Introduction: Watermelon Done Right: De-Seed Like a Pro

Picture of Watermelon Done Right: De-Seed Like a Pro

Watermelon is a passionate, deeply luscious fruit that demands to be treated like the lady she is. Here, in my opinion and experience, is THE Best Way to Prepare, De-Seed, and Serve the Queen of Fruit, Watermelon.

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

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Find a counter in your kitchen and gather some essentials:

Cutting Board
Large Knife
1 Small Bowl (for seeds and scrapings)
1 Large Bowl (for de-seeded "fillets" of wonderfully sweet watermelon)
1 Garbage can (not shown in photo, but essential for discarding the rind)
1 Ripe, SEEDED watermelon

Seeded watermelon tastes much, much better than the seedless varieties. Tap the watermelon and listen for a pleasant drum sound, rather than a dull thud.

Watermelons grown in my hometown, Hermiston, Oregon, are world famous for being the sweetest, but I'm willing to associate with anyone who loves watermelon, from wherever!

http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2009/07/hermiston_watermelons_are_simp.html

Step 2: First Slice

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Slice off one end of the watermelon, bloom-end or stem-end, either one. Consider the slice you cut off as a shallow bowl of watermelon. Don't be too stingy, but don't go overboard, either. The "bowl" will be enjoyed later by your kids (or you!), using a spoon and spitting out the seeds in the traditional manner.

Step 3: Second Cut

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Spin the watermelon end-for-end and slice off another shallow "bowl". Remember that the green rind, and the white, dense flesh is basically inedible - it's not sweet at all, so try to get a nice, deep red portion of the sweet part included in your bowls.

Step 4: Remove the Rind

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Upend your watermelon and slide downward, following the contour of the melon, removing one section of the rind. It's critical that you strike a balance between removing all the white rind, and leaving as much of the sweet, red flesh of the watermelon. After the first section of rind is sliced off, you'll be able to see clearly the margin which you can follow for the remaining cuts.

Step 5: Continue to Remove the Rind

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Continue around the melon, removing the rind slice-by-slice. Each slice should be about two-to-three inches wide, removing all the white rind, but leaving as much sweet, red flesh as possible. Remember, NONE of the white rind is sweet - it is quite bitter.

Step 6: The Rind Is Gone!

Picture of The Rind Is Gone!

At last, we have a beautifully nude watermelon!

Notice the stray bit of white rind showing at the bottom of this model. I removed it after taking the photo - you should leave none of the white rind, not even a bit - it is too bitter!

Step 7: Consider Dividing and Conquering

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For larger watermelon, as this one was, I like to divide the melon in half, horizontally. It seems to make it a bit easier to handle before starting the next step.

However, it's not always necessary. Try a couple of melons - one whole, and one divided in half horizontally. Healthy nutrition requires a daily serving of watermelon, in my utopian world, so you likely will enjoy many opportunities to experiment and hone your watermelon slicing skills.

Step 8: Slice Vertically!

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Now, slice the watermelon just as you would a loaf of bread. Keep the watermelon oriented vertically, with the flat cut-off ends remaining on the top and bottom. For a larger watermelon, as this one was, I like to cut it in half horizontally, but I must still remember to slice vertically.

I forgot to show you an important tool I use. Many years ago, my wife obtained a plastic Tupperware utensil that has proven itself perfect for de-seeding watermelon. We believe it originally was designed as a lettuce corer. It's about six inches long, with a curved, serrated tip. It fits the hand comfortably, and the serrated tip allows easy scraping of the seeds away from the flesh.

However, a spoon works fine, also.

Step 9: Breaking Along the Seed-Line

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Now, pick up one slice, holding it with both hands, and break gently. The fracture will probably follow along the seed-line, for the most part. Most slices will require at least two separate instances of breaking. This breaking is not precise - it just opens up the main deposits of seeds, making it easier to scrape them away.

For this slice, I broke it twice, dropping all three sections into the seed bowl. 

Grab a spoon, or a lettuce corer, and scrape along the seed-line, removing all the seeds.

Step 10: Scrape Away the Seeds

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Scrape away every seed. Again, this is a balance, or a compromise, between removing the seeds and leaving the sweet, red flesh of the melon. I scrape only as deeply as I need to remove every seed. Sometimes I spy hidden seeds, seeing just the gray suggestion of where they might lie, just below the surface. I ruthlessly root them out.

The tasty flesh that you scrape away is not lost, even as it drops into the seed bowl. At the end of the process, you will mash the leftover scraps, seeds and all, through a sieve or collander, rendering a glassful of sweet watermelon juice.

I do not worry about the white, infertile seeds. They are soft, without taste, and I eat them happily as I enjoy my watermelon. It is only the hard, black seeds that we must contend with. Be diligent! Your reputation as a Server of Watermelon demands that not a single hard, black seed detract from your guests' eating pleasure!

Step 11: Pure, Seedless Delight

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As each chunk of watermelon emerges clean, free of any hard, black seeds, drop it into the larger bowl. The bowl will fill with delectable chunks of sweet, juicy red fillets of watermelon, ready to eat.

Be watching for the center slices, the "heart" of the watermelon. It is solid, completely free of any seed-lines, hiding no lurking seeds. It is the sweetest, purest part of the watermelon. At the first opportunity, break off a bit of the heart of the melon, just bite-sized, and offer it to your beloved. It is truly the fruit of love!

Step 12: Making Watermelon Juice

Picture of Making Watermelon Juice

With the large bowl of watermelon chilling in the refrigerator, we can now make use of the leftover scraps in the seed bowl.

Place sieve or collander over a third bowl. The photo here shows my orange seed bowl with a ladle. I've scooped out a bit of leftover watermelon scraps, seeds and all, and placed it into my yellow plastic sieve, which is inside a pink bowl - my juice bowl.

Step 13: Do the Mash - the Watermelon Mash!

Picture of Do the Mash - the Watermelon Mash!

Use a potato masher, or the like, to mash the leftover scrap watermelon. The object is to press the juice out of the watermelon and through the small holes in the sieve or collander. Ignore the seeds, white or black. They will not pass through the strainer, and the potato masher will not break them up, nor does it need to break the seeds up.

Step 14: Ambrosia?

Picture of Ambrosia?

Mash up all the leftover scraps of watermelon and discard the remaining seeds and pulp (or toss on to a compost pile).

Pour the watermelon juice into a tall glass, add ice, and enjoy!

Look closely at the photograph - those are not ordinary ice cubes! They are cubes of frozen, pure watermelon juice.

Delicious!

Step 15: For the Kids (And the Young at Heart)

Picture of For the Kids (And the Young at Heart)

Share with the children, or your friends (or hog it all for yourself!) the watermelon bowls you cut from the ends of the melon at the very beginning. The few seeds that you find and spit out just make the sweet, red flesh that much more tasty!

Comments

MiltReynolds (author)2013-07-29

Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement! Yes, I do love to eat watermelon!

ahmeyer (author)2013-07-28

Truly poetic descriptions, you clearly love watermelon. As such, it was a pleasure to read.

cocorrata (author)2010-09-02

You should try watermelons from Torreon, Mexico. They are sooooo delicious.

veeguy (author)cocorrata2013-07-28

I'm not sure if it's Torreon or not but I believe most of the watermelons available in the upper midwest USA are from Mexico up until late summer when the native crops ripen. Unlike oranges and bananas, watermelons don't usually have a sticker on them to clue us as to their origin. Even now (July 28th) its a month away before local watermelons show up in large numbers.

annielouise69 (author)2011-06-29

Milt,
You are a He-Man. Your directions are awesome. I'm an American living in Italy and all they grow are seeded watermelon. In the past, I've dreaded buying watermelon because seeding them were such a pain. No longer! With your method I'll have watermelon in the fridge the whole summer.

Thanks again,
annielouise69

A He-Man! Thank you! My day has immediately brightened up!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the encouragement! All of the crops in my region here in northeastern Oregon are delayed because of cold, overcast days...not enough sun yet in our summer. I'm looking forward to joining you in enjoying the Queen of Fruits: Watermelon!

Blessings!

Quest for Questions (author)2010-11-08

My uncle genetically modifies watermelons so that they won't have any seeds. He makes a first generation with seeds and if you plant those seeds, they make seedless watermelons.

I've often wondered how that's done. What's your opinion? Do the seedless taste as sweet as the seeded? To me they don't, but maybe it primarily depends on other factors?

Thanks for the comment!

the ones my uncle makes are orange yellowishand are swetter and mushier. I preffer normal ones because I sort of like mine tough, but that's just an opinion.

I'm with you. My watermelon must be very firm and crisp, and as cold as possible. I like warm watermelon, but it still must be firm and crisp. Chilled in a mountain stream is best, but I still enjoy refrigerated.

kingotho (author)2010-10-28

Very nice! Next time I get a watermelon, I'll try this method. Thanks for sharing.

Sparrowhawk (author)2010-09-05

You stress that the white part of the rind isn't very nice, but personally I really like it :) When eating a slice of watermelon with the skin still on, I usually eat a good part of the white until it starts to get greenish and too hard close to the skin. It tastes a bit like cucumber but nicer and more refreshing, not bitter at all.

chakra (author)Sparrowhawk2010-09-05

sparrowhawk, either u r eating a very tender watermelon or you have a really strong grinder for a stomach!!! the white part gives most of us a stomach ache!! not a good idea!

eva0820 (author)chakra2010-10-26

I've eaten the white part ever since I was a kid. It doesn't taste bitter to me, just neutral but I love the hard texture. I also eat the white part of oranges, too, though. I think it's interesting that some of us don't perceive the bitter part while most people do. It's even more interesting to me because I'm known as a bit of a picky eater.

Great instructible, too!

MiltReynolds (author)eva08202010-10-27

That is interesting. I've not thought of the white part of oranges to be bitter, though the rind itself is. I've always associated eating the white part of the watermelon with stomach aches...probably from an age-old urban legend! Thanks for your comments!

chuckyd (author)2010-10-07

Why waste all that time and effort playing with the watermelon? Just split it open and eat, seeds and all!!

MiltReynolds (author)chuckyd2010-10-07

Good question. I've wondered about that very issue.

De-seeding a watermelon, no matter what method, is somewhat time-intensive and tedious. In many ways it seems needlessly complicating something that should be very easy, informal and low-tech.

It honestly does give me pleasure, however, to spend the time and thought required to carefully, effectively de-seed a watermelon. It pleases me to serve guests easy-to-eat, pre-chunked, de-seeded sweet watermelon.

So, I guess it comes down to simple preference and enjoyment. It pleases me to de-seed watermelon in this way, and part of the pleasure is the opportunity to share the method with others.

But any way you slice it, watermelon is fantastically delicious!

mcgtr (author)2010-09-22

watermelon rind makes GREAT pickles! my grandmother made 'em . one of my favorite childhood memories.

MiltReynolds (author)mcgtr2010-09-22

Yes! I tried them recently. I used a sweet vinegar recipe given to me by a friend and they turned out delicious! Throw away the rind? Nevermore, say I! Thanks for your comment.

gonzo3031 (author)2010-09-19

How to core a watermelon.
Take one long watermelon.
Slice off the ends.
Shove a section of new stovepipe through the length of the melon.
Remove stovepipe and dispose of gutted melon.
Push melon from inside the stovepipe.

MiltReynolds (author)gonzo30312010-09-19

Interesting! I'll have to try that. I'm thinking that it will leave quite a lot of good-eating watermelon still on the rind, if the watermelon is at all rounded. But that could work out well.

De-seed the cored watermelon.

Cut the rind into four to six pieces. Each piece might resemble a "boat", with just enough curve to hold a scoop of ice-cream. Serve it with a variety of toppings, like a banana-split on a watermelon?

You've got me thinking!

MiltReynolds (author)2010-09-04

Apple Seeds and Cyanide

I offhandedly posted a comment that I eat apples...cores, seeds, and all. I chew on the stem until it tastes and feels like a used toothpick, and then I spit it out.

Several responses to my post have given me cause to examine closely my preferred method of eating apples. I'd heard that apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, but I'd also heard that it's harmless unless one were to eat an immoderate amount of apples, much more than a person could stomach in one sitting.

But I didn't really have any research to support either position: Are apple seeds poisonous or healthy?.

So I went searching.

One hour's worth of time spent searching the internet has given some interesting, semi-scientific, good-enough-for-me evidence that eating an apple's worth of seeds a day, or even three or four apple's worth, is not harmful. At worst, it may introduce a tiny amount of cyanide into my body, at a level which my body can easily detoxify. At best, it provides a tiny amount of cyanide into my body which may help guard against cancer.

Cyanide occurs naturally in many plants as a part of sugars. (www.atsdr.cdc.gov)

Wikikpedia explains that natural cyanides appear to defend plants against herbivores. (wikipedia.org, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lethal dose for hydrocyanic acid (HCN) is 50 milligrams.

I couldn't find a reputable source for how much cyanide is in an apple seed. That highly classified information is contained in several scientific documents which would cost me upwards of $30 or more to download, and the question just isn't that important to me. (www.sciencedirect.com, www.informaworld.com)

However, I did find an interesting, but not scientifically supported, article entitled: How To Kill Yourself With Apple Seeds. jarvissa.blogspot.com

According to Jarvissa, one gram of dry apple seed contains 0.6 milligrams of HCN. This calculates to around 85 grams of dry apple seeds...around half a cup.

That's a lot of apples.

Cyanide is only a very small portion of a natural substance found in plants from the Prunis family, which includes apples, cherries, apricots, peaches, almonds, millet, lima beans, soy, spinach, bamboo, and cassava root (used in tapioca). This natural substance is called amygdalin. Enzymes in our body breaks amygdalin into glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. (chemistry.about.com)

Raw amygdalin and a modified version, called Laetrile, are widely promoted as alternative cancer treatments. (www.cancer.org)

The U.S. National Library of Medicine posted several instances of toxic effects suffered by people ingesting Laetrile in massive quantities as treatment for cancer. One woman experienced fever, headache, cramps, eye irritation, and big words for "sick" following a regimen of 1500 milligrams of Laetrile daily. A man experienced muscle and nervous system weakness after a daily dose of 500 milligrams of amygdalin. In both cases, symptoms disappeared when the drugs were discontinued. (toxnet.nlm.nih.gov)

I have no intention of eating more than two or three apples a day. In actual use and practice, I eat one apple, seeds and all, only about three times a week. One apple has about five seeds. Even if I eat three apples for every meal, every day, that's only 15 seeds per day...maybe a spoonful?

Everytime I eat an apple core and chomp the seeds and swallow them down, I envision an ugly, voracious herbivore being scared to death of taking a bite out of me.

And that's a good thing!

chefbarf (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-07

as far as i have read, healthy cells have an enzyme called rhodanese SPELLING MAY BE WRONG, IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME ,which fights off the effects of cyanide...cancer cells lack this enzyme!!!

dineshonline (author)2010-09-02

Absolutely love your style of commentary, you should write a lot. And I'm off to buy a watermelon in London. Not as sweet as the ones you get stateside though. i wonder if you could post on youtube what a good and a bad watermelon sound like please.

rfcroc (author)dineshonline2010-09-02

A foolproof way to pick a decent melon: 1) heavier generally is better 2) pick up the melon and give it a gentle slap- if it makes a " think " or " thank " sound, it's not a good one -always listen for a defined " thunk " as you hit it.

Shiftlock (author)rfcroc2010-09-02

When I slap a watermelon, all I hear is a slapping sound. If the melon said "think," "thank," "thunk," or even "ouch," I'd probably drop it on the ground and run! :) Seriously though, I'm not clear on the difference between the sounds based on the way they're written. I would need an audible example to know the difference.

WayneBuckhanan (author)Shiftlock2010-09-02

My wife had trouble with the noise trick too. She just learned, yesterday in fact, to check the bottom where the watermelon was lying on the ground. If it is still white it's not ripe, if it has gone yellow it's ripe. So there is a second method for ya!

Yes, that sounds like a good idea, too!

JermsG (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-02

I remember hearing about a story told by someone who worked in a produce market, where there was a blind guy who would often come in and choose his watermelons based on the sound they made when he knocked on them.
Turned out he was a piano tuner, and his idea of a perfect watermelon was B-flat.

I have no idea whether that's true, but it's a nice story.

Incidentally, those 'bowls' cut from the ends of the watermelon look like they would be perfect with a scoop of icecream on top.

It looks like the watermelons you get are more firm than the ones I'm used to; if I were to try to "break it along the seed-line" I'd just end up with handfuls of yummy yummy red mush.
And our white rinds are not very bitter, but still best avoided. Before you ask, I live in New Zealand.

Great instructable!

MiltReynolds (author)JermsG2010-09-04

Great story! Yes, a scoop of ice-cream (vanilla, for me!) would be great with watermelon. By the way, here's a tip, no charge, just because I'm a great person: Buy some cheap vanilla ice-cream. Put three scoops in a bowl. Add chilled water, not too much...about the same amount you'd put in a bowl of cold cereal like corn flakes or cheerios. Mix the ice-cream and the water together with your spoon. You don't really want it to be the consistency of a milk shake...more like chunky ice-cream stew. Now, eat it. Tastes just about like freshly churned, homemade ice-cream (if you close your eyes and think "Summertime, And The Livin's Easy...")

Shiftlock (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

You eat your cereal with cold water in it? Huh, that's different. Doesn't it get soggy really fast? I've never heard of anyone putting anything but milk into cereal. I would think that cold milk would also be better mixed with ice cream, as opposed to cold water. :shrug: Come to think of it, when I was in college, I vaguely remember seeing someone who carried cereal in a plastic bag with powdered milk, then added cold water and ate it right out of the bag with a plastic spoon before class began. So I guess I have seen someone add water to cold cereal, in a way, but still it was still milk before it was consumed. Plus, college kids do some really weird things sometimes. :grin:

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

Oops! I'm not THAT far out! I put MILK in my cold cereal! However, as you pour the cold water into the bowl of ice-cream, imagine it to BE milk.

I've tried milk in ice-cream...doesn't work as well. Not sure why...I'm thinking the water has a lower freezing point? If the ice-cream is quite cold, fresh from the freezer, and the water is quite cold, fresh from the fridge, the water forms ice crystals as it mixes with the ice-cream...makes it more like homemade, at least to my mouth.

Shiftlock (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

Neat. I just added vanilla ice cream to today's shopping list to try this. Thanks!

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

You know what? I've never tried pouring chilled hard cider over ice-cream. Hmmm, I wonder...

JermsG (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

Would you all stop making me so very very hungry?!! lol I would also have vanilla icecream in my watermelon bowls; any other flavour would just distract from the taste of the watermelon. I also eat cereal with water, but only when I've completely run out of milk, and have no other option (apart from skipping breakfast, but that's just crazy talk!) Thanks for adding my latest three things to my do-try list: watermelon bowls, mock-homemade icecream, and cider icecream syrup! And then to try all three combined! Mmmmyum!

MiltReynolds (author)rfcroc2010-09-02

Good suggestions! I have to confess that I am not real good at consistently picking good ones. Thankfully, we have an honest, friendly produce stand not too far from town. Usually we'll pick out a good prospect, take it to the counter, where the clerk will pick it up and immediately say, "Oh, no! Not this one! Mabel, go out and pick these folks a good one!" And Mabel will bring back a different one, slap it gently and say, "See? THAT'S how it should sound!" And she's been right every time!

twighahn (author)rfcroc2010-09-02

its suposed to sound just like whenu slap ur stomach. slap the melon and then ur stomach if they sound the same its a good one

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'll have to consider how best to do the sound bite...it sounds like it would entail me buying a bad one! Maybe I could just take the camera to the produce stand and have the farmer pick out a bad one and a good one...I'll think about it. Thanks for the suggestion!

kdkedwards (author)dineshonline2010-09-02

Good , sweet watermelon has sticky-sugary stuff on and near the stem end of the melon...its the sugar that comes out of the vine when it was picked.

Shiftlock (author)2010-09-03

Good information, and very interesting. Thanks for sharing it. I think we can be 99% certain you're not going to harm yourself with the amount of apple seeds you consume. That said, considering your research didn't yield an absolute definitive answer, why take the chance when it's easy enough to spit out the seeds? Considering the potential benefit of eating the seeds is essentially nil, why take even a 1% risk? Do you mind sharing the URL of your blog here?

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

Excellent point, Shiftlock. I think it boils down to immediate gratification. When I eat an apple core, seeds and all, even knowing that each seed contains molecules of cyanide, even recognizing the potential consequence of eventual harm to my body, I still experience joy in the eating.

When I analyze that joy, I think it comes down to two essential aspects:

1. I enjoy the surprise and exclamations of disgust demonstrated by onlookers. I suppose it is a way of feeling unique.

2. I actually do believe there is a tiny bit of benefit to eating the naturally occuring cyanide in apple seeds. Sort of like, God put it there for a reason?

Anyway, the joy outweighs the 1% potential harm.

Not really reasonable, but that's me!

Shiftlock (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

Milt, why did you remove the post above? Or did the administrators remove it? It was valuable and interesting information, and I don't think it contained anything offensive. What's up???

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

Fooey! I hope I didn't mess anything up!

I deleted the comment myself and tried to replace it with one better formatted. Same info, but divided into paragraphs. The original comment was copied from my blog post and pasted into Instructable's reply box. When posted, it converted everything to plain text and took out all paragraph breaks.

Later, I discovered how to use the rich text option and how to enter HTML tags directly into the source, allowing me to format the style much easier.

So, I deleted the original plain text comment and added another one, newly formatted.

It should be posted here:

Step 11, Pure Seedless Delight

Sorry for the confusion!

Shiftlock (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

Scroll up and take a look. Where there used to be a great post about your apple seed and cyanide research, now It just says "(removed by author or community request)".

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

When I access this page I see the "Removed by author" notice, but I also see my revised comment. Is there a chance that a refresh of you browser window would reveal it? If that doesn't work, I don't know what to think. I can see my re-formatted comment, but that doesn't mean, I guess, that it actually got changed on the public view. Weird!

Shiftlock (author)MiltReynolds2010-09-04

Strange. I tried a different browser, and also booted up my laptop just to make sure it wasn't my computer somehow, but still I only see the "removed" message. Must be some kind of error with the instructables website that's only showing you your newer comment. Very weird!

MiltReynolds (author)Shiftlock2010-09-04

I'll try reposting it as a completely new comment, rather than as a reply to your comment.

missmamamoon (author)2010-09-02

Actually there are several of us in my house that like the white rind and don't find it bitter at all. Now the green part......

Shiftlock (author)missmamamoon2010-09-02

Like I posted in the previous step, the white rind isn't bitter at all, it's sour. I like sour things, and I often enjoy the white rind with a sprinkle of sugar. That gives it a nice sweet & sour flavor. Someone else posted in a different step about making pickled watermelon rind, which sound fabulous. Don't give up on the white part of the watermelon rind!

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