Watermelon Juice and Granita
When watermelon is in season, my favorite way to eat it is in huge slabs, spitting the seeds out as the juice runs down my chin. After a few days of that, I start making watermelon juice. I whiz cubed, seedless watermelon in a blender with lime juice and water. If my herb garden is overflowing, I’ll also throw in a handful of mint, tarragon, basil or thyme. Strain, chill and serve. Run to the store (or ride your
bike) to get more watermelon. Repeat.
Ripe watermelon = brain healthy lycopene
If your watermelon is ripe, you won’t even need to add sugar. And ripe watermelon is definitely the way to go. Not only does it taste better, it has more brain healthy lycopene, a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical much studied for its positive effect on the brain. Lycopene, along with other carotenoids like retinoic acid, and beta-carotene, have been shown to inhibit amyloid plaque formation in the brain — the cement-like protein that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
So, go for the ripest watermelon. The redder the watermelon, the more flavorful and brain healthy it gets. Oh, and it’s over 90% water so it is über-hydrating. The humble watermelon also packs in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, and iron. Yep, iron.
Watermelon juice is for sharing
Watermelon juice is my favorite thing to bring to a summer potluck. Why? Because I am often scrambling to put together a dish about 10 minutes before the party, and that’s how long it takes to make watermelon juice. Besides, everyone could use a little extra hydration at the end of a summer day. Spiked or not, watermelon juice just hits the spot. (What would you spike your watermelon juice with? Me, I’m a tequila girl.)
Watermelon granita, an icy treat
The only thing I can think of that is better than watermelon juice is watermelon granita. While traveling through Sicily, I became enamored with this icy watermelony treat. It’s easy to make at home. Just pour fresh watermelon juice into a rimmed pan and place in the freezer. Open the freezer sloooowly so the juice does not spill, and scrape with a fork every twenty minutes or so. Once you’ve scraped it all into icy granules, transfer the granita into cups and enjoy.
You can also throw chunks of frozen watermelon juice into a blender and make a slushie. It won’t have the same texture as a true Sicilian granita but it will still be good. Add alcohol and it will be a sloshie, a very popular thing in Jackson Hole in the summer.