How to Carve a Watermelon – Stars and Stripes

When I recently got it in my head that carving a Caladium leaf Watermelon bowl would be cool, I had no idea that it would inspire me to do other watermelon designs. Here’s the 3rd in less than a month – I swear I’m done now! All watermeloned out!

As I promised on my Canada Day Watermelon, I had carved a second watermelon that same day… for my American friends. Well, and to gain brownie points with my American husband, after all of the Canada Day talk that had preceded it!

So here we go, with plenty of time before the 4th of July – a Stars and Stripes themed watermelon fruit bowl! Perfect for any red, white and blue Independence Day party, BBQs, potlucks, or whatever.

This design whipped up quickly and easily, and is sure to impress!

Before you get started, take a good look at your watermelon – there should be an obvious top and bottom to it. Figure out how you want it to sit, and carve a small amount of rind off the bottom. It may take a few passes to get it to sit solid and level – you don’t want it rolling around as you work, or after you fill it!

Once watermelon has a solid base to it, draw your design on it. I used a Sharpie, fully intending to carve out anywhere I had drawn. In retrospect, a dry erase marker may have been a smarter idea.

Using the very tip of your paring knife, trace along the edges of your design marks. Take your time, and be gentle. Well, not too gentle, anyway – you’re going to want to cut deep enough to get down into the white part of the rind.

Once you’ve cut the edges of the design piece (say, a star) you’re about to carve out, carefully wedge the edge of your knife into one of your new design lines. You’ll want to wedge it in almost parallel to the rind – not go deep with it. Lift your knife a bit, pulling out a bit of rind. Not going to lie, this is fussy work and will take you a while if it’s you first go at it! Also, be careful not to stab yourself! It’s really easy to slip and drive the knife right in to your hand. Trust me on this.

Continue carving the rind out of your designs, until finished. Be sure to leave a green ring border between each individual design element. Also, for now just concern yourself with getting it down to the white – it doesn’t matter that some areas will be red eventually – we’re getting there!

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!

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 for the red stripe. Because there is no need for extra watermelon flesh on the very bottom, I scooped it out almost down to the white rind.

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.

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 red stripe design!

Last carving step: In the areas that you want red, VERY CAREFULLY carve out the white part of the rind to expose the red flesh behind it. You may want to do this in several small passes, rather than taking out deep chunks.

Position your fruit bowl on a serving platter (the bottom will very likely leak moisture), and fill with your choice of red, white, and blue 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, peeled/sliced pears, blueberries and blackberries.

Set it out and enjoy!

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