Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist.
These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week we are revisiting the Sept. 1, 1972 issue with instructions for the perfect melon fruit bowl.
“An “open house” was held at the Department of Agriculture test kitchen recently to introduce a group of foreign students to traditional Tar Heel food favorites,” wrote York Kiker, former NCDA home economist. “Fried chicken, ham biscuits, stuffed eggs, fresh summer fruits and other goodies were among the foods served. Chilled peach sections, cantaloupe and watermelon balls were mixed together in a watermelon basket for our open house. The basket served as a table decoration and also stretched the flavor of our fruits.”
Suggestions on selecting a watermelon and making a melon fruit bowl are below.
“Several outward signs are a guide to the ripeness and quality of watermelons,” said Kiker. “Good quality melons are usually firm, symmetrical in shape, fresh, attractive in appearance and of good color. Mature melons also have a velvety bloom – a dull rather than shiny surface. The underside of the ripe melon is yellowish in color, or beginning to turn from a white or pale green to light yellow.”
Melon Fruit Bowl
- Cut a slice off the bottom of the melon to make level.
- Cut top third off the melon.
- To make watermelon or cantaloupe balls, scoop out inside with melon-ball cutter or a measuring teaspoon.
- Using a cup as a guide, trace scallops around the edge of the hollowed shell. Then carve out scallops following pattern.
- Fill shell with melon balls, small slices of peaches or assorted fruit as desired.
Watermelons can also be made into a basket. Outline handle on top of melon and cut away portion to leave in shape of a basket. Scoop out red part of the melon to be returned to basket along with the other fruit.
Watermelons, peaches and cantaloupes are abundant at farmers markets across the state. “The season for fresh peaches and watermelons is entirely too short,” Kiker added. “Do enjoy these fruits as often as possible while available.”
Note: With new varieties of watermelon, it’s easier than ever to create a beautiful, and timeless, fruit bowl. Seedless varieties take the hassle out of making the balls and the rind on many varieties is much thinner than heritage varieties. This makes cutting the scallops a breeze. To make a festive red, white and blue fruit bowl, add some honeydew, sprite melon or canary melon for the white. Or a white yogurt fruit dip can be added to finish off this patriotic crowd pleaser.