Watermelon is a delicious fruit and a refreshing and nutritious addition to any meal. It can, however, be a time-consuming chore to get all that fruit separated from the rind and into the salad bowl. The following is a simple trick to tame this chore so that it will take just a few minutes from start to finish.
The following items will make the task much easier:
- A bowl that will hold most, if not all, of the watermelon after it's cut up.
- A fine, serrated knife that is long enough to slice diagonally through the watermelon.
- A knife with a pointed tip and a fine, serrated blade about six inches long.
- A large cutting board or surface.
If you don't have these items, it's not a disaster. However, if you've always intended to get them but just haven't, it might be worth a trip to the dollar store.
Place the watermelon crossways on the cutting board and saw the rind off one of the ends. You will notice that the deeper you go, the harder it will be to continue sawing. If you have a long enough knife, you can use your free hand to push down on the tip of the blade and then alternate downward pressure between the tip and the handle to "rock" the blade down through the watermelon. The technique you use doesn't matter as long as you end up with even slices and hands that have all fingers still attached. Your goal is to cut disks out of the watermelon that are just the right thickness for good, bite-sized pieces. In my opinion, a good thickness is about 3/4", but YOU are the master chef and have complete control over your creation.
Once you have your first slice, you have a couple options for separating the watermelon from the rind:
- Pick up the watermelon disk and hold it on edge in your non-cutting hand as if you were going to roll it across the kitchen floor. One of the edges should be facing you. Now, take the small knife in your cutting hand and, with the blade facing away from you, pierce the watermelon disk just above the rind. Carefully saw back and forth and begin cutting away from you around the inside of the rind. Be careful not to cut away too much of the good melon or to leave too much of the rind behind. Once you've cut a few inches and the knife is getting close to your holding hand, loosen your grip on the melon and slide your hand back away from the knife. Re-grip and cut a few more inches. Keep this up until you've cut all the way around and the melon is about to separate from the rind. At that point, put the knife down, place the melon flat on a large plate and, remove the rind. Hey, why not later juice the rind and gain the benefits of the whole watermelon! Watermelon rind is a great source of vitamins and other nutrients.
- Lay the disk down on a large plate and use the small knife to cut around the inside of the rind as you turn the plate. Lift off the rind and do with it what you want. With the watermelon lying flat on the plate, start at either edge and quickly draw the small knife straight down from the top edge to the bottom edge through the watermelon. Continue making even, parallel cuts all the way across the melon. The width of the slice will determine how big your watermelon bites will be. If you're feeding horses, cut accordingly. Now, turn the plate 90 degrees either way and make the same quick cuts across the entire surface in this direction. When you're done, you'll have a checkerboard pattern of watermelon cubes that will easily slide off when you tilt the plate over the bowl. Continue cutting up the rest of the watermelon the same way and, with a little practice, it won't be long before you're able to cut up a whole watermelon in about five minutes. Once your watermelon is cubed and inside the refrigerator, it'll be quickly accessible when you need a refreshing snack.