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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WATERMELON ACCEPTS THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

August 21st, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

By now, you might have seen the flurry of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos making the rounds on Facebook and other social media channels. The premise is simple: Nominees have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads (while also making a small donation to the ALS Association) or skip the icy bath and donate $100.

The goal, of course, is to raise awareness — and money — for the ALS Association in their fight against the disease. So far, the effort is working, with the ALS Association reporting $31.9 million in funds raised since July 29. That’s 16 times more than it raise during the same period last year!

The National Watermelon Promotion Board recently accepted the challenge AND made a donation to the ALS Association. Check out their video below, and visit the ALS website to make a donation of your own…no donation is too small!

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SECOND SLICE: HEADING BACK TO SCHOOL (WITH A LITTLE WATERMELON)

August 20th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picAhh, back-to-school time. Some kids are excited about it. Some kids dread it. I was one of the few who got excited about it. I’d lay out all my new school supplies days ahead of time, sharpening all my new pencils perfectly, zipping them up in the little plastic pouch in my Trapper Keeper.

Now that I’ve got a four-year-old who’s heading off to pre-school this fall, things like “back-to-school season” take on a new meaning to me, and I’m able to relive some of the bittersweet joys that came with the end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new school year.

I will admit that I really need to work on my pre-schooler lunch-packing skills. According to my wife, a Cup-o-Noodles and a soda aren’t a suitable midday meal for our daughter’s lunch box. (Really? Then why do they fit so perfectly in there?) Besides, that’s exactly what I ate in college on most days, and I did awesome in college. Just sayin’.

And then I think back to my own school lunches. Occasionally, I’d get watermelon in my lunchbox, which happens to be the topic of this post.

Moms everywhere: If your son or daughter is packing a lunch this year (I’m assuming kids still do that), please consider changing up the ole apple and orange fruit rotation by putting a little watermelon in there now and then.

If you need some ideas, you can find some fun recipes for kids on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website. Some might be good for lunchboxes. If you want to do something simple, consider just a few chunks of watermelon in a baggie. It’s nutritious, it’s delicious… it’s fun! Throw in a few banana slices and grapes, put it in a plastic container, and that’s great, too.

I assure you I wasn’t pressured into writing this “better lunches” blog entry by a group of angry children. It’s just a simple plea from the kid in me who remembers how great it was to get some watermelon for a mid-afternoon snack now and then.

UP NEXT: A healthy take on a classic dessert

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2014 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST: VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE CARVING!

August 18th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSix weeks ago, we asked you to submit carvings for our 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest, and you definitely answered the call! We received lots of carvings, and all of them were great, which made it very difficult to choose the first, second and third place winners in each of our five categories:

Best Animal Carving

Most Elegant Carving

Best Fruit Basket

Funniest Carving

Star Spangled Watermelon (patriotic carving)

The folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board have chosen the winners in each category, and now it’s up to YOU to vote for which carving will win the $500 People’s Choice award.

To vote, stop by the 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest voting page to check out the People’s Choice award contenders and cast your vote before August 31. We’ll announce the People’s Choice winner AND the category winners on September 1. Good luck to all of the competitors, and may the best carving win!

UP NEXT: Back to school (with watermelon)

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YEP, I DROPPED MY WATERMELON

August 15th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

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It was bound to happen sooner or later. Over the years, during my grocery shopping unloading chores, I’ve dropped cartons of eggs, jars of pickles and even a bottle of soda which popped its top and sent a geyser of root beer all over the kitchen.

But this past weekend, after twenty-something years of doing my own grocery shopping, I finally dropped a watermelon. You can see the results above. What you can’t see is me standing there in the parking lot next to my car, simultaneously fighting the urge to cry and yell four-letter words for all the world to hear.

The horrifying event happened in what seemed like slow motion. I placed the watermelon in a plastic grocery bag (you can see where this is headed, right?), but I didn’t double bag it. Yes, I know, I really should have double-bagged it – and I usually do – but on this day, I didn’t.

As I was lifting the bag out of the cart and moving it into the trunk of my car, the bottom of the bag suddenly opened up, and my beautiful, seedless snack began its descent to the hot pavement four feet below.

My eyes widened when I saw it happening. My free hand immediately lunged forward in a desperate attempt to catch the fruit, but it was too late. I got a fingertip on it, but my effort wasn’t enough. Down, down, down it went, hitting the parking lot with what sounded like a combination between a hollow thud and a wet splat. (What was most shocking, was how fast the juice flowed from that split watermelon. What you see above happened in just the 15 seconds it took me to put the rest of my groceries in my car.)

After I composed myself, I considered my options. I could scoop up the remnants and toss them in the trash, or I could gather the broken watermelon and try to salvage it to enjoy later. Seeing no major dirt and grime on the red flesh, I opted for the gathering and salvaging option. I also decided to snap a quick photo of the crime scene because I knew this would be a story worth telling.

UP NEXT: The People’s Choice voting in our 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest begins!

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