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Watermelon Basket
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Gala Garnishes

watermelon basket

You Will Need

1 watermelon

For the rest of the fruit, mix and match as you see fit:

cantaloupe, honeydew melon
seedless grapes
peaches, nectarines
strawberries, blueberries, raspberries,blackberries
plums, oranges
etc.


for garnish:
lemon, lime or orange slices
grapes, melon balls or cherries
toothpicks

tools:
garnishing tool
OR
serrated knife (jack-o-lantern carving knives work well)

melon baller
OR
simply cut the fruit into bite sized chunks


Since these are basic instructions, the number of servings will depend on the size of your fruit. Suffice it to say, this serves a big crowd.

Let's Carve a Watermelon!

To begin, take a sharp knife and slice a small thin piece off the bottom of your melon. This will allow the finished basket to sit flat on a plate or table without rolling.

Next, take the tip of your knife or garnishing tool and score the watermelon in half, horizontally. Then mark a strip of about 1 1/2 - 2 inches wide that will form the handle of your basket. If you have trouble seeing the score lines, you might want to use a marking pen.

Next, take your garnishing tool and start cutting around the melon on the lines. The garnishing tool naturally makes V shaped cuts, which makes doing a basket like this a breeze. If you do not have a garnishing tool, use a small knife and make the V cuts one side at a time. You could also forget the V and make a straight cut or the wavy cut shown in the photo.

To make separating the melon easier, and the finished product neater, turn your garnishing tool over, and go over the cuts in the opposite direction.

Carefully separate the cut sides from the body of the watermelon. If you used a marking pen and there are any residual marks left, a handy way to get rid of them is to use a new emory board and gently sand them off.

Take a melon baller and hollow out the inside of the watermelom. After removing all the edible parts, take a large spoon and gently scrape out the sides of your "basket". Be care not to scrape too thinly on the handle, as you want it to have some stability, even though you will never try to carry it this way.

Mix the watermelon balls (or pieces, if you don't have a melon baller) with other ripe fresh fruits. To garnish the handle, thinly slice lemons, limes or oranges and use a toothpick to affix them to the top of the handle in a row, then place a grape, melon ball or cherry to the top of each pick.
Serves: A Lot!

TIP:

One problem encountered with watermelon baskets is that liquid from the fruits collect in the bottom of the "basket" which makes the fruit soggy. You can correct this problem by putting "drainage" holes in the bottom of the watermelon after hollowing it out and before filling with the fruit. Then put the basket in a large oval roasting pan filled with ice cubes (to keep the fruit cold), and the water from the fruit will drain into the pan along with the melting ice. This keeps the fruit in the basket from getting soggy.

Watermelon Picking Tips:

Look for a rind that is dull, not shiny and without soft spots. Slap the side of the melon, a ripe melon will have a hollow thump sound.

For photo's of how to carve the watermelon, click on the watermelon whale centerpiece link above.

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