July 08, 2007
AFAM is A Fruit A Month blog event started by Maheshwari of Beyond the Usual..as the name suggests, its about blogging about a particular fruit selected by the host for the month. This month's event is hosted by the inimitable couple at Jugalbandi who of course had to select something special..and ended up with....watermelon.
My local grocery had watermelons on sale and I ended up carrying a whooping whole melon (10 Pound) across the store, belatedly thinking what on earth am I going to do with it. Usually a big chunk of it gets skinned and cubed into a big bowl, covered with plastic wrap for snacking. A bit of the rest get chopped up minutely and with added sugar(if not sweet enough), made into a spoon able drink ,while some of it is left intact to be cut into wedges for my little one to snack on.
But this time, I had seen a watermelon juice at Trial and Error and that kept popping in my head. It turned out to be a winner with this amazing thirst quenching quality and a tangy taste similar to punch. Thanks Nabeela.:)
The only change I did was to make a sugar syrup ahead of time and flavoured it with Cardamom. To make the sugar syrup, boil equal quantity of sugar and water for 5-10 minutes and add cardamom if you like. This can stay in the fridge for 3-4 days and is great to make lemonades and juices instantly.
The recipe is simple..
1/2 seedless watermelon,skinned and cut into cubes
Juice from 1 limes or less if you like less tart
1/2 cup sugar syrup
A handful of fresh mint leaves
1 cup cold water
1 lime, sliced
Puree the watermelon with the lime juice and sugar syrup. Taste and adjust as required. Add the crushed mint leaves and let it sit in the refrigerator for some time. Strain (thick drink is also nice) and serve with fresh lime and ice. Do try it, it beats soda or bottled juices any day!
There was still a lot of the melon left, so I scrounged the net and made watermelon salsa, which I promptly threw in the sink..blah! What were they thinking! The watermelon did not hold its own amongst the scallions, peppers and tasted funny. Salsas are best with strong flavored fruits such as peaches and mangoes, me thinks.
But I did try a granita with it and there is a bowl of it next to me right now, as a mid day snack. A spot of weeding outside in the July sun and I was spent! The NorthEast is hot when it decides to be! The watermelon granita tasted great as it is, with the crushed watermelong flavored ice slowly melting with each mouthful, cooling and refreshing at the same time, but it tasted better with a dollop of sweetened sour cream on it!
A Granita is an ice dessert somewhere in between a slushy and a sorbet (sorbets are creamier closer in consistency to ice cream) Granitas have a grainier texture (from the ice shavings) and is typically eaten as a refreshing and light dessert. They can also be used in the same way as one would a sorbet, between meal courses to "cleanse the palate".
It reminded me of the Ice Ka Gola from my childhood where different intense flavors are poured over shaved ice and you keep sipping on the ice till the flavor is dried out.
You will need:
2 cups peeled and seeded watermelon chunks
1/4 cup sugar syrup or 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Puree all the ingredients together.
Transfer the mixing bowl to the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the freezer and use a fork to scrape any ice crystals from the sides of the bowl. Stir to break up the crystals. Return to the freezer.
Repeat this scraping procedure every 30 minutes, or until the consistency is “snowy” when scraped with a fork or spoon, at least 4 hours. Then scoop into bowls or dessert glasses and serve.