I’ve written in the past about how fans of a certain professional football team in Canada have made a tradition of wearing watermelon helmets on game day. The team has no known connections to watermelon, although the team color is a very watermelon-like shade of green, so I’m not really sure what sparked this practice. Probably a mixture of alcohol and boredom.
I’m not suggesting that anyone wear a watermelon helmet during the upcoming “big game” on February 5, but I would like to offer the following step-by-step guide to carving your own watermelon helmet (adapted from the instructions on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website). Unlike the fans’ helmets, this one isn’t for your head, it’s for filling with fruit salad. It’ll be empty by half time though, so what you do with it after that is completely up to you.
Large carving knife
Small paring knife
STEP 1 – Using a round watermelon, slice off a piece approximately four inches from the stem. Set this piece aside to create the facemask later. Although you can’t tell from this photo, the watermelon I used was one of those small volleyball-sized personal watermelons (those aren’t dinner plates). I’d recommend using a larger watermelon — something closer to the size of an actual football helmet — if you can find one this time of the year.
STEP 2 – Make a curved cut from one side of the melon to the other to create the face portion of the helmet. Hollow out the entire melon. I used an ice cream scoop to get most of the red stuff out and then used a regular spoon to scrape the inside down to the white rind (that part took a little while). As you can see, my mini watermelon yielded quite a bit of juicy goodness. There was actually a lot more, but I ate it while I was scooping it out.
STEP 3 – To make the mouth guard part of the helmet, take the piece that was set aside in step #1 and place it cut side down. Postion knife at the center of stem end and cut in half. Remove flesh. Then cut the top part (the stem part) off of that section so it lays flat when you put it in the helmet.
STEP 4 – Carve mouthpiece with a small paring knife and use a potato peeler to shave off the green skin. To assemble, place mouth piece on a plate. Place the helmet piece on top, pushing the ends of the facemask towards the inside of the helmet. Use toothpicks to keep the mouth guard in place, if you need to. Fill with fruit salad, crab dip, or your head.