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How To Cut Watermelon

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Summer picnics wouldn't be complete without wedges of ice cold watermelon, but cutting into a whole melon can be intimidating. Chef Scott Swartz of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates how to safely cut a whole watermelon into easy-to-eat wedges using a serrated bread knife.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Scott Swartz from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to cut a watermelon.

When summer comes around, people love to have watermelon at picnics and barbecues, but a lot of people are intimidated and afraid of their size and shape. But they're really very easy to prepare.

The first thing you want to do is get a good sharp knife. I recommend a serrated knife or a bread knife, because I think it's safer and a little easier to cut. I like to cut the watermelon from end to end as opposed to across the middle, especially if you're going to cut nice pretty triangles - like we're going to do - which are much easier to eat.

I'm going to use this knife like a saw, which will be much safer. I'll start by cutting it in half through one side, then I'll turn it around to finish the center cut through on the other side, and this makes it much easier to handle - again, the whole melon is very large and can be unmanageable. You see I've got this beautiful watermelon. This one is a seedless watermelon, with a very few little tiny seeds in it.

To cut it into triangles, for safety I'm going to turn this half over with the flat side down, so now it won't roll around, and I'm going to cut it in half again. Now I've got two beautiful triangles - and again, for safety, leave it flat this way. Don't feel that you need to turn it up like this, with the rind down, and have it roll around. We're going to leave it on the flat side, and we're just going to cut nice wedges of watermelon, so you can serve your guests (or they can serve themselves) very easily.

Then once you've cut your watermelon, lay it out on the plate - and your barbecue or picnic will be a greater success.