The very first time I carved a watermelon and made this Sparkling Watermelon Bubbles was back in my college years. Oh well, that was many, many years ago…ahem…Those were the good old days. It was always fun to make and serve this Sparkling Watermelon Bubbles at parties. With this watermelon basket as a centerpiece, you can expect to get all the “ohhs and ahhs” from your guests. The recipe was slightly different back then. The “sparkling” ingredient was wine coolers instead of the sparkling white grape juice that I used in this recipe. Why did I switch the wine cooler out and use sparkling grape juice this time? Because my kids adore watermelons! With this kid-friendly version, everybody can enjoy this wonderful treat.
So, when Kitchen PLAY invited me to participate in this month’s Progressive Party to create a watermelon dessert recipe, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get started. My kids were on their winter breaks and they were just as excited when they saw the fridge filled with watermelons. My kids ask for watermelons all the time, even in the winter. Good thing is that watermelons are available all year-round, typically as a mini-watermelon, or pre-cut melon as found in the produce aisle. I love using the mini ones as they are usually sweeter. Plus, they are perfect for carving into these lovely baskets (I’ll show you the step-by-step pictorial in just a second).
I love serving these Sparkling Watermelon Bubbles to my kids. Not only are they refreshing and delicious, but they are packed with nutrients that your body needs. Did you know watermelon is 92% water? Oh yeah, with the dry weather during the winter, you can feel good about filling up, as it hydrates while satiating your appetite. Watermelon is a multivitamin unto itself; it is packed with lots of Vitamins A, B6 and C. For more information about health and nutrition on watermelons, feel free to visit Watermelon.Org.
Are you ready to learn how to carve this watermelon basket? It’s way easier than it looks. Before you get started, I have two important tips for you. Tip number one: have a sturdy and stable cutting board. Place a damp paper towel underneath the cutting board to prevent your board from sliding around when you carve. Tip number two: use a very sharp knife for carving. It’s much safer when your knife is sharp so it cuts through the skin of the watermelon with ease.
So, here’s what I did.
1) Slice 1/4-inch off the bottom of the watermelon to provide a stable base.
2) Cut vertically from the top, 1-inch to the right from the center of the melon until you reach half way of the melon.
3) Cut horizontally in the middle of the melon until you reach the corners of the vertical cut.
4) This slice of watermelon should come off easily, set it aside. (You can slice this piece into 1/2-inch thick slices and out flesh into star shapes ones with a cookie cutter, see pictorial #8 below)
5) Do the same on the other side of the watermelon to create the “handle” of the basket.
6) Scoop out the flesh with a melon-baller, be careful not to scrape too deep on the bottom as part of the skin was cut off as the base.
7) Make zig-zag cuts with a paring knife, all the way through the rind and on the handle.
8) Use a cookie cutter to cut out other fun shapes.
It’s fun and easy, right? I hope you enjoy today’s pictorial.
Lemon zest and lemon juice really brighten up the flavor of this dessert. The basil adds a nice zing and depth of flavor to the melons. When I bit into one of these melon bubbles, it burst in my mouth because of the sparkling grape juice it absorbed. It’s so much fun to eat.
I hope you’re inspired to get your own watermelon and carve something fun. Give this recipe a try; I’m sure you’ll love it as much as my family does.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by the Watermelon.org and Kitchen PLAY. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Sparkling Watermelon Bubbles: (Printable Recipe)
1 mini watermelon
1 lemon, zest and juiced
2 teaspoons basil, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
1 bottle of sparkling white grape juice, chilled
a pinch of sea salt
Carve the watermelon into a basket as shown in the pictorial (optional) or any shape you like. Scoop out the flesh from the watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew with a melon-baller and place into a large mixing bowl. Or, cut melons into 1/4-inch thick disk, then cut out star/flower shape pieces with a small cookie cutter.
Add lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, sparkling white grape juice and sea salt. Gently toss to combine. Place melons, juice and all, back into the watermelon basket. Loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or until ready to serve.