For me, watermelon always signaled the on-set of summer. No school, sleeping late and backyard barbecues. I can’t think of any other food that evokes such positive emotions in me. Well, maybe chocolate cake, but watermelon is a close second.
I recently had the whole family over, and son #1 who is a professional chef, was doing the cooking. I was relegated to prepare dessert and beverages. I knew of course that I had to serve these watermelon coolers. It’s the only way to say, kick off those shoes and don the flip flops, summer’s here! Anyway, I kid you not, this is a most refreshing treat. The cucumber and mint in the drink temper the watermelon’s sweetness, and the lime juice adds just a bit of tartness. The mason jars and pink striped straws just make it so darn cute. And who doesn’t like cute.
- 4-5 cups of seedless watermelon (1 medium-sized watermelon), cut into chunks
- 1/2 peeled cucumber, cut into chunks
- 5 -10 mint leaves roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- a pinch of salt
- Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches, I did. Divide your ingredients in half, and process it twice if need be. Place all the ingredients in a blender, and process until it smooth. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl, pressing the solids with a wooden spoon to get all the liquid out.
- Place the watermelon mixture back in your blender and add ice cubes. Depending on how slushy you want it, add your ice cubes accordingly. I wanted mine very slushy, almost like a snow cone, so I used lots of ice cubes. Serve immediately.
Mama’s Tips: I like to garnish these drinks with a slice of watermelon and a sprig of mint.
As I was driving down the main thoroughfare in my community today, I spotted a group of kids, I would say about 10 or 11 years old, yelling and waving frantically at me to stop. They had set up a lemonade stand with an array of handrawn signs, on the corner of this particular intersection. How could I drive by this group of young entrepreneurs without purchasing the product that they had obviously spent hours concocting. I would be forever known as “the mean lady”.
When I pulled over to the curb and got out of my car, I could see sighs of relief on their tiny faces. Yes! A customer. I ordered up a glass of their homemade brew, and when I opened my wallet to pay, I realized I had just blown my entire wad at the supermarket on this evening’s dinner. Oh geez, was this really happening. Dead broke in front of a bunch of 10 year olds. I quietly asked if they took American Express, and they told me they run a cash only business. However they said, since they knew where I lived, they would come by later to settle my outstanding balance. Whew! Problem averted.
As I stood their enjoying my refreshing drink, I started sizing up their business, and thought I should set up my own stand and sell a more mature version of lemonade with my homemade cookies. Do you think it would look weird for a middle-aged woman to sit on a street corner hawking her wares? Well, my kids said they would disown me and would be forced to leave town. So, I let the idea go…for now, anyway.
This version of lemonade is not too sweet, and infused with lots of herbally goodness. The cucumber slices just heighten it’s freshness and make it perfect for a summer’s day.
From Everyday Food, June 2008
- 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, additional for garnishing
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice (I needed about 13 lemons)
- Persian cucumber for garnish
Mama’s tips: 8 ounce mason jars are perfect for serving the lemonade, and can be found in most supermarkets and online.