Watermelon is such a sweet and refreshing treat when it's in season that you won't want to waste a bit of the juicy flesh. The goal in cubing the melon is to cut away all of the rind without sacrificing any of the fruit.
When buying watermelon, choose one with a yellow-white patch on the bottom instead of a white or light-green patch to make sure the melon is ripe.
Cutting the Watermelon
Uncut watermelon stays fresh longer than pieces -- up to 14 days if it's completely uncut -- so only cut the amount you need into pieces and leave the rest of the melon intact.
The curved end pieces of the melon don't lend themselves easily to cubing, so cut off those pieces and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon instead of attempting to cut the ends into cubes.
To avoid accidents and frustration, use a cutting board large enough for the job that it doesn't move around on your countertop.
- Place the watermelon on its side.
- Use a long chef's knife or carving knife to cut slices from the whole watermelon. Cut each slice about 1-inch thick -- anything thinner risks uneven cutting and potentially having your knife slip in an unsafe way.
- One at a time, lay each round slice flat on your cutting board and cut the piece in half.
- Lay the half slice flat on the cutting board and use a paring knife to separate the flesh and the rind. Hold on to the edge of the rind while sliding the tip of the paring knife around between the rind and the flesh.
- Use either the paring knife or the chef's knife to cut each half into cubes, first cutting the entire length in one direction, then lining up the pieces and cutting again in the opposite direction.
Uses for Cut Watermelon
A simple watermelon salad with a splash of lemon or lime juice is all you need to end a summertime dinner. But if you want to branch out, use these ideas:
- Create a tomato and watermelon salad dressed with vinaigrette and garnished with sliced red onion to bring two of summer's flavors together.
- Serve watermelon cubes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with chopped, fresh basil, mint or cilantro as either a salad or a dessert.
- Add feta, goat or mozzarella cheese to any watermelon salad.
- For dessert, combine cubed watermelon with fresh blueberries, blackberries or raspberries and garnish them with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Serve chilled watermelon soup to start a summer barbecue dinner.
Cut watermelon stays fresh in the fridge for up to four days when you store it in an airtight container or covered with plastic. Freeze pieces that turn soft and use them in smoothies and sherbets.