Make a watermelon turtle for Fourth of July party

High gas prices are keeping people at home this Fourth of July. If you’re planning a party, make an unusual centerpiece by carving a watermelon in the shape of a turtle.
Here’s how to make a watermelon turtle.

Materials needed:
1 oblong watermelon
Melon baller or other scoop spoon
Channel knife (you can substitute with the top of a standard vegetable peeler)
Dry erase marker
2 Peppercorns, or other eye pieces
Fruit salad
Leaves, plants, or other accents as desired
Toothpicks or other skewers

1. Choose an oblong seedless watermelon for carving.
2. Wash watermelon and pat dry.
3. Cut in half lengthwise.
4. Hollow out both sides, using a melon baller.
5. Carve out block design in the bottom side, using a channel knife.
6. Use a dry erase marker to trace turtle shell, legs, and head on top side of watermelon.
7. Carve shapes with knife, and add designs with channel knife.
8. Add peppercorns to the eye holes to fill.
9. Fill bottom with fruit salad.
10. Attach legs and head to shell, using strong toothpicks or skewers, and put on top of salad. Add accents around base with leaves and plants.

Easy watermelon carving tips

  • Have the whole watermelon at room temperature when you carve. The cuts will be easier to make when the watermelon is not cold. You can chill the watermelon in the refrigerator after cutting and before serving.
  • Cut a small, thin, flat piece from the bottom of the watermelon before carving. This will make a flat base, making the watermelon more stable when carving.
  • Draw the design on the watermelon rind with a fi ne/medium point waterproof marker or a sharp pencil before you cut.
  • After you’ve drawn the design on the rind, insert toothpicks in key places to use as guides for your cuts.
  • Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip – the sharper the knife, the easier and cleaner the cuts will be. Be careful!
  • Consider using a channel knife for certain cuts and to hollow out larger areas.
  • For better grip and to help protect your hands, use a fresh, new thick pair of gardening gloves with gripper palms.
  • Choose a flat working surface on a solid base.
  • For more detailed designs, draw a template first on a sheet of white paper with a marker or pencil.
  • When finished, transfer the image to the watermelon surface by taping the paper to the melon and tracing along the design’s lines with a pencil, making the design right on the watermelon surface.
  • When attaching cut pieces on the watermelon to make your design, use round toothpicks or skewers. Flat toothpicks will often break due to weight of the piece or the thickness of the rind.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board