Watermelon is one of the best things about summer. It is refreshing, sweet, and serves a crowd for an affordable price. It is kid-friendly, and also works in a cocktail. You can add it to savory dishes like gazpacho or salsa, or pickle the rinds, or grill it to make a salad with herbs and feta.
If you’re feeling experimental, you can also try this watermelon caramel.
Easy never tasted so awesome.
WATCH: How to Make Double-Serrano Watermelon Bites
But the one thing that all of this watermelon-eating will require is the cutting up of the watermelon. And let’s be honest, there is something a bit intimidating about a piece of fruit the size of a toddler that needs to be transformed into manageable parts. So, cutting up a watermelon effectively is one of the best things you can learn in advance of your summer dining plans.
And I am here to help you achieve watermelon efficacy.
Choose your own adventure:
First and foremost, you need to know how you intend to use your watermelon. Do you need perfect photographable cubes or balls, or are you going to juice it, so it can be chopped any which way? Does the rind need to be on or off? It is important to know your desired end product before you address the beast.
First, get a flat side:
The single most important thing about cutting up a watermelon, however you intend to use it, is to get a solid flat side. There is no better way to cut yourself than to have a giant, slippery, juicy melon rolling around your counter as you attempt to break it down. This means one of two things. Whichever you prefer, start by lopping off the two ends. This will give you two flat surfaces and remove the end pieces which have little fruit in them anyway.
For cubes or balls or for juicing:
Start by placing the watermelon up on one cut end for stability. If you want melon balls, cut the watermelon in half down the center, then use a melon baller to remove balls from both sides of the watermelon. For juicing, you can remove the flesh with a large metal spoon since the prettiness won’t matter.
For rindless cubes or sticks, remove the rind in long strips with your knife, turning as you go, until the rind and any white flesh is removed, then cut in planks the width you want your cubes. Take each plank and lay it flat and cut the length and width you want to create your cubes or sticks.
For slices with rind:
Sometimes you want slices with some rind attached to provide a handle for eating. Start by flipping your melon up on one of the cut ends, and slice down the middle. While still up on end, cut down each half to create wedges the size you want your slices to be. Lay each wedge down on one cut side, and slice into whatever thickness you like.
For using the rind in pickling or other recipes:
If you want to eat the rind, start by placing the melon up on one of the cut ends. Using a thin-bladed knife or a wide vegetable peeler, remove the dark green exterior rind, leaving as much of the white rind behind. Then remove the white part in long slices with a knife, trying not to cut too far into the red melon. If you need to remove more melon from the rind, you can scrape it out with a large metal spoon or a wide peeler.
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