Cooking Together

Cooking Together: Play With Your Food!

Watermelon Fruit Salad Basket

By Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff 

Remember when your mom or grandma said, “Don’t play with your food, just eat it!”? Well, in this column, you will learn how to have fun playing with your food and then eat it, too!   

This is a fun-filled food activity for the whole family, kids included. I will show you how to make a watermelon basket and then how to use it to serve up a fruit salad. Depending on the age, the kids will need an adult’s help for this activity because you will be using a sharp knife to carve the melon. 

First, the ingredients you will need are:

A small watermelon

A few seasonal fruits, such as plums, nectarines and peaches – about 6 to 8 fruits 

A handful of strawberries or raspberries

A lime or a lemon

Tools you will need are:

A wide-bladed sharp knife

A small knife

Two bowls

A couple of large spoons

A cutting board 

A non-toxic marker (you can find this in a toddler section of any art supply store) 

Directions:

Select a small melon that feels firm and fresh. Buy some colorful fruits and berries to make the fruit salad. Add a lime or a lemon to squeeze on top. This keeps the fruit fresh. Keep the fruit in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the fruit salad basket.

Cut all fruits – except for the melon – into bite-sized pieces and place them in a mixing bowl.  Squeeze the lemon or lime juice on top and set the salad aside. 

Next, place the watermelon onto the cutting board where it can sit comfortably. Cut off a sliver from the bottom of the melon to make it more stable.   

Then, using a non-toxic marker, draw some lines to guide you where you will carve the melon. As shown in illustration #1, starting from the top center, draw two parallel lines, about 1½” away from each other, to reach half way across the melon. These lines show where the handle of the basket will be. 

Next, draw a line around the circumference of the melon, starting from bottom of the handle line and going to the other end of the same line. (Be careful not to cut into the handle). These lines will guide you to insert the knife to carve the melon to remove the first wedges. (See illustration #1)

Next, using a sharp knife, dig into the melon, following these lines to loosen the flesh of the melon. Then, remove the big wedge of the melon. That should come out easily. Set the wedge on the cutting board. Repeat the same action on the other side of the handle shape and take out the second wedge. Set it on the board. Now, you can see the handle of the basket (illustration # 2).  Remove the skin from both wedges and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Then, scoop out some flesh from under the handle, being careful not to break the handle or the wall of the melon. Place the chunks on the cutting board along with the other chunks. Cut the melon chunks into smaller, bite-sized pieces and add them to the mixing bowl of fruit salad. 

Now, fill up the melon basket with as many of the fruits as you can. The rest of the mix of fruits can be refrigerated for the second round of filling the basket. Now, you can take this pretty basket (illustration #3) to a picnic or place it on your dinner table. But wait: DO NOT carry the basket with its handle. The handle is not strong enough to carry the fruit salad. Place the basket onto a platter or a bowl to carry it to its destination. Refrigerate the melon basket and mixed fruit until ready to serve. 

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Recipe © Shanta Nimbark  Sacharoff, 2020

Shanta is a Sunset District resident and the author of “Cooking Together” and “Flavors of India,” both available at Other Avenues Food Co-op., Green Apple Book Store, Rainbow Grocery Co-op, and at local bookstores. Shanta writes recipes and articles on food and teaches cooking classes. Shanta also shares her recipes via videos on YouTube. 

To see the video of this recipe, go to “what a melon – YouTube”   

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