What I love about summer is the fruit. There are peaches and plums for pies. There are nectarines for dribbling down your chin. There are apricots for tarts, cherries for snacks and all sorts of berries for breakfast, plus other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew to wrap ham around. But what other fruit offers a crunchy snack, a juice for drinking (with or without a boozy booster), seeds for spitting contests, and a big round shape for greasing and throwing around the pool, lake or ocean (have you played greased pig yet this summer)?
It's the watermelon. When it's good, it's really good and needs little else to completely satisfy a craving for a cool, sweet treat.
There's no doubt it's been a hot summer, so I've been trying to plan ahead by juicing whatever fruit I have around and straining the juice into popsicle molds the night before. After a long day of work or play, everyone in the house has a dessert to look forward to (even our dog loves watermelon!).
Since in-season fruit is so sweet already, I skip the sweetener, though list it as an optional ingredient below. Before digging into the sugar, cut into your watermelon for a taste and decide if you need it sweeter. The addition of lime juice adds a tartness, but it also brings out the sweetness, so give the unsweetened way a chance.
4 cups cubed watermelon flesh (about 1 pound, rind removed)1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice1 tablespoon honey, optional
Makes about 8 popsicles
Blend the watermelon, lime juice and optional honey in a blender (or process the melon through a juicer then stir in the lime juice and honey). Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing the fibrous melon with the back of a spoon to extract the maximum amount of juice. Carefully pour or spoon the juice into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. If using popsicle sticks, insert the sticks when the popsicles are partially frozen.
(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)