WEEK TWO PRIZE: THE WATERMELON iPHONE CASE

July 10th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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Throughout history, there have been certain inventions that we, as humans, couldn’t imagine living without. The wheel, the television, and the bacon cheeseburger are three must-haves on my list.

Over the past few years, however, I’ve added the smartphone to my list of life-changing accessories. I can’t imagine what life was like before the smartphone. Actually, I’ll tell you what it was like. I had a cellphone that only made phone calls and took pictures that were so bad, I might as well have just pulled out a pencil and paper and sketched the image myself.

Now, I have a smartphone. I can use it to post watermelon blog entries. I can use it to take high quality pictures (and video!) of my two-year-old singing Old MacDonald. I can use it to check baseball scores. I can use it to look up dinner recipes. I can use it as a GPS in my car to help me get from point A to point B without stopping to ask for directions. Oh, and I can also use it to make phone calls, but why would I when texting is so much easier?

To protect my life-changing smartphone, I definitely wouldn’t mind having this week’s prize: The watermelon iPhone case.

The plastic case fits the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, and I’ll choose one comment at random from all the comments left on the blog this month to win it. If you win and you don’t have a smartphone, we’ll figure out a suitable alternative … although you might consider this a good excuse to get a smartphone. Seriously, your life will never be the same.

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SECOND SLICE: WATERMELON CARVING TIPS

July 8th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

picSome of you might have already started your watermelon carving for this year’s Watermelon Carving Contest. Others might still be trying to figure out which carving to create.

Either way, there’s still plenty of time left to submit your entry before the August 4 deadline for your shot at the $500 grand prize or one of the first, second and third place prizes in each category. And don’t forget, the first 25 entrants automatically receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board! (That’s mine under the hippo on the right.)

To help with the carving process, I’ve dusted off some tips originally posted here on the blog during last year’s contest.

TIP #1: USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB

Over the course of carving various watermelon animals, I’ve learned that one knife will not get the job done, especially on the more intricate creations. In many cases, even two knives aren’t enough. For most of my carvings, I’ve needed three knives: one long carving knife for the big cuts, one medium-sized steak knife for other tasks, and one small paring knife (or smaller if you’ve got one) for the detail work. Arm yourself with all three tools, and you’re well on your way to creating a winning carving in this year’s contest!

TIP #2: BE PATIENT!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while carving each of those designs, it’s the importance of being patient and taking your time. Carving a watermelon requires a little extra care and precision. It’s not like carving a pumpkin, which has a more rigid and forgiving surface. Not to mention that my watermelon carvings were much more intricate than any pumpkin carving I’d ever done (most of which were just three triangles and a jagged mouth).

So take your time with your watermelon carving and think about each step and each cut before you make it. A good watermelon carving might take you an hour or two to create, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

Hopefully these tips help you in your watermelon carving process. Honestly though, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Good luck with the watermelon carvings, and remember: Even if you’ve never carved a watermelon, you should still enter this year’s carving contest. Some of the best carvings in last year’s contest were from first-time carvers!

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THE GREAT VALUE OF WATERMELON

July 5th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

picI’m a big fan of watermelon for two main reasons: It’s delicious and it’s affordable. While the deliciousness of watermelon is a subjective opinion and can’t be measured, its affordability is something that definitely can be measured.

An article in the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Magazine shed some light on which fruits and vegetables pack the most punch for your pennies.

According to the article: “In order to provide greater clarity on the true cost per serving for fruits and vegetables, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) commissioned the Perishables Group to conduct a study using its national supermarket fresh foods database. The goal: determine the lowest average cost at any given time during the year for a consumer to meet dietary recommendations by purchasing nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day.”

And so, the Perishables Group spent weeks upon weeks analyzing mountains of grocery store data. Turns out, watermelon is the least expensive fruit per serving in the produce aisle!

Here’s the kicker: Not only is watermelon the most affordable fruit, it also provides a pretty high yield per fruit. Below is a graphic created by the National Watermelon Promotion Board that shows off just how much deliciousness a single watermelon offers. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

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WEEK ONE PRIZE: THE DEXAS WATERMELON CUTTING BOARD AND WATERMELON KNIFE

July 3rd, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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One thing I’ve learned in my relatively short career as a watermelon carver is that you can’t carve a watermelon without a good knife and cutting board. With the 2013 Watermelon Carving Contest just underway, I thought a cutting board and watermelon knife would be a good choice for the first of four weekly prizes given away here on the blog throughout National Watermelon Month.

The set is from the good folks at Dexas, who make all sorts of bright and colorful kitchen accessories. We’ve given away the Dexas cutting board and knife in the past, but this board and knife are new-and-improved. The board is slightly smaller than the previous version, which makes it nice for people (like me) with limited countertop space.

The knife is also different. While the old watermelon knife had a green handle and a red blade, this new model takes the theme a step further with a very cool watermelon color scheme on the blade.

The team at Dexas sent me the new board and knife to test in The Watermelon Guy kitchen and it works fantastically. Even if you’re not carving something fancy for this year’s contest, this set will come in handy for everyday watermelon slicing and dicing.

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

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HAPPY NATIONAL WATERMELON MONTH!

July 1st, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

picWait, July is here already? Where did April, May and June go? Not that I’m complaining. July is my favorite month, mainly because it’s the month of my birthday, the weather is great, and it’s when baseball season is in full swing. Oh, and it’s also National Watermelon Month.

I’ve got a couple things planned this month to help you give watermelon the celebration it deserves. First, I’ll be giving away four weekly watermelon-related prizes. The gifts range from watermelon cutting boards (see this coming Wednesday’s entry) to a pair of watermelon shoes. I’ll choose the winners at random based on all the comments left on the blog this month, so be sure to comment often!

The second theme you’ll notice this month is about the 2013 Watermelon Carving Contest. For those who missed my entry last week, this year’s contest is searching for carvings in five categories:

Most Elegant Carving
Best Fruit Basket Carving
Funniest Carving
Best Animal Carving
Best Watermelophant

Carvings must be emailed to jslice@whataboutwatermelon.com before August 4 to be considered. (See the contest webpage for more details and important instructions.)

And if the fun of carving a watermelon isn’t enough of a reward for you, there are also some great prizes. Each category will feature a 1st prize ($150 Amazon.com gift card), 2nd prize ($100 Amazon.com gift card) and a 3rd ($50 Amazon.com gift card). When all the winners have been chosen in August, we’ll post them here on the blog and let the fans choose the “People’s Choice” winner, which will receive a $500 Amazon.com gift card!

As one final incentive, the first 25 entrants will automatically receive a bonus participation prize – the Dexas watermelon cutting board.

So there you have it – a National Watermelon Month celebration for the ages. The next four-and-a-half weeks are going to be a blast, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, they’ll also be over before you know it, so sit back, relax and enjoy the festivities!

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HOW TO CARVE: A WATERMELON TIKI MASK

June 30th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

Can I tell you how happy I am that the bin of full-sized watermelon has returned to my local grocery store? It’s been there for about two months, and the return of the watermelon bin means the return of watermelon carving.

I had a great time carving watermelons for entries on the blog last year and last month’s hippo was the perfect transition back into carving season. It was fun and light hearted, and it wasn’t all that difficult. Now it’s time for something a little more challenging – the watermelon tiki mask.

MATERIALS NEEDED

1 oblong seedless watermelon
Pencil or green dry erase marker
Melon baller
Paring and kitchen knives
Spoon
Channel knife
Toothpick

melon 1

Start by thoroughly washing and drying your watermelon. Get used to this step, because you’ll see it in every watermelon-carving entry this summer.

melon 2

Slice about ¼ inch off the bottom of the watermelon to provide a stable base. Then draw the tiki face using a dry erase marker. Next, cut out the eyes and the rough shape of the mouth (you’ll cut the teeth later) and scoop out some of the red flesh inside to create a good-sized cavity. You’ll also use a melon baller to scoop out the nostrils. Your small paring knife can be used to clean up any rough edges in the nostrils, eyes and mouth. Next, cut the individual teeth using the paring knife.

Melon 3

Finally, use a piece removed from the mouth to create a “bone” decoration for the top of the head and attach with a toothpick. After your watermelon rind bone is attached, your tiki mask is complete!

Melon 4

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THE 2013 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST HAS ARRIVED (WITH PRIZES!)

June 28th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

pic2It’s no secret that I enjoy carving watermelon almost as much as I enjoy eating it, which is why I’m excited to announce the start of the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s Fourth Annual Watermelon Carving Contest!

Like last year’s contest, the prizes are pretty awesome. Each category will feature a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize. Prizes include $150 Amazon.com gift card for 1st place, $100 Amazon.com gift card for 2nd place, and $50 Amazon.com gift card for 3rd place in each category. When all the winners have been chosen, we’ll post them here on the blog and let the fans choose the “People’s Choice” winner, which will receive a $500 Amazon.com gift card!

Also, the first 25 entrants will automatically receive a bonus participation prize – the Dexas watermelon cutting board. That’s right, you get a prize just for entering!

Here’s how the contest works:

Carve a watermelon between now and August 4 and send a picture of the carving AND a picture of you posing with the carving to jslice@whataboutwatermelon.com. On August 4, a special panel of judges will choose three finalists in each of these five categories:

- Most Elegant Carving
- Best Fruit Basket Carving
- Funniest Carving
- Best Animal Carving
- Best Watermelophant

I know what you’re thinking: What’s a Watermelophant? A Watermelophant is one of the food animals co-starring in the upcoming movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (in theaters September 27). By partnering with Feeding America, the movie’s produce partners are helping to solve hunger by donating thousands of pounds of fresh produce to families and children in need.

I’ll show you how to carve a Watermelophant in a blog entry next month. In the meantime, feel free to check it out on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

So there you have it! For complete contest rules, check out the carving contest web page. And, of course, if you have any questions along the way, feel free to leave a comment on the blog or email me at jslice@whataboutwatermelon.com. Good luck!

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RECIPE: CREAMY WATERMELON SALAD

June 25th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I’m not what you’d call a “salad guy” – unless that salad is covered in cheese, bacon and ranch dressing – but today’s recipe is one I couldn’t pass up. It’s more of a fruit salad than a regular salad, and the addition of a cream cheese, mayo and whipped cream “dressing” gives it a tangy yet sweet kick.

The original recipe called for half a cup of whipping cream, which you can whip into whipped cream yourself. That’s pretty easy to do, so feel free to give it a shot. But if you’d rather save some time, go ahead and buy pre-whipped whipped cream.

The end result of your efforts should look something like the photo below. That’s how mine looked, at least. As for the taste, it was great. The only change you might consider is skipping the celery (for those of you who aren’t celery fans). If you do drop the only green ingredient, I’d recommend adding raisins!

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CREAMY WATERMELON SALAD

INGREDIENTS

4 cups watermelon balls, chilled

4 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 cups whipped cream

1 1/4 cups diced celery

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend cream cheese with mayonnaise until fluffy. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Fold in celery and bell pepper. Place watermelon balls in dessert glasses and spoon dressing over top. Sprinkle with pecans. For a sweeter dish, add sugar to dressing to taste.

 

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AND NOW, A MESSAGE FROM GALLAGHER!

June 23rd, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

You’d think a man who has smashed “over 100,000 pounds of watermelon” in his lifetime using a giant wooden mallet would be an enemy of mine – after all, I am The Watermelon Guy – but I’m not one to harbor a grudge.

Of course, I’m talking about Gallagher, the comedian who made it big in the 70s and 80s with an act that combined jokes with pulverizing various fruits and vegetables using his trademark “Sledge-o-Matic” hammer. Of all the food items he punished, watermelon was definitely his favorite. Maybe because it was so big. Maybe because it was so affordable. Or maybe because it made a huge mess when it exploded all over the first five rows of the audience.

Whatever the reason, I’m proud to call myself a Gallagher fan. Yes, he’s destroyed thousands of watermelons over the past four decades, but he’s also done a lot to help promote watermelon. For example, to help kick off the summer with a laugh, the National Watermelon Promotion Board teamed up with the funnyman to create the short video above.

I might never ruin a perfectly good Crimson Sweet the way he does, but Gallagher does take some time in the video to encourage folks to “eat more watermelon.” Finally, something we can agree on.

 

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RESOLUTION UPDATE: ONE MONTH IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

June 21st, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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It seems like just yesterday I was planting my watermelon seeds and watching them sprout on my windowsill for the very first time. Four weeks ago, I transplanted the seedlings into my outdoor garden and, I’m happy to report, the resulting sprouts are doing quite well despite my very limited farming experience.

I’ve kept a close eye on my baby watermelon plants in the month since they made the transition into an outdoor environment. I’ve watered them on days when Mother Nature didn’t do it for me. I’ve kept the weeds at bay by plucking them as soon as they got within eight feet of my melon patch. I’ve even stood over my little sprouts at night and sung a lullaby to help them drift off to sleep.

Okay, I’m kidding about the lullaby thing, but the watering and weeding parts were definitely on my to-do list. At the top of this entry is a photo of my future Sugar Baby watermelons. They still don’t look like much, but by the end of the summer (fingers crossed), they should be ready for harvest.

The watering, from what I’ve read is the most important part. They are, after all, WATERmelons. As such, they need steady watering throughout the growing season. Experts say they need about one inch of water per week. I have no idea how to measure inches of liquid, so I just give my patch a spraying whenever the soil seems dry. Is that not the right thing to do? I guess we’ll see in a few months.

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