I love a sweet, juicy, fragrant melon in the summer — you just can’t beat ripe cantaloupe or honeydew when they’re in high season. And, no, you do not need to buy pre-cut melon to avoid slicing off a finger! There are many ways to go about cutting a melon, but I find this method, albeit a bit different, to be the safest and most efficient.
Before we get to the how-to, a few words on selection a melon. Many people think picking a melon at the supermarket is a game of chance. That’s somewhat true but there are a few guidelines to ensure you’re choosing a good melon on more than a leap of faith. First, avoid any melons that have bruising or soft spots. In terms of weight, choose a fruit that feels heavy for its size. And, finally, use your nose — when you apply gentle pressure to the stem end, it should yield a bit and give off a slightly sweet scent.
So let’s get started — First, get out a large, sharp knife (a serrated edge works well) and a clean cutting board. Wash the melon well, then cut a thin slice off of each end of the melon to create two flat surfaces.
Once you have two flat surfaces, place the end with the larger surface area on the cutting board and start removing the rind by running your knife down the side of the melon in wide strips until all of the rind has been cut away. Be careful not to cut away too much of the edible flesh when removing the rind.
With that same flat surface on the cutting board, cut down through the center of the melon to create two halves.
This will expose the seeds inside the melon.
Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the melon. Apply just enough pressure to remove the seeds without digging too far down into the flesh.
Flip both melon halves over so the flat sides are facedown on the cutting board. Then you can dice the fruit. Start by cutting a number of parallel slices heading one direction on the melon. I usually make somewhere between 9 – 12 slices depending upon the size of the melon. Apply gentle pressure to the melon with your hand to keep the sliced pieces together and rotate the melon. Cut slices in the other direction to create chunks.