NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WEAK PAPER AIRPLANES AND VERY STRONG WATERMELON

March 25th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Nine months. That’s how long I have to accomplish my New Year’s resolution of breaking a Guinness World Record for something — anything — related to watermelon.

I’d like to be brave and attempt on the current watermelon records for smashing watermelons with my head or crushing them with my thighs, but my first world record attempt will be something a little less physically demanding. In fact, the biggest risk with this feat is getting a paper cut.

That’s because my first Guinness attempt will be the record for the “Most Paper Airplanes Thrown into Watermelons in One Minute.” According to the Guinness website, the official tally is 12, and it’s a record held by Junguk Lee of South Korea.IMG_8133

Twelve. That’s it! Yes, I can see that framed Guinness World Record Holder certificate hanging on my living room wall now. I can also see my wife telling me to move it to the wall behind the door in the guest room.

The first thing I needed to do was make some paper airplanes. I also knew the airplanes had to have firm, pointy noses to allow them to pierce the hard rind of the watermelon. No problem! Ten minutes later, I had six pointy-nosed airplanes. They looked more like watermelon-piercing fighter jets if you asked me. I poked the tip of one against my finger. Pointy. Very pointy. This was going to be easier than I thought.

I stood about four feet away from my watermelon, wound up with my paper creation, and let ‘er rip like a 95-mile-per-hour fastball. The first airplane sailed a full 12 inches above the watermelon.

Okay. No big deal. I’m just getting warmed up.

I reared back with airplane number two and flung it forward with even more force than the first. It glanced off the side of the watermelon and careened towards our cat, who promptly pounced on it and claimed the aircraft for his own.

Maybe I was standing too close. I took a step back and hurled another plane toward the round, green target. Bull’s-eye!

Airplane number three landed smack dab in the center of the watermelon. Unfortunately, the flight also crumpled the nose of the airplane and left it lying in a sad little heap on the countertop. The watermelon, on the other hand, showed no signs of damage.

So, maybe this wouldn’t be as easy as I had thought. I needed to work on my throwing accuracy, and I definitely needed to work on creating sturdier airplanes. The latter point was driven home after a closer reading of the record on the Guinness website. Turns out, Mr. Lee of South Korea prepared over 50 paper airplanes for his record-setting attempt, and EACH airplane took six minutes to create.

Yep, lots of work and lots of practice lies ahead over the next 30 days. Stay tuned for my official world record attempt next month to see if all that practice pays off.

UP NEXT: SWEET WATERMELON TREATS

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

March 22nd, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Gifting fruit isn’t necessarily traditional in the United States, but in different parts of the world, giving fruit is customary. This entry from 2014 explains how giving fruit — especially unusually-shaped fruit — is popular in Japan and should probably become a custom here in the United States!

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Did you know that in Japan it’s customary for people to give fruit as a gift? It’s not uncommon for someone to present a 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.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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.

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 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: MY FIRST OFFICIAL WATERMELON WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON: SMOOTH MOVE, FRUIT NINJA!

March 9th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

This month on “Lights, Camera, Watermelon,” we’re all about making life a little easier with not one, but two different videos.

I came across this life hack video which shows you how to turn a watermelon into a watermelon smoothie with just a wire coat hanger and a drill. You may recognize this video from a 2013 post when I first discovered this. Ever since then, this trick has been making my life easier and easier. If I can whip up a whole pitcher of watermelon smoothies in less than two minutes without even busting out the blender, you can bet your melon I’ll give it a shot.

If you’re like me and hate washing dishes, you’ll love this hack. You’ll also like this video if you like to impress your friends and family with super-cool tricks. Forget the knife; just karate-chop your way to your next snack!

UP NEXT: SKINNY FISH TACOS

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WHICH OF THESE RECORDS SHOULD I ATTEMPT FIRST?

March 4th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

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Image courtesy of GuinnessWorldRecords.com

Break a Guinness World Record. That’s my 2016 New Year’s resolution, and it’s definitely a lofty goal. To be specific, my objective will be to break a Guinness World Record related to watermelon. Still lofty, but way more fun than attempting a record for, say, the most spoons balanced on your face (the record is 31, in case you were wondering).

Here’s how my journey will work: I’ll likely attempt several records this year and will walk you through a discussion of a particular record and one of my practice sessions. After that blog entry, I’ll practice some more and then write about my official world record attempt before moving on to another watermelon record.

For my inaugural record attempt; however, I’d like to get all of you involved by letting YOU choose which of the official Guinness World Records below should be first on my to-do list. Leave a comment with which one I should attempt first, and I’ll get to work next week by training for my brush with watermelon world record immortality.

  1. MOST PAPER AIRCRAFT THROWN INTO WATERMELONS IN ONE MINUTE – This record is exactly what it sounds like — just throwing pointy paper airplanes and getting them to stick in watermelon. The current record is 12, held by Junguk Lee of South Korea. I haven’t made a paper airplane in about 15 years, but I think I can make a serious attempt at this one.
  2. MOST WATERMELONS CRUSHED WITH THE HEAD IN ONE MINUTE – I get a splitting headache just thinking about this record attempt. (And I get downright terrified when I watch this video.) But, if I must attempt it, I will. By the way, the record is 43 watermelons smashed. It was set by a thick-skulled gentleman named Tafzi Ahmed of Germany.
  3. MOST WATERMELONS CHOPPED ON THE STOMACH IN ONE MINUTE – First of all, I’m not sure what Guinness means by “chopped” (they’ll provide specific guidance for all official attempts). Do I have to hold a watermelon on my stomach and let someone chop it with a knife? If so, please don’t vote for this one. If it means someone will be karate-chopping the watermelon with a hand, that’s a little better, I suppose. The record — whatever the chopping method may be — is 48, set by Bipin Larkin and Ashrita Furman in Jamaica, New York.
  4. FASTEST TIME TO CRUSH THREE WATERMELONS WITH THE THIGHS – What’s with all the watermelon violence in these records? Impaled with paper airplanes, smashed with heads, chopped with who-knows-what, and now crushed with thighs. Thigh strength isn’t my strong suit, but if you’d like me to take a shot at breaking Ukrainian Olga Liashchuk’s record of 14.65 seconds, I’ll do it.

UP NEXT: MARCH PRIZE

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WATERMELON SNAPSHOTS: EXCUSE ME, SIR, THERE’S A BABY IN MY WATERMELON

January 28th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Earlier this month, I introduced one of our newest blog features, “Lights, Camera, Watermelon!”, which takes a look at the latest in watermelon videos. Now I’m happy to introduce our second new feature, “Watermelon Snapshots.”

For this one, I’ll sift through droves of selfies, memes and retro-filtered photos on Instagram to find the best watermelon snapshots the Internet has to offer. Here are my top five selections for January!

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For being totally adorable and inside a watermelon, this kid doesn’t look too thrilled. Maybe he’s going for that “I’m cute, but I’m bad” vibe. (Image via @funnybabydaily)

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You know what? Even though this is technically a “girl’s bike,” I’d still proudly ride this two-wheeled ode to watermelon around my neighborhood. (Image via @llaollaonuh)

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It’s the ultimate test of love to get a tattoo of someone or something on your body, which is why I could totally see myself getting this slice of watermelon ink for myself. The only question is, where would I put it? (Image via @kiara_marshmellow)

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Looking for an easy and nutritious snack? Fitspiration_goalss shows us a nifty little trick to cut squares right from the rind. Because who needs a bowl when you have a watermelon? (Image via @fitspiration_goalss)

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This optical illusion is making me very, very hungry. Wait, isn’t that hypnosis? Maybe it is. Either way, I’m still hungry. (Image via @futuristufuk)

Stay tuned for next month’s Watermelon Snapshots. If you see any fun watermelon photos online, leave a comment with a link, or upload your own watermelon photos, along with the hashtag #watermelon, for a chance to have your photo featured here on the blog!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: OUR FEBRUARY PRIZE

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MY 2016 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION IS…

January 19th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

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I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several weeks — as I always do this time of the year — thinking about what my 2016 watermelon-related New Year’s resolution will be. Like I mentioned in December, past resolutions have included competing in a seed-spitting contest (2012), growing my own watermelon (2013), competing in a watermelon-eating contest (2014) and last year’s resolution to cook more meals with watermelon.

This year’s resolution is a lifelong dream of mine and promises to be, I hope, the most fun watermelon resolution I’ve attempted thus far. In 2016, I will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for something involving watermelon.

Which world record will I attempt? Good question. I’ll probably attempt several — maybe three or four over the course of the year — and chronicle the process here on the blog. That process will include announcements about which record I’ll attempt next, updates on my practice sessions and full recaps of my successful or unsuccessful official record-breaking attempt.

There are no shortage of existing watermelon-related world records on the Guinness website, either. There’s the “Heaviest Watermelon,” set by our friend, Chris Kent. I probably can’t cross that one off my attempt list, because we all know from my 2013 resolution that I’m a terrible watermelon farmer.

There are several records involving smashing watermelons with your fist, your head or even your thighs. For example, the most watermelons crushed with the head in one minute is 43. That record was set by a thick-skulled gentleman from Germany back in 2011. Maybe I’ll attempt one of those types of records; maybe I won’t.

Or maybe I’ll invent my own record (Guinness has an application process for new records). That certainly seems like the easiest way to enter the record books. After all, if the current record doesn’t exist, any attempt will become the new world record.

Regardless of which route I take to world record immortality, I can promise you it will be a very determined but very fun year filled with highs, lows and probably lots of bumps and bruises. Stay tuned next month for an announcement about my first world record attempt. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas for new world records I should suggest to Guinness, leave a comment!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: SHRIMP AND WATERCRESS SALAD

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON! MOLTEN ALUMINUM AND SWEET, SWEET CAKE

January 14th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

This year, I’m going to be switching things up here on the blog with two new monthly features. This one is called “Lights, Camera, Watermelon!” With these posts, I’ll show you two or three of my favorite watermelon videos from around the Web. So, put aside those cat videos and get ready for some watermelon-tainment.

First up is a video from YouTuber TheBackyardScientist, who shows us just what it looks like when you pour molten aluminum into a watermelon. This sounds like the kind of science experiment that my parents said was too dangerous for me. Molten aluminum + a watermelon = exploding fruit? You’ll have to watch and see for yourself.

Spoiler alert: Our second featured video will give you the hunger of a hundred competitive eaters (in case you don’t know, that’s pretty darn hungry). I don’t know about you, but if I saw this sitting on the table, I’d be surprised to find what’s inside. Find out for yourself in this video from How to Cake It.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE

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SECOND SLICE: ASK THE EXPERTS – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WASH YOUR WATERMELON?

January 11th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Watermelon is arguably one of the easier fruits to consume, as it requires very little effort to eat. You just cut, slice and enjoy, right? Well, sort of.

Many people often forget a small, but very important, step. Washing your watermelon is necessary to remove any dirt or unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. Just before you are ready to cut the watermelon, simply give it a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge.

ROBERT K. OF ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, ASKS: If you’re not going to eat the outer rind of a watermelon, why is it so important to wash the watermelon before you carve it?

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Image courtesy of WikiHow.com

Excellent question, Robert. It’s one that I’m particularly fond of, because I’m a stickler for this important, but often overlooked, step of the watermelon-eating process.

Traditionally, we wash things to make them clean and generally more sanitary, right? We wash our hands before we eat (or at least we should). We wash our dishes. We wash our clothes. We wouldn’t think of NOT washing these things on a regular basis, so it only makes sense to wash our food, too.

The main reason it’s recommended that you wash your watermelon is to remove any dirt or other unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. I’m not going to go into details about what sort of “stuff” might be loitering on the rind, but just think about how many people may have handled your watermelon in the grocery store before you purchased it, and that should paint a clear enough picture for you.

That wash-it-before-you-carve-it recommendation isn’t just my opinion. It actually comes from the USDA, the FDA and the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

So, how should you wash your watermelon? According to the aforementioned organizations, a quick but thorough bath under cool, running water should do the trick. For fruits with an outer surface that isn’t eaten (like a watermelon), feel free to also give a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge. And, although you might be tempted to add some dish soap or detergent to the mix to get things extra clean, the USDA and FDA recommend against that, because those cleaning solutions might not be approved by the FDA for use on food.

From start to finish, your watermelon bath will only take a minute or two, but the results — a clean and delicious watermelon — are well worth it!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON!

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“WATERMELON BOY” BECOMES AN INTERNET SENSATION

January 4th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

 

 

Image courtesy of @tensporttv via Twitter

Image courtesy of @tensporttv via Twitter

There are people who eat watermelon, and then there are people who eat watermelon like a boss. Mitchell Schibeci — aka “Watermelon Boy” — is one of those bosses.

The 10-year-old boy was spotted chowing down on a watermelon, rind and all, during a televised cricket match in Australia on January 2 and the rest is viral video history. The game’s commentators gave him some screen time (check out the video below) with some commentary about his eating habits and the hashtag #WatermelonBoy started trending throughout Australia and soon spread worldwide.

“It was a lot more hard work than I thought it would be. I just kept on eating and eating it,” said Mitchell soon after the match. “I’ve been doing it for a long time. I just like the taste of it.”

Mitchell said he had been eating watermelon rind since the age of two. He’s the son of Australian sports radio host Tony Schibeci, who’s Twitter feed has been blowing up with updates about his suddenly famous son.

“Oh Boy. My son is the new family Cult Hero,” tweeted the elder Schibeci after realizing what a stir his son had created.

A hero, indeed. Smart, too. There are a lot of nutrients in watermelon rinds, and young Mitchell is an inspiration to watermelon lovers everywhere.

UP NEXT: JANUARY PRIZE

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GUEST BLOG ENTRY: HOW TO “BEAT THE BLOAT” IN THE NEW YEAR

December 28th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

As a former competitive eater, I’m no stranger to eating more than I should. But trying to stay away from the food you crave around the holidays can be really difficult. So what do you do? We asked Elizabeth Somer, our expert nutritionist and dietitian, how to avoid feeling bloated and, more importantly, how to stay satisfied without being stuffed.

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Who hasn’t had one of those days when you can’t get your “fat” jeans to zip up? Your eyes are puffy, your canvas shoes are too tight, your stomach resembles a water balloon, and you feel like you’ve gained 10 pounds since lunch. One in every 10 people report being frequently bothered by bloating. The good news is, all of this is avoidable!

Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD; image courtesy of VickyandJen.com

Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD; image courtesy of VickyandJen.com

There are two basic causes of bloating. First, if you are puffy all over, that’s water retention. The one-two punch to beat it is to cut back on sodium and consume more water. (That’s right, consume more water!)

Give up the salty junk, like processed and fast foods, and consume more liquids to dilute the sodium in your body so your kidneys can flush out excess fluid. Watermelon is Mother Nature’s natural diuretic. It’s 92% water, low in sodium, and rich in another mineral – potassium – which makes it the perfect combo for flushing out sodium and being bloat-free. Compliment that watermelon snack with enough water throughout the day so your urine is pale yellow.

Second, if it’s only your tummy that’s pooching, that’s probably gas. Typically, too much gas-forming foods, such as legumes, sugary or highly refined grains, and even dairy products and wheat for some people, can cause gas when bacteria that live in your colon dine on leftovers your small intestine didn’t digest. The result is bloating and discomfort. Cut back or cut out these foods, eat frequent small meals, and avoid chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, and wolfing down a meal where you swallow air that ends up as gas later on.

As always, if your discomfort or bloating is chronic or painful, you should consult your physician to rule out a serious medical digestive disorder. But if it’s just water retention or gas, following these tips should help you beat the bloat in 2016!

UP NEXT: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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