, fish, or tortilla chips. Alternatively, you could blend watermelon chunks with yogurt, mint, and a touch of honey for a cool and creamy smoothie. Add some ice for an extra hydrating kick, or mix in other fruits like strawberries for a delightful twist on the beverage.

For another idea, try making a watermelon gazpacho by mixing and blending watermelon with cucumber, bell peppers, red onion, and a dash of white wine vinegar. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta for a savory-sweet balance. If you don't have a blender on hand, simply toss watermelon chunks and feta together with some fresh mint for a refreshing salad.