(NOTE: I started this post literally a year ago and it got lost in the shuffle, but now it’s finished! Jeez! Take forever! Also, please note that my photography has improved considerably since a year ago. I hope so, anyway.)
Watermelon! It’s rad!
It’s also in season and super-duper tasty right now. But how do you know which one is the super-duper tastiest??? It’s easy! The ripe one. But how can you tell when a watermelon is ripe??? Also easy! I’ll tell you!
Pick up a good-looking watermelon, a dark green one that’s fairly evenly shaped, except for a flattish, pale side — that’s where it rested on the earth. If it doesn’t have an earth-spot, it probably didn’t stay on the vine long enough.
Look at the ends. One end is called the “blossom end” and that’s where the squash blossom disattached when the melon started to grow. It is a tiny, rough, round, brown spot that pokes out a little. It is of no consequence, however. The other end, the “stem end” is really what we are after to determine ripeness.
Now, when a melon is picked when it’s good and ready, the stem will just pop off of the melon, leaving a little indentation. If the melon is picked before it’s ripe, the stem will break, leaving a little bit of it attached to the melon. Now, this is not all bad, for the melon will continure to ripen off the vine, but for the best taste the quickest, find you a melon with a prominent earth-spot and a cute little innie where the stem once was.
Now that you have your perfectly beautiful melon, what are you going to do with it? Slice it and sprinkle it with salt? Yes. I agree. Slice it and sprinkle it with spicy salt? YES. Double agree. But that is a huge damn melon and if you’re not feeding a crowd, you might need some new tricks with that old melon after a day or two. Here are a couple ideas.
Watermelon, Mint, Serrano Cooler
- 2 cups watermelon, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 tablespoon mint syrup (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 serrano pepper, seeded (or less)
- 1 cup cold water
- 2-3 ice cubes
- Combine everything in a blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately, with or without a shot of tequila on top.
Combine 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small pot. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add 1 cup washed mint leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Strain. Store in refrigerator. (This makes awesome mint juleps, too!)
Speaking of raging successes, the following cocktail has been one at my house for the last week. Which means now I am all out of gin and have to eat my watermelon plain, like God intended. Sad.
Gin and Ginger Watermelon Juice Cocktail
- Small watermelon
- 1″ piece ginger, peeled
- 2-3 Limes
- Club Soda
- Cut the watermelon into chunks and remove the seeds if there are any.
- Fill a blender with 4 cups of watermelon chunks, ginger, and 1/4 cup lime juice and whirr it until it’s juice.
- Strain into a caraffe.
- Combine one part gin with one part juice in a glass with ice.
- Top off with soda.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Uh, basically the same as above but minus the gin. And plus some sugar. I don’t know why. Just do it.
- 2 cups watermelon chunks
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Puree it all in a blender.
- Strain through a colander to make a smooth juice
- Serve icy cold over ICE!
- Refresh yaself.
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