Monday, July 22, 2024

How to Cut a Watermelon With Photos

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During the summer months when watermelon is in season, practically every grocery store has a large display of the fruit parked in the produce section. You’ll see shoppers gather around it, doing things like inspecting the sizes and shapes of different watermelons, and tapping them to check for ripeness.

If the idea of cutting up a whole watermelon — or even just picking one out — seems intimidating, chances are you avoid the seasonal display and just grab the precut kind in the plastic containers instead. But while prepackaged watermelon can certainly be a convenient option, it isn’t exactly the freshest, and you’ll usually have to pay a bit extra for it.

The truth is, learning how to cut a watermelon is actually pretty easy, even without those fancy kitchen gadgets you see online, so go ahead and grab a whole one to enjoy. Below, learn all about how to pick a watermelon and cut it using three different methods.

How to Pick Watermelon

Shape

Just like many other fruits, there are visual indicators that can give you a good idea of how sweet or ripe a watermelon will taste. The main sign is its shape: look for rounder, more spherical watermelons, as they tend to taste sweeter. The oblong looking ones, on the other hand, are typically watery and bland.

Rind

When picking out a watermelon, pay attention to the shininess of the rind. The shinier the rind looks, the less ripe it is. Some watermelon rinds may also feature a field spot — a circular area on the rind that doesn’t have any stripes — or webbing, which is a rough, brown, web-like patch. Orange field spots indicate a highly flavorful watermelon, while white field spots are common in bland ones. Similarly, a small area of webbing is a sign of sweetness, while large webbing indicates low flavor.

Sound

When you see people at the store knocking on a watermelon or putting it to their ear, it’s because the sound varies based on ripeness. Listen for an echoey, hollow sound rather than a dull, muffled one that lacks resonance. Keep in mind that even though you want your watermelon to sound hollow, you definitely don’t want it to feel that way. Seek out watermelons that feel noticeably heavier than they appear, because it means they’re juicy and ripe.

How to Cut a Watermelon

How to Cut Watermelon in Slices

POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín

For picnics and barbecues, cutting watermelon into slices is a popular choice because it leaves part of the rind on, allowing you to eat it by hand. To cut a watermelon into slices, start by cutting the whole watermelon in half from stem to stem. Then, position each half so the fleshy pink side is flat on the cutting board, and make slices about an inch apart. This method gives you half-moon shaped slices, which can also be cut in half to create triangular slices.

How to Cut Watermelon in Cubes

POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín

Much like slicing, this method also starts by cutting a watermelon in half and placing it pink side down. Instead of going right to slicing, however, trim off the rind little by little, following the curved contours of the watermelon. When there are no green or white traces of the rind remaining, you can then slice the watermelon vertically then horizontally into cubes of your desired thickness.

How to Cut Watermelon in Sticks

POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín
POPSUGAR Photography | Kalea Martín

Cutting watermelon into sticks is a great option if you want smaller servings or plan to serve them like popsicles. To achieve this, start with a halved watermelon. If your watermelon isn’t perfectly spherical, cut it through the middle rather than stem to stem, otherwise your sticks won’t be very long. Then, after placing the watermelon cut side down, create both vertical and horizontal slices, forming a grid. Remove the outer pieces (these will mostly consist of the rind) and you’ll be left with watermelon sticks.

Tips for Cutting Watermelon

Safety

When cutting watermelon, it’s best to do so on a big cutting board, rather than a plate, so you have a stable cutting surface. Opt for a knife that has a large, strong blade about as long as the cross section of your watermelon. This will ensure that you don’t have to do a ton of sawing back and forth, and that the knife will be less prone to slipping.

Storage

Watermelon has a shelf life of about two weeks, but once you cut it, it shortens significantly. According to the USDA, you have about three days to eat cut watermelon before the flavor and texture starts to degrade. For optimal freshness, make sure to store your watermelon in a covered container during this period, and keep it in the fridge.

Repurposing the Rind

Most people toss the rind in the trash or compost because it’s seen as inedible. However if you want to make your food stretch or reduce waste, consider using it as an ingredient in a dish, for example, this viral TikTok watermelon-rind recipe. You can even turn your watermelon rind into kimchi.

Serving

Once you learn the different ways to cut watermelon, it’s easy to get creative with serving. With watermelon sticks, for example, you can pair them with a dipping sauce like vanilla yogurt or even mustard, if you’re feeling adventurous. Cubed watermelon goes great in salad, especially when paired with feta, or you can try it in a bowl of “nature’s cereal” for a sweeter option. Of course, sometimes simplicity is key — eating cut-up watermelon on its own can be just as enjoyable, whether you use a fork or just dive right in.

Kalea Martín writes primarily about food and cooking for PS, but as a former figure skater and hockey player, she covers fitness, too. Prior to becoming a lifestyle writer, Kalea covered hotels, restaurants, and travel for Luxos Magazine in Milan and worked in marketing at HarperCollins Publishers.



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