Watermelons are the quintessential summer refresher, and since they are more than 90% water, they are hydrating on a hot summer day. Theories abound about how to buy a good watermelon, so here is my how to cut a watermelon tutorial to make summer easier.
Watermelons are full of vitamin C, A, potassium, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives watermelon its red flesh. So cut one up and let it refresh you on a hot summer day.
How to Choose
- Shape: choose a firm watermelon with a regular, symmetrical shape, not misshapen or narrow at one end. Choose one free of bruises or scars. Minor scratches are ok.
- Color and the Field or Ground Spot: Overall rind color is not a very good indicator. Look for a creamy yellow to orange “field spot”. This is where the melon sat on the ground as it grew soaking up the sun. Creamy yellow to orange means it grew longer and should be more ripe and sweet. Avoid melons that have no spot or where it’s white or pale green. They are probably not as ripe or sweet and they don’t ripen more after harvesting. The rind should be dull.
- Size: a watermelon should be heavy for its size, meaning it’s juicy. Pick up a few to compare and choose the heaviest one.
- To tap or thump: Not a good way to judge ripeness. Inconsistent results.
Mini or Full Size?
My favorite watermelon is the mini variety marketed under the name Dulcinea. They are super sweet, seedless and are available organic as well. Dulciea’s have a thin rind and are easier to handle because of the small size.
Choosing them is easy; they are ready and ripe. No trying to figure it out. The white “seeds” are not really seeds, but edible pips. Dulcinea's will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator. One will easily feed 8-10 people. By choosing a Dulcinea, I don’t end up wondering what I’m going to do with a lot of extra watermelon (but I do have ideas for you).
How to Cut a Watermelon
Bulky, round, and heavy, watermelons are hard to handle. To cut one safely, you’ll need a big, sharp knife and a cutting board or clean, flat surface.
- Slice a little piece off one end to create a flat surface.
- Stand the melon on the flat surface and cut in half top to bottom.
- Lay the flat side down again and cut the half into quarters lengthwise
- Lastly, slice each quarter into wedges.
How to Store
- Wash watermelon with soap and water as soon as you get it home, then store in the refrigerator. It will last the better part of a week.
- Be sure to refrigerate after cutting.Eat as soon as possible for best flavor. If you buy a half, cut watermelon at the market, be sure it was fresh cut as it won’t last as long.
- Look for a date sticker or ask a produce person when it was cut.
What to Do With Extra Watermelon
- Use a melon baller tool to cut round bite-sized balls of fruit
- Try this watermelon, quinoa and arugula salad
- Cut into cubes and add to a green salad with cucumber and feta cheese. It’s a great, refreshing and healthy combination.
- Cut slices with cookie cutters, insert a thin popsicle stick and freeze like popsicles.
- Use large round cookie cutters for a prettier look on platters or to add to salads.
- Add frozen cubes to smoothies
- Puree, drink the juice and add lime, recipe here. So refreshing!
- Make watermelon cucumber juice.
Here is a link to a 4th of July Menu Planner with Recipes to make your holiday easier.
Platt College says
Thanks for the tips. I hate bad watermelon. Such a waste!
Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says
This was so helpful! Thank you!!
You know summer has arrived when you see the watermelons. I was so glad to see the mini watermelon, although if it last 5 days I think I could eat the whole thing. Love your presentation.
Michael Varma says
Great timing. Looking to throw a party with fresh watermelon.
Hi Michael! Good! Today is a double header, two posts. Wait till you see the next one!