Tis the season for watermelon...and parties! What better summer treat than a watermelon fruit basket? These make great additions to parties, cookouts, picnics, showers and even outdoor weddings. Everyone will be very impressed with your handiwork! Best of all, we currently have large local watermelons on sale for only $3.99, plus local cantaloupes for only $2.99!
1. Buy a watermelon, its size depending on the number of people to be fed. Purchase an assortment of fruits, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries and other berries, kiwi, citrus fruit, grapes, cherries, mango, peaches, starfruit, pineapple, bananas, etc. For garnish, lemons, limes, oranges, fresh mint, edible flowers, toothpicks, etc.
2. 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.
3. 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 may try using a pen to make your lines. 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 straight cuts. 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.
4. 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 watermelon. 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.
5. Decorate the handle with garnish, such as thinly slice lemons, limes or oranges and use a toothpick to affix them, along with a grape, melon ball or cherry, to the watermelon. Also, attach some fresh mint spring or edible flowers with toothpicks! Tip: Use cookie cutters to cut soft fruits into various shapes.
Adapted from: fabulousfoods.com. Tip from a Fabulous Foods reader: "I just read your instructions for making a watermelon basket filled with fruit. I've made watermelon baskets and one of the problems I've encountered is liquid from the fruits collecting in the bottom of the "basket" which makes the fruit soggy. I corrected this problem with the last basket I made by putting "drainage" holes in the bottom of the watermelon after hollowing it out and before filling with the fruit. I 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 drained into the pan along with the melting ice. This kept the fruit in the basket from getting soggy. Thought you might be able to use this idea."