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Creative Play with Summer Flowers and Food

Summer is here and that means watermelon season galore! 

Over the years floral design has been moving away from harmful traditional mechanics such asgreen floral foam and tapping into creative flower arranging mechanics such as the use of watermelons as a vessel. Although very smart and crafty, I wanted to utilize this juicy summer fruit in more than one way. 

Compostable Ikebana Flower Frog: Watermelon Rinds

Inspiration: Ikebana design style and its traditional use of the Japanese Ikebana 'Kenzan'

What You Need:
- Leftover fresh green watermelon rinds with all of the fruit's flesh scraped away
- A sewing needle, toothpick or skewer
- A ramekin dish or a small low dish
- A knife or a metal cookie cutter shape of your choosing

Using your cookie cutter or knife, carve out a shape that would fit in your low dish of choice. Then using a pointed stick such as a toothpick, poke as many holes as you would like (I recommend 2-3 to keep it minimal). Place the punched out shape in your ramekin with the green side facing up and insert your stems in the holes you just created. Fill your ramekin with a thin layer of water just enough so flowers can drink and your rind can stay hydrated which delays them from shriveling up too soon.

Result: A simple ikebana-inspired arrangement 
Compostable Ikebana arrangement made with watermelons

Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rinds

As I was preparing a charcuterie spread for Father's Day I thought it would be really nice to utilize the white part between the green watermelon rind and the pink flesh of the fruit by pickling it to pair with the spread of cured meats. The texture and consistency of the white fibrous flesh reminds me of Korean Radishes, also called 'Mu'. So the brine I came up with is inspired by similar ingredients used to pickle Mu.

The Ingredients:
2-3 cups of diced bite-sized Watermelon rinds (white flesh only but can leave a bit of pink for aesthetic)
1/4 White Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 Turbinado sugar aka 'Sugar in the Raw' or substitute with white sugar
1/3 Filtered water
8-10 Whole black peppercorns
1 red mini chili pepper (sliced)

Red chili pepper and black peppercorns

Massage salt over rinds and let sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out excess water. Rinse the rinds in running water. Drain and pat-dry with a lint-free towel. Fill rinds in a large mason jar. Heat up a small saucepan on high heat. Pour and boil wet ingredients and add in your dry ingredients. Stir mixture until sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat and set saucepan aside to cool for a few minutes. Pour mixture into your mason jar until all rinds are completely submerged. Once your jar cools down completely, refrigerate and chill overnight. Taste test the next day and enjoy! The rinds will remain fresh for approximately one month.

Brine for pickled watermelon
Jar of pickled watermelon rinds

Result: A refreshing snack with a subtle kick! Pairs great with charcuterie and or as a side dish.

Pickled watermelon rinds served at parties