It’s coming up on summer party season, kicking off with Canada Day and Fourth of July – both happening next weekend already! With so many outdoor parties and barbecues that involve so many kids, I’m always trying to come up with fresh fruit in festive form. (And to be honest, I need something to nibble on to keep me away from the chips and cupcakes!) I came across these adorably carved watermelons courtesy of the watermelon experts, and I figure if I can carve a pumpkin, I can carve a watermelon. How cute is this spiky hedgehog? I may dig out and dust off my old melon baller and bring it back into rotation in my utensil drawer.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it an excellent hydrator during the hot summer months. It contains vitamin C and lycopene, and I was surprised to learn it contains more than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. In fact, fresh watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes – a 2 cup serving of watermelon contains and average of 18.16 mg and one medium-sized tomato contains 4 mg.
This carving was inspired by watermelon lovers Michelle Langer and Kate Surbey from Georgia. Thanks to watermelon.org for the photo and carving instructions.
Helpful hints . . .
- Drain cut watermelon and other fruit before placing it in the carving.
- When removing excess flesh try to leave it in big pieces – easier for making melon balls or cubes.
- Use a green dry erase marker – wipe off excess marker after making cuts.
1 medium-large round seedless watermelon
Large kitchen and paring knives
Green dry erase marker
Large bowl and spoon
Wash the watermelon under cool running water and pat dry. Placing the watermelon on its side, cut ¼” off the light yellow ground spot on the bottom so that it sits flat. Be careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind – this would allow liquid to leak from the bottom of the carving. Place the watermelon so that its stem will be the nose.
Find a point at the top of the watermelon about ¼ of the length of the watermelon. Using the dry erase marker, from that point, draw vertical lines half way down both sides of the watermelon. Then, from both points on the sides, draw horizontal lines straight to the back of the watermelon. If you are happy with your proportion, use your knife and cut the lines. Remove this whole portion and place to the side.
Using a large spoon, scoop out the fruit from the removed section and from the base. Chop this fruit into small cubes, drain and set aside.
Use a small paring knife make many small cuts to the edges of the head and body, as shown in the photo. These cuts should be short, small, irregular, angled, curved and almost resemble flames from a fire. Small irregular cuts create the look of the hedgehog’s coarse coat.
Take the removed rind and cut a 1 ¾” strip from the flat end. You now have a slightly rounded strip. Cut a triangle from the center of the strip to make the nose. To attach the nose, place toothpicks just above the stem spot to both side, and slide the base of the nose over the other end of the toothpicks, rind end down. You may need to secure with an additional toothpick. Put one in the tip of the nose and place a blueberry on the end.
Using the rest of the removed rind, cut 4 equal sized rectangles for the feet. Trim the backs of the rectangles thinner than the front, and then make two cuts on the front of each piece to create a point making the shape of a paw. Attach with toothpicks rind end down to the bottom edges of the hedgehog as shown.
To make the ears, draw two curved triangles that come to a point into the edges of the face area where desired. Carefully cut with the paring knife. Using your finger, gently push out the cut shape from the inside until it’s only slightly protruding, being careful not to crack or break the rind.
For the eyes, simply place 2 toothpicks slightly above the nose and put a blueberry on each end.
Finally, replace the hollow space of the hedgehog with the watermelon cubes. Place toothpicks in the cubes at the top to create the hedgehogs’ coat.
Thanks watermelon.org for the photo and carving instructions!
1. Using a round watermelon, slice one inch off of the bottom lengthwise to provide a stable base. Set aside. This cut will be used for the legs later.
2. Cut wing pieces out of back of watermelon. Cut red flesh off wings and reserve for salad.
3. Use the melon baller to scoop dots out of the rind side of the wing pieces – fill holes with watermelon balls.
4. Use a pencil to draw curved lines on two opposite sides of the wing pieces to create wing shape, then cut along the lines. To add dimension and layers to the wings, take a paring knife and trim the top edge of inside of wings to expose light green inside of rind.
5. Take the piece cut from bottom of melon and slice lengthwise in two. Make two cuts lengthwise, following the curve, 1/4 inch thick, to create two curved antennas. Then, cut 6 V-shaped legs.
6. Cut out the eyes using the same method as cutting out the dots on the wings and fill with melon balls. Trim pieces cut from eyes to make two thin discs to place at the end of the antenna. Make small cuts in the center of each disc and slide onto antenna.
7. Use sturdy toothpicks to secure legs and antennae to body. Arrange the wings to spread open and secure in the same manner.
8. Fill body with fruit salad.