SECOND SLICE: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU MICROWAVE A WATERMELON?

September 18th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I posted this Q&A in the past, but I was reminded of it recently when a friend asked me the exact same question. It was good advice four years ago, and it’s good advice today.

picALEX OF ANNAPOLIS, MD, ASKS: My friends and I were wondering what would happen if you microwaved a whole watermelon. Any ideas?

Interesting question, Alex. I’m assuming you’re microwaving a watermelon purely for scientific research, because I can’t really think of any other reason to microwave a whole watermelon.

Whatever your reasons are, I’m going to say DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. It’s not a good idea, and it’s a waste of a perfectly good watermelon.

That said, let’s start with some basics about how microwaves work. The process of heating food in a microwave is actually caused by a reaction between the water molecules in the food item and the microwaves passing through it. The microwaves cause the water molecules to spin and give off heat energy. During this spinning process, the water molecules are rubbing against other water molecules, creating a chain reaction and causing things to heat up very quickly.

So, you can imagine what might happen to something like a watermelon, which is 92 percent water by weight and whose watery interior is effectively sealed off by a thick rind. You’re probably imagining lots of pressure building up inside as the watermelon heats up and something disastrous happening when the watermelon reaches its breaking point, right?

I scoured the Internet for answers and found a video that shows what happens when you microwave a sliced watermelon (nothing exciting) but no videos or testimonies of whole watermelon nuking. Similar videos showed the results of microwaving watermelon-like foods such as tomatoes (nothing), bananas (burned and charred but no explosion) and eggs (boom!).

You’re going to be disappointed with my final answer, Alex, but the truth is, I’m not really sure what would happen if you put a whole watermelon in a microwave. I thought about testing it for myself, but good sense and my love of watermelon prevented me from taking such drastic action.

My advice again is this: DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. If you have a watermelon and you really want to do something crazy with it, I’d suggest using it to make some sweet and sour watermelon chicken.

UP NEXT: My attempt at making watermelon jerky

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NOT-SO-QUOTABLE WATERMELON: THEY CAN’T ALL BE GREAT!

September 16th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

You know how sometimes I’ll take a historic quote and swap out one of the words and replace it with watermelon? It’s a topic I like to call “Quotable Watermelon,” and I try to do it at least once every other month.

Normally, I choose quotes that have the same meaning when you add the word “watermelon” to them, or at least have a different but still inspiration meaning. For example, in June, I discussed the humorous line “A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands.” I replaced “chocolate” with “watermelon” and the quote was still entertaining, plus it doubled as a testament to the fact that watermelon really is a key part of a balanced diet.

But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, adding “watermelon” just makes them silly and deviates entirely from the original intended meaning of the quote. The following are a few examples.

Quote Lombardi

Vince Lombardi was a great football coach who got his players fired up with some passionate speeches, but I’m pretty sure this line wouldn’t have won him many games. It might have made his players hungry for a nutritious snack, though, so that’s kind of a win.

Quote Sandberg

This one is tricky. I mean, if were offered a seat on a giant watermelon, I’d probably jump right on. Same thing with a rocket ship…but I’d pack an extra set of clothes, because I might be gone a little longer.

Quote Tongue

Now that I think about it, this quote isn’t all that silly. My parents taught me to say “watermelon” when I was two years old and, despite what my high school guidance counselor might tell you, I like to think that I’ve progressed rather nicely.

UP NEXT: What happens if you microwave a watermelon?

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RECIPE: WATERMELON ICE CREAM CONES

September 12th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSummer is drawing to a close (boooo!!), but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying an ice cream cone now and then, right? In the case of today’s recipe, you can also make a watermelon “ice cream” cone.

And, to help give summer the sendoff it deserves, you can make this recipe to celebrate National Ice Cream Cone Day coming up on September 22.

This recipe is kid-friendly (no drippy ice cream!), and you can top it with pretty much anything you’d like. You can use sprinkles, pineapple chunks, chocolate chips, a drizzle of chocolate syrup or coconut flakes. Which topping would you use?

WATERMELON ICE CREAM CONES

INGREDIENTS

8 ice cream cones
8 tablespoons of pineapple cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup dried craisins
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
8 scoops of seedless watermelon (use an ice cream scooper)

INSTRUCTIONS

Place a tablespoon of the frosting into the bottom of each cone. Divide the craisins over the frosting. Top the craisins with the yogurt. Place an ice cream scoop of watermelon on top of each cone and serve. Finish with toppings of your choice.

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

UP NEXT: Silly watermelon quotes

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SEPTEMBER PRIZE: LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS WATERMELON SHARK!

September 10th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Remember a few years ago when I carved a watermelon shark? Well, I was surfing Amazon the other day in search of this month’s watermelon-related prize and I came across a watermelon shark fruit server that was not only awesome, but it also looked remarkably similar to my watermelon shark carving.

Don’t believe me? Check out the two predators side-by-side below.

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The ceramic shark is on the right, and my shark is on the left. Or is the ceramic shark on the left and mine’s on the right? I honestly can’t tell, but I have a gut feeling that someone saw my awesome watermelon shark and said, “Hey, we have to turn that incredible work of art into an adorable fruit server!”

Alright, so maybe that’s not what happened, and maybe the ceramic shark really is the one on the left, but it could have happened, right? Of course, they could have also seen the watermelon shark carving on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website, which is where I got my inspiration.

Either way, I’m giving away the ceramic watermelon shark as this month’s prize. I should clarify that the Amazon description of the shark says it’s made of ceramic, but other descriptions more specifically describe it as being made from Dolomite. I have no idea what Dolomite is and how it’s different from other kitchenware materials. If someone can explain it to me, please feel free to leave a comment.

I’ll choose one comment from all the comments left on the blog this month to win this toothy prize. Good luck!

UP NEXT: A recipe for watermelon ice cream cones

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VIDEO: THE FASTEST WAY TO CUT WATERMELON CUBES

September 8th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve featured watermelon carving tips here on the blog in the past, including my own tips for easy ways to turn a watermelon into wedges and a video of a guy who transforms a watermelon into cubes in about 20 seconds.

A friend recently forwarded me a link to a video that shows a guy who demonstrates a very interesting way to create cubes, both quickly and efficiently. Check it out below.

What amazes me most about his technique is how so little of the red watermelon flesh is wasted. Almost all of the flesh is removed, which is something that never happens when I try to cube watermelon. I usually make big wedges, then lay them flat and do the semi-circular cut down by the white part to separate the flesh from the rind.

The result is lots of red flesh still on the rind (which I nibble off when I’m done, so I guess that’s not such a bad thing), OR I cut too close to the rind and get bits of white in the cubes. Again, not a terrible thing, but this proves that there is an easier way to do it!

UP NEXT: Our September prize!

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TOUCHDOWN! 7 WATERMELON IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT TAILGATING PARTY

September 5th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSummer is my favorite season, but fall isn’t so bad, either. I like the crisp, coolness in the air and all of the pumpkin-flavored goodies that make their annual appearance. As a football fan, I also like fall because it signals the start of tailgating season.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next tailgating party, you’d be wise to start with a visit to the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

Below are just a few ideas I found on the website to help take you next tailgating event to the next level.

A watermelon keg – Okay, this is more of a carving than a recipe, but you’ll find lots of ideas for beverages to put in the keg on the “Drinks” page of the website, too.

Watermelon BBQ Sauce – This sauce is easy to make, and it goes great on just about anything you might be grilling.

Watermelon Glazed Mini Barbeque Meatballs – If you love meatballs (and who doesn’t?), you’ll love these meatballs made with a watermelon barbeque sauce.

Pulled Pork with Watermelon BBQ Sauce – A little pulled pork at a tailgating event is never a bad thing, right? A little pulled pork with watermelon? Even better.

Chipotle Maple Citrus Watermelon Wings – Wings are a staple of any football party, and these will not only score you some points, they’ll probably be the game-winning touchdown.

Flash Grilled Watermelon Cheddar Burgers – This recipe is so simple, you have no excuse NOT to make it. Just grill up a slice of watermelon and slap it on top of a burger. That’s it!

Grilled Spicy Watermelon – As long as you’ve got the grill fired up, you might as well throw a few of these spicy watermelon wedges on there.

UP NEXT: The fastest way to cut watermelon cubes

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THE 2014 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST WINNERS ARE…

September 4th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picThis year’s Watermelon Carving Contest was by far the most successful carving contest we’ve hosted here on the blog. We received nearly 100 carvings, which more than doubled last year’s total.

But it wasn’t the sheer number of carvings that amazed me; it was the quality of the carvings. Intricate rind etchings, elaborate flowers and stacked arrangements, really funny and creative carvings. I was truly impressed and blown away by all of them.

That’s what made the task of choosing a first, second and third place winner in each category so challenging. Thankfully, I was only tasked with advising on the winners. The folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board were the ones with the tall task of combing through all of the entries and picking the best of the best.

In fact, they had such a tough time choosing the winners that they decided to add a fourth place prize ($25) to each category.

Below are photos of the first place winners in each category followed by YOUR pick for the $500 People’s Choice award. Thanks again to everyone who entered carvings in this year’s contest, and thanks to everyone for voting!

BEST FRUIT BASKET CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($150): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA

SECOND PLACE ($100): Truc D. from Davis, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Nicole H. from Webster, WI
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ethyl D. from Nederland, TX

FUNNIEST CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Jeanne F. from Manhattan Beach, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Donna L. from Merced, CA

 MOST ELEGANT CARVING

1. Eric Lai -3D FLOWER WITH LEAVES_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Eric L. from Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

SECOND PLACE ($100): Nan D. from Kingston, TN
THIRD PLACE ($50): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada
FOURTH PLACE ($25): John M. from Lapeer, MI

STAR SPANGLED CARVING (PATRIOTIC)

1. Dustin Evans - EAGLE_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Rose F. from San Diego, CA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

BEST ANIMAL CARVING

1. Aneta Lekas - PEACOCK_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada

SECOND PLACE ($100): April S. from Jackson, NJ
THIRD PLACE ($50): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

PEOPLE’S CHOICE CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($500): Donna L.  from Merced, CA

UP NEXT: Some tailgating inspiration

 

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CELEBRATING LABOR DAY WITH THE HELP OF WATERMELON

August 29th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

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Isn’t it funny how we celebrate a day dedicated to the American labor movement and the social and economic achievements of workers by taking a day off from work? Of course, I’m talking about Labor Day, which is coming up on Monday, September 1.

Not that I’m complaining about having a three-day weekend. For me, the day will be celebrated by firing up the grill, forgetting about the yard work (I’ll actually do it the day before) and eating way more food than I probably should.

That menu will include the usual assortment of burgers, hot dogs and, of course, watermelon.

When most folks think about watermelon holidays, they probably think of Memorial Day and Independence Day, but Labor Day isn’t far behind. Watermelon shippers will supply close to 170 million pounds of the fruit to Americans in the 10 days before Labor Day.

More than 100 million of those pounds are produced by just three states: Indiana (41 million pounds), California (35 million pounds) and Texas (33 million pounds). Surprised that a northern state like Indiana leads the way? I was, too, but apparently Indiana is among the nation’s leaders in all sorts of crops.

But, regardless of where the watermelon comes from, one thing’s for sure: No matter where you live in this great country of ours, you’ll be able to find the ultimate Labor Day treat in a grocery store near you!

UP NEXT: The 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest winners!

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WATERMELON LANDS ON THE COVER OF MAD MAGAZINE!

August 27th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picWhen I was a kid, I used to read MAD magazine like it was the only magazine on the planet. So, you can imagine how tickled I was when I spotted this month’s issue on newsstands which featured Mr. Alfred E. Neuman himself enjoying a big ole wedge of watermelon.

That’s the cover on the right. Loyal MAD fans will appreciate the visual joke which pokes fun at Alfred’s perpetually missing front tooth.

The cover story promises a humorous look at “The 50 Worst Things about Food,” although I’m not sure if watermelon is included on that list. I can’t imagine that it is, because I can’t think of a single bad thing about watermelon.

Does anyone have any ideas for one of the “worst things” about watermelon? The only thing I can think of is the feeling you get when you want some watermelon and then you discover that there’s none in your fridge!

UP NEXT: Celebrating Labor Day tastefully

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AN INSIDE LOOK AT JAPAN’S LEGENDARY $200 SQUARE WATERMELON

August 26th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picDid you know that in Japan it’s customary for people to give fruit as a gift? It’s not uncommon for someone to present his or her neighbor with a simple orange or a small bunch of grapes. Yep, fruit is pretty much revered in Japan. Well, maybe not revered, but they do take fruit pretty seriously, and that’s a good thing.

They’ve even got high-end “fruit emporiums” where people can buy expensive, perfectly shaped fruits to give as gifts at special occasions like weddings, business meetings and hospital visits. One store sells apples for $21 each, strawberries for $69 a dozen and cherries for $159 per box.

But, the star product is the legendary square watermelon, which carries a price tag of more than $200. I’ve talked in the past about how the square watermelon are made – essentially, the watermelons are grown inside a special, square-shaped box – but the video below offers a closer look at the fascinating fruit.

The most incredible insight from the video: The super-expensive watermelons aren’t intended for eating because most of them aren’t even edible! That’s because they’re harvested before they’re fully ripe. Instead, most proud owners of a square watermelon simply keep them as a decorative accessory (they can be displayed for up to a year).

I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’d be able to “display” a watermelon for a year in my house. The longest I’ve ever kept a watermelon on my countertop was 37 and a half hours before I cut that sucker open and devoured it.

UP NEXT: Watermelon on the cover of a magazine!

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