I went shopping over the weekend and brought home our first watermelon of the season. (It was hot). That’s the only reason my wife didn’t bug me. Normally, I’ll bring one or two melons home to mark the first of many hot days to come and it will turn cool again for weeks. The melons wind up hogging all the room in the fridge because nobody wants ice cold watermelon on a cool day, do they?
This post gave me another idea. Take 1watermelon, pick up a few fittings, add some friends or neighbors and no more watermelon storage problems. Plus it’s a great excuse to celebrate May Day.
I know what you’re thinking: “What if I attached a faucet to a watermelon and filled it with spiked watermelon juice so party guests could serve themselves right from the melon?” Want to impress guests with a DIY watermelon keg of your own?
What you’ll need:
• 10-pound seedless watermelon
• Sharp knife
• Big spoon
• Big bowl
• Drill with a 1/2-inch drill bit
• 3/4-inch ball-valve faucet with a handle that’s easy to turn with one hand
• PVC-to-faucet adapter that will screw into the back of the faucet
• Rubber O-ring that fits the back of the faucet
• 1 1/2 cups rum
• 4 limes
• About 90 minutes of your time
1. If your watermelon is wobbly when standing on one end, use a knife to trim off the stem end of your watermelon rind just enough that the melon sits flat. Then decide which side of your melon looks best — that’ll be your front. Cut the top jack-o’-lantern style, big enough to fit your hand through, but center the cut more toward the back of the melon so you can’t see the seam from the front.
2. Use a big spoon to scoop out the fruit into a large bowl. Eat some of the watermelon as you’re scooping it out to make sure it doesn’t poison your guests. Pour any juice in the bottom of the melon into your pitcher.
3. Drill a hole a few inches from the bottom of the melon for your faucet. Then use a knife to slightly widen the hole till it’s just a little smaller than the diameter of the back of the faucet.
4. Gently screw the faucet into the hole, putting your other hand inside the melon for leverage. Don’t jam it in or you’ll bruise the outside of the rind and compromise your seal. Inside the melon, carve away a little more fruit from around the back of the faucet (don’t go through the rind) to make room for screwing on the adapter.
5. Slide the O-ring onto the back of the faucet, then screw on the adapter. To test for leaks, fill the melon halfway with water, then turn on the faucet. Once you’ve confirmed that your watermelon is indeed operational, pour out the water through the top.
6. Reserve some watermelon to eat tomorrow for breakfast, then throw the rest into a blender and puree. Use the back of a spoon to push the puree through a sieve placed over your pitcher so you’re left with just juice. Discard any solids. You should have about 6 cups of juice. Mix the juice with 1 1/2 cups of rum and 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (about four limes’ worth).
7. Pour the mixture back into the watermelon. Put the top back on the melon and set it on the edge of a counter or table to serve.
There is one caution I would like to make about using brass fittings in this design.
All brass contains lead and lead compounds. Brass and alcohol should not mix if you don’t want lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is a lot like arsenic poisoning and may take years to affect you or could kill within days or months. It depends on ones tolerance and exposure limits.
Also avoid stainless steel valves that aren’t rated for potable drinking water as they contain carcinogens that cause cancer. All of these things have a cumulative effect over time so my advice is to avoid these materials as much as possible.
I would recommend a plastic spigot (HDPE I believe). They are safer,much cheaper and come with all the gaskets and nut necessary to install. If there is not a home brew shop near you they are readily available on line and are commonly used for all grain beer brewing.