Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Cut a Melon

Really, I didn't have a Fruit category until now?  Excuse me while I go back and put a few things in it.

Growing up, we often had cantaloupe at breakfast.  My mom would cut wedges, remove the seeds, then cut the wedges to the rind in kid-sized chunks.  For close to thirty years, it never occurred to me to cut it any other way.

If restaurants cut all their fruit salads that way, they would have to have one prep cook whose sole job was to cut fruit.  It takes forever.  If you don't need the presentation factor of fruit on the rind, there is a much faster way that produces very little food waste.  It works on all melons, pineapples, and even citrus.

First, wash the outside of the fruit thoroughly.  I know you're not going to eat the rind, but the surface of the knife will touch it, and you don't know where it's been.  Forget the field where it was grown, any number of people have carried it, thumped it, and probably dropped it on the floor.

Step two is to cut off the stem and bottom ends.  Just the rind portion, until you can see the fruit underneath.  For round melons, the next step is to cut them in half.  Scoop out the seeds if there are any and lay the center end cut-side down on the cutting board.  For everything else, you should be able to stand them up on the board at this point.

Using the technique on an orange
Taking your knife (I prefer serrated for thick rinds), work from the top end to the bottom.  Slice off the rind, taking as little of the fruit as possible, in strips.  It will probably take at least 12 cuts to get the rind off.
At this point, you can cut cubes, slices, wedges, or any other shape you like.  The hard part is done.  One additional step for pineapple, though, is to quarter it to remove the hard core.  If you want rings of pineapple, a small piece like a donut hole cutter will take care of the core.

And, in less than three minutes, you have a cut-up melon!

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