November 9th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Even though I’m a huge fan of summer, I still enjoy watching the transformation that occurs in autumn. Everything from the changing leaves on the trees to the crisp, cool air tells me that the dog days of summer are long gone.

There is one thing that happens in the fall that I dislike, however. It’s a terrible occurrence that takes place at nearly every grocery store nationwide around this time of year — when the watermelon bins disappear from the produce aisle. Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again, and the watermelon bin is already missing from my local supermarket.

If you’re like me, and can’t stand to be without watermelon until the spring, check out this post from 2013 to find out how you can still enjoy your favorite fruit.


As it relates to food, what’s the worst day of the year? For me, it isn’t the day after Halloween (when I wake up with asugar hangover after raiding my daughter’s candy supply the night before) or the day after an all-day pig out session on Thanksgiving. It’s the day the bin of watermelons disappears from the grocery store.

The exact timing of that day varies based on your location. In my neck of the woods, it usually arrives in late September. Shortly thereafter, the space where the bin of beautiful green melons once sat becomes occupied by a bin of orange pumpkins. They’re fun to carve and their seeds are tasty, but I’ll take the bin of watermelons any day of the week.

When the bin disappears, your watermelon options are to A) raid the pre-sliced and chunked section (in my grocery store, it’s over by the bagged lettuce) or B) ask your produce manager if he’s got an uncut watermelon in the back that he’s willing to sell for whatever the current per-pound rate is.

Of course, there’s also a third option – the mini watermelon. The mini watermelon (or “personal” watermelon) is often overlooked because it hides in the produce aisle on a display amongst many other softball-sized fruits. But I’m here to tell you one important thing: Don’t overlook this pint-sized gem!

Here are some things you should know about the little green ball of goodness:

  • Mini watermelons are the fastest-growing segment of the watermelon market.
  • Mini watermelons are usually seedless and have a thinner rind, which means you get more edible flesh per pound.
  • Mini watermelons have a uniform flavor throughout the fruit.
  • Mini watermelons are easy to transport and you’re more likely to eat the entire thing, which means less waste.

So there you have it – four very good reasons to give mini watermelons a try during your next trip to the grocery store. Actually, I can think of another reason: Mini watermelons are freakin’ adorable! Seriously, every time I buy one, I almost don’t want to cut it up because it’s so darn cute. But then I do slice it up and devour it, and I remember just how good that cuteness tastes.


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July 14th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

With our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest in full swing, I thought it might be a good time to revisit this helpful Q&A about how to keep that carving looking fresh. If you haven’t already entered this year’s carving contest, visit the official contest page for rules, categories and prize information!


SHIM ASKS: I was wondering how I should store a carved watermelon. I am planning to make either the turtle, shark or sailboat carving seen on your website for a party on Sunday morning. Should it be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature once carved? Should I wrap it, or can I leave it open? Most importantly, how many days before the event can I carve it? Thanks! k

All good questions, Shim. Speaking from experience (and the experience of others), your carving should be created as close to the event as possible. If you can carve it on the day of the event, that would be best, but the day before should be fine, too. You definitely don’t want to carve it three or four days beforehand. I’ve seen some beautiful watermelon carvings (including several of my own) after three or four days, and they definitely didn’t look as pretty as they had.

After you create your carving, the refrigerator is the best place to store it. I asked our resident carving expert, Chef Joe, about storage and he said moisture is the key to keeping an edible carving looking fresh. Chef Joe keeps his carvings wrapped in damp paper towels while storing them in the fridge, and he suggested you do the same.

Hope this helps! Have fun with your carving, and don’t forget to send me a few pictures!

UP NEXT: Our second National Watermelon Month prize

Remember: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our THREE weekly National Watermelon Month July prizes, so comment as often as you’d like! 


Don’t forget to enter our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest! We still need plenty of entries in the “Beginner” category, so all you new carvers should definitely enter for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on August 3. There are $4,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the official contest web page for categories, judging criteria and how to enter!

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June 12th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Summer is just over one week away, which means several things. More trips to the pool, more barbequed burgers for dinner, more watermelon and more popsicles. Today’s “Second Slice” gives you two things — watermelon and popsicles — at the same time.


Now that I’m 40 (it pains me just to type that), I don’t eat a lot of popsicles. Luckily, I’ve got a four-year-old running around the house, and she loves popsicles. She’s also not shy about sharing them with me, so I’ve been able to indulge in the long-lost snack more often lately. 5

The popsicles we buy are carefully chosen based on their combination of real fruit juice and overall healthiness. So when I saw a recipe on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website for “Watermelon Slice Popsicles,” I had to check it out. Turns out, it’s the simplest recipe they’ve got – just take a watermelon wedge and put a popsicle stick in the bottom!

You can freeze the wedges, either fully or partially, to make them colder and even more refreshing. I tested them out with our little popsicle critic and she gave them two thumbs up.

UP NEXT: The 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest has arrived!

Remember, all comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our June prize – a set of watermelon dip bowls – so comment as often as you’d like!  

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December 26th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve started planning my New Year’s Eve celebration menu (which includes lots of dip), and it reminded me of this blog entry from 2012. And yes, I’ll be celebrating from the comfort and warmth of my couch at home!

You know how you know when you’re getting old? When you stop thinking that spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square would be “a really awesome experience.”pic

I got smart and gave up that dream around the age of 32. That’s when I realized that spending eight hours in freezing weather surrounded by a drunken mob of tens of thousands of people might not be such an awesome experience after all.

Today, I’m quite content to spend New Year’s Eve on the couch with my wife, in the warmth of my own home. We still enjoy watching the ball drop on TV, though. I’m not sure how the tradition of dropping a ball started, but it’s inspired hundreds of towns of all sizes to drop all sorts of weird things to ring in the New Year.

In Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, they drop a dead carp seated in a throne. Honolulu drops a pineapple (no surprise there). In my hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they drop a giant strawberry. Fruit seems to be a popular choice for many cities. Peaches, oranges, apples, lemons – they’re all dropped in towns across the nation.

Only one town that I know of drops a watermelon. That takes place in Vincennes, Indiana. The town (pop. 18,449) grows watermelon and hosts the annual Vincennes Watermelon Festival, so their New Year’s Eve choice kind of makes sense.

But the townsfolk in Vincennes don’t just raise a watermelon to the top of a building in the center of town. No, no. They use a crane to raise a minivan-sized watermelon about 100 feet into the air and then, at the stroke of midnight, ten real watermelons fall from the belly of the big one and smash to bits on the ground. Check out the festivities in the video below.

Is it weird? Sure, but it’s no weirder than freezing your butt off in Times Square, hoping only to catch a glimpse of the ball because you’re three blocks away from the action.

UP NEXT: My 2015 New Year’s resolution

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November 10th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy


To grow a watermelon, you need three key ingredients (besides soil and watermelon seeds, of course): sunlight, water, and bees. The first two necessities should come as no surprise, but the last one might sound a little unusual.

You see, bees buzz from blossom to blossom, picking up pollen and spreading it around throughout the day. They do this in one of two ways: Either by carrying the pollen to another flower themselves or by transferring the pollen to other bees in the hive, who then transport the pollen during their daily routine.

And it’s not just watermelon that bees bring to life. They actually play a role in a third of the foods that we eat! More than 100 agricultural crops in the U.S. are pollinated by bees of all types, including honeybees (the busiest of the bee population), bumblebees and solitary bees.

Some foods can’t exist without the hard work of bees. Watermelon is one of these category four “essential” crops, along with cantaloupe, cocoa and vanilla. Other crops, like cucumbers, apples, mangos, avocados, pears and almonds, are category three foods, meaning that bees play a great role in their pollination.

To be fair, I should point out that our buzzing buddies aren’t alone in their pollination duties. They get a little help from flies, beetles and butterflies, but bees certainly perform the lion’s share of the task.

So, the next time you’re enjoying some watermelon in the backyard, and you see a bee going about its everyday tasks, pause for a moment to offer thanks. I’m not sure how to communicate gratitude to a bee, but a simple smile and nod should do.

UP NEXT: One of the most dedicated watermelon lovers in the world

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September 18th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I posted this Q&A in the past, but I was reminded of it recently when a friend asked me the exact same question. It was good advice four years ago, and it’s good advice today.

picALEX OF ANNAPOLIS, MD, ASKS: My friends and I were wondering what would happen if you microwaved a whole watermelon. Any ideas?

Interesting question, Alex. I’m assuming you’re microwaving a watermelon purely for scientific research, because I can’t really think of any other reason to microwave a whole watermelon.

Whatever your reasons are, I’m going to say DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. It’s not a good idea, and it’s a waste of a perfectly good watermelon.

That said, let’s start with some basics about how microwaves work. The process of heating food in a microwave is actually caused by a reaction between the water molecules in the food item and the microwaves passing through it. The microwaves cause the water molecules to spin and give off heat energy. During this spinning process, the water molecules are rubbing against other water molecules, creating a chain reaction and causing things to heat up very quickly.

So, you can imagine what might happen to something like a watermelon, which is 92 percent water by weight and whose watery interior is effectively sealed off by a thick rind. You’re probably imagining lots of pressure building up inside as the watermelon heats up and something disastrous happening when the watermelon reaches its breaking point, right?

I scoured the Internet for answers and found a video that shows what happens when you microwave a sliced watermelon (nothing exciting) but no videos or testimonies of whole watermelon nuking. Similar videos showed the results of microwaving watermelon-like foods such as tomatoes (nothing), bananas (burned and charred but no explosion) and eggs (boom!).

You’re going to be disappointed with my final answer, Alex, but the truth is, I’m not really sure what would happen if you put a whole watermelon in a microwave. I thought about testing it for myself, but good sense and my love of watermelon prevented me from taking such drastic action.

My advice again is this: DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. If you have a watermelon and you really want to do something crazy with it, I’d suggest using it to make some sweet and sour watermelon chicken.

UP NEXT: My attempt at making watermelon jerky

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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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May 20th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Some people thump their watermelons and some people don’t. (For the record, I don’t.) But it’s an interesting topic, so I’ve decided to give this 2012 blog entry another look. Leave a comment with your thoughts on thumping and don’t forget to sound off in the poll on the right.


I’ve written in the past about how to choose the best watermelon using the three-step “Look, Lift, and Turn” test. In that blog entry, I also mentioned that tapping or thumping a watermelon to determine ripeness isn’t the most reliable tactic.

But that hasn’t stopped millions of people from drumming on watermelons in the grocery store. There’s even a smartphone app that will analyze the sound of a watermelon thump and let you know if the fruit is ripe or not (look for a test and review of the app here on the blog later this month).

Even though the sound test isn’t a scientifically proven ripeness detector, many people (myself occasionally included) still give their watermelon a good knock before placing it in the cart. Which brings me to this month’s poll: Do you thump your watermelon? Let me know by answering the survey on the right and offer your opinion of this method with a comment below.

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April 8th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Even though it doesn’t happen often that I have “extra” watermelon lying around in my fridge for more than a few days (it usually disappears pretty quickly), it does happen from time to time. If it happens to you, today’s “Second Slice” expertise from Chef Harry should come in handy.

DAVID S. ASKS: We recently hosted a large family picnic and we bought a little too much watermelon. Now I’ve got watermelon in my fridge, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m wondering… how long will it last?

picGreat question, David. First of all, there’s no such thing as “too much watermelon.” Second, there are so many things you can do with those leftovers, but that’s a subject for another day.

To answer your question, if the watermelon has already been cut, it should be okay in the fridge for three or four days. While it’s in there, keep it in a container (if it’s cubed) or place plastic wrap over the exposed edge. If the watermelon is whole, you’ve got a bit more time – anywhere from 7 to 10 days – to figure out what you’ll make with your leftovers.

Here’s the kicker: Researchers have found that whole watermelons stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark place (around 55 or 60 degrees) last much longer than watermelons stored in the fridge (around 41 degrees). So, if you’ve already got a whole watermelon in the fridge, you should keep it there. But if you’re storing it outside the fridge, put it in the fridge about three hours before you plan to eat it in order to cool it down to just the right temperature.

As for your leftovers, two of my favorite things to do with excess watermelon are cutting it into chunks for use with other fruits in yogurt smoothies, or pureeing the watermelon and freezing it in an ice cube tray to make watermelon ice cubes for drinks!

Chef Harry

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February 11th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

The following Q&A was posted previously here on What About Watermelon, but it’s a good question. A great one, in fact. It’s also a little hard to answer, but I gave it my best shot.

JACOB K. OF LITTLE ROCK, AR, ASKS: Is watermelon the best food ever?


pic2Anyone on our panel of experts could have taken a crack at answering this question, but as someone with a lifetime of eating experience, I’ll give this one a shot.

When I was a kid, I used to think the best foods ever were chocolate syrup and cherry licorice. Thankfully, my culinary tastes have evolved, although only slightly.

Keep in mind that determining the “best food ever” is no small task. There are a number of factors to weigh in making the assessment, including taste, nutritional value, accessibility, cost and, of course, how easy it is to grow or produce the item.

Using these criteria, I began comparing many foods – both traditional and modern – to see if it is possible to answer your question. I started with foods like pizza, bacon and cheeseburgers (or the elusive “pizza bacon cheeseburger”). They all rated extremely high on the taste scale, but had mixed scores when it came to nutritional value, accessibility and some other qualities.

I moved on to traditional staples of the human diet like bread, potatoes, cheese and rice. They, too, ranged up and down in their rankings, preventing them from making a serious run at the number one spot.

Finally, I compared watermelon with other fruits and vegetables. After a trip to the grocery store to sample a selection of produce (don’t worry, I purchased the goodies and ate them at home), I came to a simple conclusion: Yes, watermelon is the best food ever. Bear in mind, that’s just one watermelon lover’s opinion, but it’s backed up by some simple facts.

Not only does watermelon taste great, it’s also got its fair share of nutritional benefits and it’s pretty easy to grow or find. It even rates high in affordability, as evidenced by its recent number-one ranking on a list of most affordable fruits.

But what really put the watermelon over the top for me was its ability to pull double duty as both a food and a drink. You see, watermelon is comprised of 92 percent water (that explains the name), which makes it a refreshing snack in the absence of a beverage. Have you ever tried drinking a cheeseburger? It can’t be done. And that’s why watermelon, in my hungry opinion, is the best food ever.

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