I sat down the other day and, just for the heck of it I attempted to carve a watermelon basket. I’d seen them before, cut so intricately and carrying a bounty of cubed watermelon and other fruits, and I’m happy to report, it turned out better than I thought. Here’s a step-by-step guide with photos I took from my own efforts.
Here’s the obvious starting point. I chose a nice sized, oblong watermelon for my basket with at least one good, unblemished side (the other side would be cut away later) and a flattish bottom to make it stable after it was created. I actually took several watermelons out of the bin at the grocery store, laid them on the floor and studied their stability before choosing just the right one. Other shoppers must have thought I was a little crazy.
At home, after forming an idea in my head of what I wanted the finished product to look like, I made my first cuts. Two big 90-degree chunks taken out of each side (a little uneven and slanted on the left, but it doesn’t have to look perfect). It almost looks complete, doesn’t it? The standard watermelon basket is half cut-away basket with an intact handle. Some are more intricate and may require you to draw a design on your watermelon with a washable or erasable marker, but I didn’t do that.
Next, I scooped out all the insides, down to the rind. Keep what you scoop out because you’ll need it later to fill the watermelon back up. You may want to use a melon ball scooper to make nice round watermelon pieces for your filling or you may just choose to cube it. I chose to cube my filling because I thought the squares created a nice contrast to the round watermelon basket. Yeah, I put a lot of thought into this.
Finally, you can cut shapes into your edges (optional, but it looks nice). I went with the standard jagged edge design, but you can do other things like rounded edges or wave-shaped edges. You can also make different edges and designs in the handle. By the way, I don’t recommend actually picking up your basket by the handle. It’s not very strong, although I test mine nervously for a few seconds and it didn’t break under the pressure, even when full or fruit.
Now the fun part (besides eating it). I filled my basket with balls of watermelon, cantaloupe, maraschino cherries and banana. It was devoured by hungry family and friends a short while later.