What's New in Summer Watermelons?

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Halloween pumpkin carver attacks watermelons with his knife this summer to create some stunning works of art.

Who would have thought that a watermelon could make an elegant table display for a summer wedding? If that sounds just a little strange to you, then you haven't seen these watermelons.

Jay Ball, popular pumpkin carver and author of "You Too Can Create STUNNING Watermelon Carvings" ($12.95 postage paid from Jay Ball Publishing, 393 West 300 North, Smithfield, UT, 84335), a 117 page fully illustrated book on watermelon carving, encourages people to "play with their food".

"What was once a simple summer party snack is now becoming an elegant dinner event centerpiece," Jay writes.

There are a variety of books and videos on methods and styles of fruit and vegetable sculpting available on the market.

"My style of watermelon carving lends itself well to the beginner, where you are guided by a pattern and it is more structured and easy to follow," Jay explains. "And, unlike pumpkins, the insides make an instant delicious treat while you work."

Watermelons are very nutritious. The National Watermelon Promotion Board (http://www.watermelon.org) is quick to point out, "With 92 percent water, watermelon is a natural hydrator and nutrient dense food containing vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as fiber and potassium."

"If the watermelon is perfect for eating, it's also perfect for carving," Jay writes. Several good tips to know if your watermelon is ripe include:

  • The color of the rind. Particularly where it has laid on the ground should be a creamy yellow. If it's white, it's not ripe
  • Density. Does it feel heavier than you thought it should be? That's a good sign that the melon has absorbed a good amount of water
  • "Thump test". Many say the sound it makes when you thump it can tell you how ripe the melon is, but this usually requires a trained ear.
  • Of course, it you're not sure, you can always ask the grocer to cut it for you, but if you plan to carve it this may not be a good idea.

(see full article, "Is That Melon Ripe?" by Janet Ford of http://www.DietPower.com. Used with permission)

Jay's book includes sections on preparing the melon for carving, and several ways to transfer the pattern before carving.

"Transferring the pattern is the stage you have to do in order to get to the stage you want to do, carving," Jay writes.

Jay goes into detail on ways to sculpt and carve watermelons, and even includes how to use power tools to speed things up.

You will find 32 patterns including themes for most major holidays. Jay has included tips on displaying, lighting, and photographing the finished carved watermelon.

Editors: For a review copy of the book, "You Too Can Create STUNNING Watermelon Carvings," more information, or to interview the author, call (435) 232-1739.

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RULON BALL
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