For those of us who long for something that screams summer the way jack-o’-lanterns howl Halloween, look no further. Meet the watermelon.
When carving a watermelon, one must be struck with one of two things: inspiration or aspiration. Flip through Pinterest, run a Google Images search, but above all else, familiarize yourself with the style of watermelon carving. It is more refined, more intricate, and more daring than pumpkin carving.
Be bold! Every watermelon carving master started out with no skill whatsoever.
Once you have settled on a design then it is time to find the perfect melon.
Benjamin Franklin said men and melons are hard to know. Watermelons come in all different sizes and weights, so keep a picture in mind and hunt for a melon that will match. The bigger, the more delicious the watermelon, then the heavier and more difficult it is to maneuver. Slap the melon soundly and choose one that has a solid, deep, resonant sound. Look for a melon with bee stings. They’ll look like little puckered dots. They are the sweetest things on this green earth. For more information about choosing a watermelon, check out the article by Joanne Ozug, “How To Pick A Superstar Watermelon,” published on Fifteenspatulas.com on April 25, 2011.
In addition to the watermelon, the following are necessary:
-A clean carving area
-Pen or sharpie
-Razor blade, or other small knife
-Larger knife, preferably a carving knife.
Set out the garbage bags so you don’t have to worry about wiping up juice later. Then, trace your design in ink. I chose a ninja turtle, and it took a few tries to get it right, so I would recommend taping paper to your melon and tracing it a few times on the paper before taking the plunge and irrevocably marking your melon. The key to using the ink and the knives is to take slow, deliberate and accurate strokes.
Once you know how your design will look, cut a hole in the melon (like slicing the top off a pumpkin), and scoop the red deliciousness into your bowl. Much easier and more entertaining than pumpkin carving, you can snack immediately on your victim—I mean, project. There’s no need to roast the seeds or save the innards for pie because there really is no preparation necessary for eating melon.
Once you are satisfied with your trace, it’s time for the razor blade. Use the knife to partially carve your melon. Go over everything that you want carved, but the razor blade slices only need to be one-eighth of an inch or so deep. This is really just to make sure that, even if your melon is so ripe that it is prone to splitting, or if your melon is bigger on the inside, it splits along the lines you’ve made. Some of the really big ones almost carve themselves.
Next, take your larger knife and finish carving your design, keeping in mind that you are making smooth, slow, sure strokes. This is not the time to practice your axe-murdering hacking skills. Keep in mind that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Remember how difficult it is to start something new, and something as unique and fun as watermelon carving is a skill worth developing.
Cheap, fun date with a built-in snack? Check. Forever alone project that doubles as a conversation starter and makes it look like you have a fun and adventurous life? Check. Move over, pumpkin king. The watermelon is coming through.