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Summer Snack: How to Cut Watermelon into Sticks

Tossed into a summer salad, frozen into refreshing popsicles, or mixed into a salsa, there are a myriad of delicious ways to make the most of a perfectly ripe watermelon. Cut into wedges, triangles, or chunks, this hydrating fruit is super-juicy and light. However, some varieties of watermelon, especially those that are exceptionally large, can be tricky to slice through neatly without making a liquid-y mess on your kitchen counter. Luckily, there’s a simple three-cut method that turns making watermelon sticks into a breeze.

To do it, first halve your watermelon perpendicularly.  Second, make a series of vertical cuts through the skin. And third, slice it in the opposite direction to make a crisscross pattern. While some people opt to cut their watermelon into wedges before removing the peel and slicing the flesh into chunks, others prefer to keep the skin on and slice them into cute little triangles. The benefit of this latter method is that the peel acts as a handle; you can simply grab a slice from the fridge and toss away the peel once you’re done eating. 

Having said that, it can be a messy affair to eat through a wedge of watermelon due to its curved shape. Cutting your watermelon into sticks is a neater option because you can chomp through each segment easily without getting sticky juice on your face. This is a great benefit if you’re serving watermelon to kids, because they can hold the sticks with their small hands and avoid splattering their faces and hands with juice. 

How to make watermelon sticks

A jar of pickled watermelon rind

To make watermelon sticks, slice your fruit in half and lay it down on your chopping board with the cut side down so the flesh is flush against the surface. Then, cut through the melon in vertical slices from one side to the other, making sure that each piece is an even thickness (a couple of inches is the perfect size). If any of the segments have fallen away as you’ve cut through the melon, put them back together so the slices are all upright and sit seamlessly against each other. Finally, make horizontal cuts across the breadth of the melon to create a crisscross pattern on the surface. This YouTube tutorial by Andy Hay shows how to do it.

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You should now be able to pull out each square segment to reveal a cute little cuboid of melon that you can bite through neatly. Simply discard the square of peel when you’re done eating or wash it and cut off the green bit (known as the exocarp) and save it to make pickled watermelon rind. You could even put your watermelon sticks straight onto the grill, rind and all, to lend them a smoky-sweet barbecue flavor before dipping your aromatic fruit into a tart bowl of tajín seasoning. Due to their manageable shape, any leftover sticks of watermelon can easily be stacked into a box and refrigerated for later. 

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