Frozen melon cubes won’t water down cold drinks

When “watermelon water” is the next big craze, food marketers officially are overstating the obvious.

“Duh,” was my reaction to news that nutrient-infused water (in the vein of coconut) now comes from watermelon. But nutrition and gardening experts interviewed for this month’s story in Oregon Healthy Living played along and provided so many more reasons to reach for watermelon than its eons-old reputation as refreshing.

Ways with watermelon aren’t unknown to me, although I’ve never counted myself a fan of the gargantuan gourd. I’ve used watermelon in salsa, quick-pickled it for salads and even grilled it. But when faced with a pithy fruit that I’m tempted to toss onto the compost heap, I need to remember to just hack it up and toss it into the freezer for punch, cocktails and other summer coolers.

Here’s a recipe courtesy of the Chicago Tribune for homemade limeade that touts frozen watermelon cubes instead of ice cubes. Because when you’ve got a chilled beverage that’s perfectly tangy and zesty, diluting it with melted ice is such a shame.

Cheers!

Tribune News Service photo

Limeade

4 big slabs watermelon, rind removed

2 cups sugar

Finely grated zest of 4 limes

2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice

10 fresh mint leaves

Sparkling water (optional)

Cut the watermelon into neat 1-inch cubes. (No need to remove seeds — they’re cute.) Set cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until firm, for at least 2 hours. Pile into a resealable plastic bag, and store in freezer.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved and syrup turns from cloudy to clear, for 3 to 4 minutes. Pull pan off heat. Stir in the zest. Pour into a heat-proof jar and allow to cool to room temperature, uncovered. Transfer to refrigerator to chill, covered. When cold, stir in the juice. Keep tightly covered in refrigerator.

For each drink, pile frozen watermelon cubes into a tall glass. Add 1 mint leaf. Pour in equal parts water (or sparkling water) and lime syrup. Stir. Sip. Smile.

Makes 5 cups syrup, about 10 servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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