August 20, 2010

Watermelon Water

Ouf!  I'm going on a vacation from food.  4 days in the bay area of stuffing myself with ridiculously good food at all hours and all I want are salads piled high with vegetables and handfuls of fruit.  Couple that with the hot weather and I don't think I could eat a full meal if pressed.  But I can't complain, really.  These are what my friend would call princess problems.  We stepped off the plane in San Diego, greeted by the sunshine and a cloud-free sky; the summer weather we've been waiting since June for.  I've been making good on all the summer time activities I said I needed to cram in before school starts back up.  Beach days, pool days, happy hours and leisurely days of relaxing.

But back to the fruit.  When we got back home, I opened my mostly empty fridge to find half of a giant watermelon that I bought the week before we left, wrapped up and begging not to be thrown away.  I should have bought a smaller one for the two of us, but they were on sale and I love watermelon so, I couldn't resist.  So here it was, past it's prime, but not yet going bad, laying abandoned on the chilly bottom shelf and me feeling too guilty to toss it.  I could freeze it and make margaritas with it later (which, by the way, watermelon margaritas are the best!), but I wanted instant gratification.  Why wait for freezing when I can just blend it up and drink it now?  Agua frescas - fresh water or refreshing water for those uninitiated - are pure genius and a perfect way to use up the late summer bounty of quickly ripening fruit.  Can't eat all that melon?  All those peaches, strawberries and cucumbers?  Just toss it in a blender with some water, a squeeze of citrus juice for acidity, a little sweetener and you have the essence of summer in a glass.  It was so tasty that I made 3 more batches.  A whole pitcher to have whenever I pleased, because really, it's practically health food!

And this is how I found myself enjoying the long, late afternoon rays of sunshine, sipping my icy glass of watermelon water, relaxed and glad to be home.

Watermelon Agua Frescas

Up the lime juice or sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of your melon.  Mine wasn't the sweetest, I'd say it was a medium sweetness, and I found these proportions to wok nicely.  Make it into a cocktail by filling a glass with ice and adding a short of gin or vodka to the mix.  Muddle some mint or basil leaves into it, freeze it in popsicle forms, or just enjoy it as is!

make about 4 cups

4 cups of 1" cubed seedless watermelon*
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Throw it all into a blender and let it go for a minute (probably less).  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve and discard the pulp.

*I wasn't picking the small white seeds out of my watermelon so there was some of that left behind with the pulp, it didn't seem to affect the juice.

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