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It’s the first barbecue of the year. The coolers are full, the grill is heating up, the cornhole boards are in position and, props to you, a massive watermelon made its way from the produce section to the kitchen counter. Now all you have to do is­­…wait, how the heck do you cut these things? Don’t let their size intimidate you. Watermelons are simpler to divide and conquer than they seem. Learn how to cut a watermelon in five easy steps, plus what to make with it once it’s cut. (That is, if your guests don’t eat it all first.) And if you're wondering what to do with all that cut-up fruit, here are 32 watermelon recipes to make all summer long.

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Claire Chung

How to Cut a Watermelon into Wedges

1. Slice off both ends with a knife.

Lay the washed watermelon down on a cutting board and use a large serrated knife or chef's knife (our food editor loves these).

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Claire Chung

2. Turn the watermelon onto one of its flat sides.

Then slice it down the middle.

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Claire Chung

3. Lay each half pink side down.

And cut each in half again. The watermelon should now be in quarters.

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Claire Chung

4. Turn each quarter green side-up.

Cut into one-inch slices to make triangles.

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Claire Chung

5. Serve

Fan the wedges on a plate and serve. Put out a bowl for everyone to drop their rinds in.

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Claire Chung

How to Cut a Watermelon into Cubes

1. Slice off both ends of the melon with a knife.

Have we mentioned watermelon is a great source of lycopene, antioxidants and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C?

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Claire Chung

2. Remove the rind.

Turn the watermelon onto one of its flat sides, then cut thin strips of the rind off until it’s all gone. There should be no green or white left on the melon.

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Claire Chung

3. Cut the peeled watermelon.

Into one-inch slices.

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Claire Chung

4. Create the cubes

Stack up a few of the slices and make vertical cuts one inch apart all the way across. Repeat with horizontal cuts. Keep cutting until the entire watermelon is cubed.

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Claire Chung

5. Serve

Place the cubes in a bowl and serve.

How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon

Forget the fruit-section guessing game. It’s time to show that melon who’s boss. The next time you’re shopping for a watermelon, pick one up and look for the ground spot, the dull part of the rind that touched the ground as the melon grew. If the ground spot is cream or yellow in color, it’s ripe and ready to buy. If it’s light green or white in color, put it back.

Once you choose a melon and haul it home, roll that thing over to the sink for a wash. Rinse it under cold water and scrub it with a clean produce brush. Once it’s clean, you’re ready to start slicing. There are single-slice and whole watermelon slicers that could make your life a bit easier, but all you really need to pull it off yourself is a big cutting board, a sharp knife and a container for the melon pieces.

When is watermelon season?

Depending on where you live, watermelon season can begin as early as May and last through September.

Ready to Use Your Watermelon? Try These 7 Easy Recipes

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