3 Ways to Cut a Watermelon
Like first dates and kisses, cutting up a watermelon can be a little bit, well, awkward. Aside from carving pumpkins, this deliciously sweet treat is probably one of the biggest fruits you’ll ever try to cut, and they can be somewhat slippery and hard to handle.
Once you know how to do it, though, cutting them down to size is easy, especially if you rely on the precision of well-balanced Chicago Cutlery knives. We’ll show you how to take your watermelon from unwieldy to under control with confidence!
WORTH THE WEIGHT
The taste is enough for us, but there are actually compelling health reasons to eat more watermelon. Even though this refreshing, low-calorie fruit is more than 90 percent water, it’s still full of vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of lycopene, a heart-healthy antioxidant. When choosing a sweet, juicy, well-ripened melon, look for:
- Dull dark green skin that’s free of bruises. (A shiny surface indicates the melon’s not ripe.)
- A creamy yellow (not white) “field spot,” which is the place where the sun didn’t shine on the melon.
- A uniform shape.
- A fruit that feels heavy for its size, which means it’s full of water and fully ripe.
WELCOME TO CUTTING CLASS
After you’ve selected your watermelon, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Use a well-sharpened CHICAGO CUTLERY® CHEF'S KNIFE, UTILITY KNIFE and PAIRING KNIFE to try your hand at any or all of these 3 easy methods:
- Using a chef’s knife, cut off the tapered ends of the watermelon.
- Stand the watermelon on one end and start from the top to cut it in half lengthwise with a downward vertical cut.
- Lay the two halves flesh side down, and cut them both in half lengthwise, leaving four long quarter sections. (For smaller wedges, you could slice each quarter in half.)
- Carefully remove the rind by using a utility knife, and separate just above where the rind meets the juicy flesh. (To maximize cutting safety, always cut away from your body.)
- Place a section on its side and create wedges by making vertical downward cuts at whatever thickness you desire. Repeat for each section.
- Cut off both ends of the watermelon.
- Halve the watermelon along its “equator,” or halfway between each tapered end.
- Position one half of melon flesh side down, with the cutoff tapered end facing up.
- Starting from the top, carefully trim off the rind with slow, downward vertical knife strokes. Rotate the fruit until all rind is removed.
- With the melon still standing on end, cut it into 1-inch-thick slices (or thinner, depending on how thick you want the cubes).
- Now stack the slices horizontally and make 1-inch-thick vertical cuts, leaving stacks of watermelon “sticks.”
- Rotate the stack 90 degrees and make another round of 1-inch-thick vertical cuts, which creates roughly 1-inch-square cubes.
SCALLOPED MELON FRUIT BASKET (WITH A HANDLE)
- Using a chef’s knife, cut off about a 1/2-inch-thick slice of rind from a lengthwise side (not an end). Do not cut beyond the rind. This creates a stable base on which to place the melon.
- Wrap masking tape (about 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide should work) around the “equator” of the melon, or halfway between both tapered ends. This tape will serve as an outline for the handle; it’s much more visible and straighter than lines you’d hand-draw with a marker.
- After placing the melon down on the flat base you created earlier, wrap a piece of painter’s tape all the way around the length of the melon, evenly from end to end. When you’re finished, the entire melon now will be crisscrossed by the two pieces of tape, dividing it into four sections. This second piece of tape will help you carve a decorative “rim” on your basket.
(Thanks to Synnove’s Home for the taping tip!)
- With the melon still lying on its flat base, use a chef’s knife to make a vertical cut straight down on each side of the masking tape that outlines the handle; stop cutting when you reach the top edge of the painter’s tape.
- Starting at the edge of the masking tape, where it meets the painter’s tape, use a paring knife to cut uniform V’s into the painter’s tape. The tape provides a good sight line to ensure you’re cutting all of the V’s at roughly the same depth. Go halfway around the melon, being careful not to cut into the handle on either other side.
- Now do the same thing on the other half of the melon, again using the painter’s tape to cut V’s into the rind.
- Gently give the sections on both sides of the handle a tug and separate them from the rest of the melon. Trim any melon flesh attached to the handle.
- Next, use a melon baller or a Baker’s Secret cookie-dough scoop to remove the rest of the watermelon’s flesh, creating the interior of the “basket.”
- Fill the basket with chunks of mixed fruit for a memorable, movable feast!
TIP: To create two watermelon “bowls” instead of one “basket” with a handle, follow the instructions above but skip all steps related to creating the handle.
We think of watermelon as a natural treat all on its own, but the sweet flavor also pairs well with tangy cheeses like feta or goat, peppery veggies like red onion or arugula, and fresh herbs like basil or mint. Mix melon cubes with a combination of cheese and greens, then drizzle with a vinaigrette made with olive oil and fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar for a refreshing salad that layers flavor upon flavor. Or just grab a stack of napkins (or bib) and get to eatin’ this juicy summer favorite!
YOUR TURN: Do you have another fun way to cut watermelon? Please share!