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Randolph County Herald Tribune - Chester, IL
  • How to carve a watermelon for a dramatic effect

  • Juicy, messy and sweet, watermelon is the kind of fruit that begs to be cut into fun-to-hold shapes, such as wedges, stars, balls and chunks. It’s also perfect for carving, whether it’s a traditional basket or a unique surf wave or shark.

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  • It’s OK to play with your food –– if the food is watermelon.
    Juicy, messy and sweet, watermelon is the kind of fruit that begs to be cut into fun-to-hold shapes, such as wedges, stars, balls and chunks. It’s also perfect for carving, whether it’s a traditional basket or a unique surf wave or shark.
    A beautifully carved watermelon depends on choosing the right melon. To find one in perfect condition:
    -- Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
    -- Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92 percent water.
    -- Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
    Once you have an ideal watermelon, read through the carving directions. Assemble the tools and accessories needed. And follow these tips:
    -- Have the watermelon at room temperature when you carve. That makes it easier to cut.
    -- Drain cut watermelon and other fruit before placing it in the carving.
    -- When removing excess flesh, try to leave it in big pieces. It’s easier for making melon balls or cubes.
    -- Use a green dry-erase marker, then wipe off excess marker after making cuts.
    Watermelon contains vitamins A, B6 and C, plus potassium, thiamine, magnesium and the antioxidant lycopene. It also has the heart-helping amino acids citrulline and arginine, and it is cholesterol free, gluten free, almost fat free and low in sodium. There are 80 calories in two cups of chunks. So not only will your carved showpiece be stunning to look at, it will be nutritious to eat.
    Shark
    1 oblong, seeded watermelon
    Dry-erase marker
    Large knife
    Smaller utility knife
    Large spoon
    Paring knife (you can use the tip of a vegetable peeler)
    2 large marbles, or other (cherry, blueberry, red grape, etc)
    Toothpicks or wooden skewers
    Swedish fish candies for garnish
    Wash and dry the watermelon. Cut off 1/3 of the watermelon at a diagonal angle. Stand the remaining 2/3 upright on your work surface, and use a dry-erase marker to draw the mouth line and eye sockets.
    Cut out the mouth. Trim back a 1/2-inch line of the green part of the rind for the teeth area. Use a large spoon to scoop out the watermelon flesh, leaving 3 inches intact at the base. Cut out the teeth, using a smaller utility knife.
    Use melon baller to cut out the eye sockets that match the size of large marbles. Then use a paring knife to trim the green area around the eyes. Insert marbles.
    Page 2 of 2 - Use the carved out rind from the mouth to make the dorsal fin. Attach the fin using toothpicks. Fill the mouth with triangle shapes of watermelon, accented with Swedish fish.
    Surf Wave
    Oval or round shaped watermelon
    Kitchen and paring knives
    Cutting board
    Green dry-erase marker (preferably washable)
    Large bowl and spoon
    Brown sugar or raw sugar
    Small dolls or beach themed toys
    Wash watermelon under cool running water, and pat dry. On a cutting board, place watermelon on its side, and cut off 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the stem end, being careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind. This will provide a sturdy base.
    Using the dry-erase marker, draw a wave from the top of the watermelon halfway down, similar to a backwards C. Repeat on the other side to form a wave.
    Use the knife to carefully cut away the parts of the watermelon that you will not be using. Use the spoon to hollow out the watermelon, reserving the inside watermelon to cut up and serve.
    Place the carving on a serving platter covered with brown sugar. Decorate with toys and shells, and fill your carving with fruit.
    Kathryn Rem can be reached at kathryn.rem@sj-r.com.

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