How to Carve a Canadian Watermelon Bowl!

Inspiration really can come from the weirdest of places. Remember the story of how my French Martini Upside Down Cake was conceived? Jann Arden, an auto-correct Fail, French Canadian culture, and talking pineapples… oh my!

Sometimes the most simple thing can spark an idea… and that’s what happened with today’s post.

About a week ago, I posted my blog entry on How to Carve a Watermelon, Caladium Style… Caladium being a pretty variety of plant with large pink, white, and green leaves. As with all my blog posts, after I finished publishing it here, I posted links on Facebook. Now, as an out-and-proud Canadian immigrant, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the following comment was posted as a reply:

“Ok, when I first read the title of the post, I *swore* it read “How to Carve a Watermelon Fruit Bowl – Canadian Style!” ;)”

So, thank you for the inspiration, Sarah Elizabeth! Once I read your response, I knew I *had* to go out and make a Canadian style watermelon bowl – Canada Day IS just around the corner, after all!

To my Yankee friends and readers – no worries, I have a “Stars and Stripes” version coming right up!

First of all, I didn’t get the best in-progress photos, so go and read my earlier Watermelon Tutorial for a general idea of what we’ll be doing here.

Here is what I did:

1. Found a clipart graphic of a maple leaf (Canadian Flag style), and sized it down to a few different sizes I liked. Printed them off and cut them out.

2. Cut the bottom off the watermelon, to make it more stable.

3. Using the paper maple leaves (As a Canadian, I have to admit – I did spell that “Leafs” before catching myself!) and a sharpie, draw a border of overlapping maple leaves around the watermelon.

4. Unlike my Caladium design, I designed to do most of the design carving before doing the major carve. The maple leaf design is so intricate and fussy, I figured it would be the smartest idea.

5. After deciding that I would alternate red and white leaves, I set about carving it all out to outlined white leaves. Keep a close eye on what leaf is going where, it’s easy to cut out a piece of green – that you didn’t mean to! – by accident.

6. Once all of the leaves are done up as plain white leaves with outlines, carefully carve off the top of the watermelon. I aimed for all of the peaks/high points of my design, but you can aim a bit higher if you’re not feeling that confident. You can always carve more away, but it’s hard to add watermelon if you’ve carved away too much!

7. Using a sharp knife – I used a good paring knife – carefully carve out the outer edge of your leaf design. Aim to keep your knife straight in, at a 90 degree angle to the surface you are carving – you’ll taper the edges later.

8. Once you’ve carved and removed the very top, scoop out some of the watermelon – for this design, I left about 1″ of red around the side walls. This was to allow for the red design to show through in the middle of some of the leaves. Because there is no need for extra watermelon flesh on the very bottom, I scooped it out almost down to the white rind.

9. Once the outer edge has been carved, go back over it and carefully taper the edges in a bit. Clean up any rough edges on the green rind, and taper inward from there – creating a gentle, rounded edge to the white rind, into the red. Don’t taper it in at too shallow a slope, though – you’ll want plenty of red behind the middle of the leaf design!

10. If the white part of your rind is relatively shallow, carefully carve it out of every second leaf, being careful to leave the outer outline intact.

If, like me, you managed to pick a watermelon with a very, very thick white rind? Just cut the insides of every second leaf right out. Position large pieces of carved-out watermelon behind each new opening, and it’s all good!

Position your fruit bowl on a serving platter (the bottom will very likely leak moisture), and fill with your choice of red and white fruit. Be sure it’s all ripe and sweet, NOTHING is worse than less than ripe fruit in such a display! For ours, we used watermelon, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, and peeled/sliced pears.

Set it out and enjoy!

In closing… a little theme music…

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

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