Does anyone remember that Tom T. Hall song? "...old dogs, children and watermelon wine...". I think I remember my dad being particularly fond of it during the country music phase. I like that song. Of course, I love children and my (very) old dog Murray loved watermelon (though not as much as he loved me). Nostalgia.
I am working on some ideas for summer classes and the notion of flavored waters - those flavored with real food - is intriguing to me. It seems the perfect non-alcoholic drink with the panache of a cocktail and yet perfect for kids. Fine Cooking (man, I love that magazine) has an article by Ellie Krieger (who typically bores me to tears) all about infused waters. (I swear they read my mind).
I am big into eating locally and seasonally but
sometimes often I have to work with produce not quite in season so I can teach how to use it when it is. This project is a perfect example because here in the Midwest, we aren't near watermelon in the garden. Squelching my OCD monsters, I forge ahead.
As I am sure you can well imagine, flavored waters are super simple. This one includes watermelon, basil, sugar (only 1T.) and lime juice. A basil syrup is added to enhance the watermelon flavor.
I used the blender to puree the watermelon with extra water and then strained through a fine mesh sieve.
All liquid is mixed together and chilled. The color is lovely, isn't it?
In a chilled glass, with lots of ice and sprig of fresh basil, it's surprisingly thirst quenching. Max commented how much he like the "herb-y taste" (I love that boy). I don't think a splash of icy gin or vodka would be terrible either. I may even add bubbles with my Twist n' Sparkle.
I took some extra and made ice pops (the summer treat formerly known as Popsicles) for the kids. Even better than juice pops!
In conclusion, my theory holds true - waiting a bit longer for watermelon would make for a sweeter, less green tasting drink. I really do suggest you try it when the time is right - there are so many possibilities and it takes little time.
And when the watermelon are sweet - let's make watermelon wine.
Fine Cooking, June /July 2011
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 T. granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon (1#)
2 T. fresh lime juice
Put the basil leaves and sugar in a small pot and crush the leaves with a wooden spoon. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to steep and cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the watermelon with 2 cups cold water. Strain the watermelon liquid through a fine strainer into a large bowl, discard the solids.
Pour the liquid into a large pitcher. Add the lime juice and 2 cups cold water; stir to combine. Serve over ice.