Summer isn't complete without the refreshing sweetness of ripe watermelon, but slicing a whole one can be as messy as sinking your teeth into the juicy wedges. Your best friend during the slicing process is a stable cutting surface and a sharp and sturdy knife.
Rinse your watermelon thoroughly in warm, running water. Pat it dry with paper towels or a clean, lint-free dish towel.
Place your watermelon on a cutting board so that its length is facing you. Cut off both end pieces and discard them.
Stand the watermelon upright on one of the cut ends and slice it carefully in half from top to bottom.
Set one half aside and lay the other one with its cut side down. This helps keep it stable while you're slicing it. Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise, creating quarters. Repeat with the other watermelon half.
Place one quarter on your cutting board with a long, cut side down flat for stability. Slice the watermelon quarter crosswise into 1/8 to 1/4-inch wedges. Repeat until all four quarters are sliced. Arrange the slices on a platter and serve.
Wipe down your cutting board after each large cut to keep the juice from making things too slippery.
Garnish your watermelon slices with blackberries, mandarin orange pieces and sprigs of mint for a fresh and colorful presentation.
Store your watermelon wedges in an airtight container in the refrigerator or a cooler to enjoy later.
Do not use a dull knife or one that is too small as this increases your chances of cutting yourself.
Remove seeds from your watermelon wedges before serving them to young children. Or, teach the kids how to spit them out for distance.