DECEMBER PRIZE: 3 GIFTS FOR THE WATERMELON LOVER IN YOUR LIFE

December 4th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve decided to mix things up a little bit this month when it comes to our monthly prize. In the spirit of the holidays, instead of featuring one watermelon-related gift and giving it away to one comment chosen at random, I’m going to feature six cool prizes (three today and three more on Wednesday) and let the winner pick which one they’d like to receive.

The other reason I’m featuring six watermelon prizes is to help everyone with their holiday shopping by giving you ideas for things to get the watermelon lover in your life. I know I could use some inspiration now and then. Every year I tell myself that I’m going to have my shopping wrapped up long before Christmas, and every year I find myself scrambling the day before to get it all done. Does anyone else find themselves in a similar predicament?

If all my friends and family members were watermelon lovers, I wouldn’t have that problem, because they’d be getting one of these gifts and they’d love it:

A WATERMELON GROWING KIT ($9.06 on Amazon.com) – I’ve always wanted to grow my own watermelon, but I never know how to start the process. That’s where the Sprout ‘n Grow Greenhouse comes in. This kit is actually an all-in-one product that allows you to grow your very own Sugar Baby watermelons. It includes watermelon seeds, a windowsill greenhouse, planting mixture, instructions and an information sheet. The best part? When the recipient harvests his or watermelon later in the year, they might invite you over to their house to help eat it!

A FAKE SLICE OF WATERMELON ($11.50 on DisplayFakeFoods.com) – I’m not sure if this delicious-looking gift is thoughtful or just kind of mean, but I’m leaning toward thoughtful. Just look how real this slice of watermelon is! Who wouldn’t love to have a slice of watermelon sitting on their desk all year long, even if it’s a fake one? I know I’d like it; plus, it would inspire me to eat more watermelon – and that’s always a good thing.

A WATERMELON-SCENTED CANDLE ($9.99 on Amazon.com) – This gift is sort of like the fake slice of watermelon because it’ll probably make you really hungry for watermelon. But here’s the thing: If you’re a watermelon lover, you’re always hungry for watermelon, so it’s okay. This 16-ounce candle offers approximately 90 hours of sweet watermelon-scented burn time. The only question is, do you save it for the spring and summer, or do you fire this thing up on December 25 two minutes after you open it?

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FEATURED WATERMELON CAKE: ROUND CAKE POPS

November 30th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

Most of the watermelon cakes featured here are, well, cake-shaped. These cake pops aren’t. Unlike the last cake pops I wrote about, which were shaped like watermelon wedges, these bite-sized morsels are shaped like tiny watermelons.

The coolest part about these watermelons is the creator’s attention to detailing the white inner rind. I’m assuming that was done by dipping these pops in some sort of white frosting before dipping them in a green outer frosting.

The only question is, how many of these things could I eat in one sitting? I’m guessing somewhere in the baker’s-dozen range. After that, I’d have to take a break to recover a bit before digging in again.

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GALLAGHER THE WATERMELON KILLER (IN SLOW MOTION)

November 28th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

We’ve talked about Gallagher in the past here on What About Watermelon. We’ve debated whether his watermelon-smashing comedy routine is “a crime against watermelon or all in good fun.” We’ve also wished him well in his recovery from a heart attack. If the recent video above is any indication, it looks like the man and his trademark Sledge-O-Matic are doing just fine.

The three-and-a-half minute video, titled “Gallagher in Slow Motion,” is exactly that – a slow-mo look at what one man and his wooden sledgehammer can do to watermelons and other defenseless foodstuffs (although a bowl at the 1:15 mark fights back by taking a few chunks out of the Sledge-O-Matic). The video crosses into the bizarre soon after that with a shirtless Gallagher swinging a flaming sledgehammer. Then again, he’s kind of a wacky guy, so the scene sort of makes sense, doesn’t it?

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ASK THE EXPERTS: THE CASE OF THE HAUNTED WATERMELON?

November 26th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

ED ASKS: I had a watermelon sitting on the kitchen table when all of a sudden it split and began to squirt its juices as far as seven feet. What would cause this?

 

Wow. That sounds pretty bizarre, Ed. So bizarre, in fact, that if I found myself in that situation, I’m not sure if I would find it funny or if I would run screaming into the other room.

I’ve heard of watermelons splitting open and spewing juices and/or foam before. I’ve even heard of watermelons “exploding.” For some reason, whenever I read stories about watermelons doing these types of things, I get the same feeling inside that I do when I read stories about encounters with ghosts.

For an answer to your seemingly supernatural question, I turned to an expert in weird watermelon occurances, Dr. Penny Perkins-Veazie. She’s a plant physiologist and professor who’s pretty much seen it all when it comes to the strange things that fruits and vegetables do.

A breeder once described a scenario in which visitors were so enamored with these cute little watermelons that they loaded up the station wagon, only to have them explode (and I do mean explode!) all over the car. 

Watermelon splitting (or exploding) can be caused by the “exploding gene,” which is found in many of the heirloom varieties, or from increased water turgor in the watermelon. Sometimes just placing the fruit on a surface, bumping it, or touching it with a knife will cause an immediate pop on the side. 

Of course, the other reason watermelons can split is because of bacterial infections inside the watermelon. Like many fruits, watermelon are susceptible to certain decay organisms and wild yeast. When this happens, it can lead to a fermentation process inside the watermelon. Pressure can build inside, causing the watermelon to split and erupt like a volcano or to foam uncontrollably.

So there you have it, Ed. You’ve either got a watermelon with an “exploding gene” or a bacterial infection. I asked Dr. Penny if ghosts could somehow be responsible for your watermelon’s bizarre behavior and she stood by her previous answer. I’m not saying your watermelon was haunted, but I feel compelled to offer to that as a possible explanation.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

November 22nd, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

My mother taught me never to talk with my mouth full, but she didn’t say anything about typing with my mouth full, so here’s a quick blog entry while I enjoy some Thanksgiving appetizers.

I hope everyone out there is able to enjoy the good company of friends and family members on this delicious holiday. And if the company isn’t good, hopefully the food is! From The Watermelon Guy’s family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!

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QUOTABLE WATERMELON: HOW’S YOUR WATERMELON MATH?

November 20th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

The anonymous quote above is a humorous take on the far-fetched math problems all of us likely remember from our middle and high school days. You know the kind I’m talking about. If not, here’s an example, inspired by today’s quote:

Billy purchased 80 watermelons at the farmers’ market. He ate six of them after leaving the market and sold half of the remaining watermelons to a local grocer before arriving at his friend Susan’s house. If he gave five watermelons to Susan and five watermelons to each of Susan’s three brothers, then ate three more watermelons after leaving Susan’s house, how many remaining watermelons did Billy have?

Leave a comment with your answer to this delicious problem. One thing’s for sure: If I were Billy, I’d have 60 watermelons remaining. In other words, I wouldn’t sell or give away any of them … but I’d probably eat 20 of them on the way home.

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THANKSGIVING RECIPE: WHO’D LIKE SOME WATERMELON RIND PIE?

November 16th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

I can never decide what my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is. I love the appetizers, but probably only because I haven’t eaten anything since lunch the previous day in preparation for my Turkey Day feast.

I love the turkey and the smorgasbord of side dishes, but only if I haven’t overindulged on the apps beforehand. And the desserts … oh, the desserts! Unfortunately, by the time the sweets come out, I’m way too full from gorging on appetizers, dinner and post-dinner (that’s the fourth plate of food that I usually eat while I’m helping to clear the table). But I’m a trouper, and after a quick 30-minute nap on the couch, I’m usually ready to eat a few pieces of pie and pumpkin loaf.

But if this Watermelon Rind Harvest Pie is on the menu this year, I might just skip the 30 minute nap and get started on the dessert course a little early. That’s right, it’s made with watermelon rinds. I might have to make this myself!

WATERMELON RIND HARVEST PIE

INGREDIENTS

3 cups watermelon rind (chopped)
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 9-inch pie crust (pre-made/frozen is fine)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp orange juice

DIRECTIONS

Available on AllRecipes.com.

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THANKSGIVING RECIPE: GINGERED JAPANESE WATERMELON SALAD

November 14th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

The next watermelon Thanksgiving recipe offers some assistance with a side dish and also comes from the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

If you ask me, a good salad should include some sort of meat (preferably bacon) and be topped with a mound of cheddar cheese. This salad has neither of those, but that’s a good thing, because I think it sounds pretty good as it is.

As the name implies, this combination of watermelon, carrots and spinach leaves has a subtle Asian vibe, which might actually make it a nice contrast to the usual Thanksgiving fare. If you’re really concerned about it, just add a bunch of bacon to it when no one  is watching.

GINGERED JAPANESE WATERMELON SALAD

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces baby spinach leaves, cut into strips
3 cups shredded carrots, blanched and cooled
3 cups small cubes of seedless watermelon
1 cup Japanese-style ginger dressing
1 cup toasted sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS

In an 8 x 11 inch serving dish, layer the spinach on the bottom, then the carrots, with the watermelon as the final layer. Pour the dressing over the top and sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

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THANKSGIVING RECIPE: WACKY WATERMELON CUBE

November 12th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

By a show of hands (or comments), how many of you plan to feature watermelon somewhere in your Thanksgiving spread? Hopefully a few of you have your hands raised, because watermelon is pretty easy to work into the spread, either in an appetizer, a main course or a dessert.

Today’s Thanksgiving recipe starts with a watermelon-themed appetizer. This particular recipe is featured on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website. Although it might take a little while to create (a good task for kids who are anxious to help out on Thanksgiving morning), it’s a pretty neat idea.

The picture on the right shows a cube with some sort of salami in it. You can feel free to add salami to the mix, but you’ll need to adjust your cube totals below accordingly (you’ll need a total of 125 cubes). You’ll also need to make sure your cubes are all pretty equal in size. If they’re not, things might not stack up as evenly as they should. For that task, I’d recommend using one of those adjustable cheese slicers to create slices of cheese and watermelon that are all the same width. You could also use one of these “obsessive chef” cutting boards with all the measurement lines on it. Good luck!

WACKY WATERMELON CUBE

INGREDIENTS

45 equal-size cubes of watermelon
40 cubes white jack cheese
40 cubes yellow cheddar cheese
1 cup ranch dressing
Toothpicks (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Build a wacky cube by methodically alternating cubes, making a 5-cube x 5-cube layer on the bottom. Build four more layers on top. Serve with ranch dressing dip. Provide toothpicks for easy poking and serving.

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SECOND SLICE: HOW TO TAKE YOUR WATERMELON TO THE NEXT LEVEL

November 8th, 2012 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve eaten approximately 47,000 watermelons in my 37 years, which makes me sort of an expert on eating watermelon. Don’t bother doing the math; just trust me that it’s true. Having eaten so many watermelons, I’ll be the first to admit that occasionally you get one that seems to be missing a little something. And by “something” I mean flavor. There, I’ve said it. It’s nobody’s fault, it just happens.

If this happens to you, the important thing to remember is not to panic. You can always take the watermelon back to the store and, in most cases, they’ll be happy to exchange it for another watermelon. If you don’t feel like taking it back to the store (and why should you? Most “missing something” watermelons still make great snacks), the trick below, courtesy of TheKitchn.com, can be used to bring any watermelon back to life.

NOTE: Although this trick can turn a below-average watermelon into a good watermelon, it can also be used to turn a good watermelon into an amazing watermelon. That’s assuming, of course, that your taste buds can handle so much awesomeness.

I took a tip from the practice of salting watermelon, which concentrates the juice and makes the sweetness more pronounced. Sugar has a similar effect, so I put out a couple tablespoons of sugar, along with the zest of a lemon and a couple handfuls of fresh mint leaves.

I cut up about half of a small watermelon in thick slices, and layered the watermelon slices on a plate. As I layered the wedges, I very lightly sprinkled the slices with sugar. Then I rubbed some zest over the layer and sprinkled with chiffonaded mint. I did this to each layer of the watermelon slices, finishing off the dish with a full sprig of mint.

There you have it, folks: a little sugar, a little lemon and a little mint. This trick works because watermelon has an incredible ability to absorb different flavors. That’s also why we often see watermelon used to complement other dishes.

Before you dive into this trick, you might want to try just one of the ingredients (mint, sugar, or lemon) to see if one is all it takes. If it works, let me know with a comment. I’ll try it, too, and let you know the results.

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