So, I don’t really know where spring went, but it feels like we have jumped right in to summer. We are in the middle of a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, and I am loving it. Sunshine, dinner on the patio, bonfires, fresh air, windows open… it’s great. (A big thank you, by the way, to all of the men and women who have served our country. I appreciate your sacrifices, and I hope you feel honored this weekend!)
I picked up a watermelon on my way home from work on Friday, and decided that today was a perfect day for some fresh lemonade. It was also the perfect day to not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I needed an easy recipe. Oh, and I discovered that there were only 2 lemons in my crisper drawer, so that meant that this recipe for rhubarb lemonade was out. (I’m definitely adding that recipe to my list for this spring/summer though. Just have to get some more lemons!) Then I remembered this recipe from an old issue of Everyday Food. It fit the bill.
Since my melon was especially sweet, I reduced the sugar to 1/3 of a cup. I also went light on the mint since my plant is still small. I didn’t measure out the how much melon it took me to get eight cups of juice. I sliced the watermelon, then pureed it in batches until I had enough juice. My guess is that it took just under half of my watermelon, leaving us plenty of melon to enjoy with our lemonade. And plenty of time left for fun. Because that’s what long weekends are made for, right?
Half of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, rind removed and flesh cut in to large chunks
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large lemons, quartered
handful of fresh mint (The original recipe calls for an entire cup of mint, which would have decimated my little plant, so I picked about six sprigs of mint.)
Squeeze the lemon quarters into a large pitcher. Add the brown sugar and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, bruising the mint leaves in the process. Add the lemon quarters to the mixture.
Meanwhile, puree the watermelon chunks in a blender. You need about 8 cups of watermelon puree, which is about three batches of watermelon chunks in my blender. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup. (I use my 8-cup Pyrex for this.) Pour the watermelon puree into the strainer and press on the pulp to extract all of the juice. Repeat the process until you have 8 cups of juice. Pour the juice into the pitcher with the lemon/mint mixture. Stir to combine.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or serve immediately over ice.
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, July/August 2008
Click here for a printable version.