July 21, 2021
WATERMELON FRUIT SALAD BASKET — Play with your Food!
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 their age, kids will need an adult’s help for this activity because you will use a sharp knife to carve the melon.
A small watermelon
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
A wide-blade sharp knife
A small knife
A couple of large spoons
A cutting board
A non-toxic marker (you can find this in the toddler section of any art supply store)
Select a melon that feels firm and fresh. Buy some colorful fruits and berries to make the fruit salad. Add a lime or lemon to squeeze on top. This keeps the fruits fresh. Keep the fruits in refrigerator until you are ready to make the fruit salad basket.
Cut all fruits—except for the melon—into bite-size 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 where to insert the knife to carve the melon to remove the first wedges out. (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 off both wedges and cut them into bite-size 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 hunks. Cut the melon chunks into smaller, bite-size pieces and add to the mixing bowl of fruit salad.
Now, fill up the melon basket with as much mixed fruit as you can. The rest of the mixed fruits can be refrigerated for second rounds 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 be 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 fruits until ready to serve.
Recipe adopted from “Cooking Together: a Vegetarian Co-op Cookbook” Copyright © 2017 Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff
Shanta writes recipes and articles on food and nutrition. Shanta was a co-worker/owner of Other Avenues for over three decades and she retired from the co-op two years ago. Shanta is the author of two cookbooks: “Cooking Together,” “Flavors of India” and a food co-op history book, “Other Avenues Are Possible: Legacy of the Peoples’ Food System of the San Francisco Bay Area”. Shanta’s books are available in San Francisco at Other Avenues Food Co-op, Rainbow Grocery Co-op, Green Apple Books, Folio Books, Omnivore Books, Book Passage and in Sausalito at Driver’s Market. You can order her books from googlebooks.com, greenapplebooks.com, instacart.com/rainbow-grocery.
Currently, Shanta is creating cooking demonstration videos from her backyard to share them with the public via YouTube.