Monday, July 7, 2014

Watermelon Picker Upper

Watermelon Picker Upper (For Thirst Quenchers Recipe Challenge).

My road to this recipe:
40 years ago when I was eight months pregnant and feeling tired a friend came over with a huge watermelon.  She cut it, crushed it and coaxed me to have a glass of the juice.  In half an hour I started feeling great.  Since then this juice has become a summer favorite and over the years I’ve added ginger and lime juice to the watermelon juice. Later the lime juice became a combination of lime and lemon juice as that combo enhances the taste.

So here’s the simple recipe: 
For 2 gallons juice:
Peel and blend a 3” piece of ginger with ½ cup water.  Strain.
(The ginger in the USA is BIG so I got an 8 oz glass of juice).
Squeeze the juice of two lemons and two limes.  Strain.
Cut and cube watermelon, collecting all the juice as you do this ‘juicy’ job.  (I use  watermelon with seeds just to make my life more difficult and because I believe it's sweeter).
Blend well in batches:  2 cups watermelon cubes with 1 cup cold water (watermelon has such a high water content it satisfies the 75% H2O requirement for this challenge).
Strain (just to make sure no seeds remain).  

In large bowl/pitcher:  For every 8 oz. glass of watermelon juice add one tsp. of lime/lemon juice, one tsp. of ginger juice, sugar if required. 
Stir taste and add more ginger or lime/lemon juice if required (which is why I made a glass each of these ingredients).
Add the natural watermelon juice you collected while prepping it (if you haven’t drunk it already!)
Add a pinch of salt per each 8 oz glass OR place 2 Tbsps lime juice in a bowl and some salt in a plate.  Dip rim of serving glass in lime juice then in salt before filling (as for margaritas).
If juice is for a crowd, pour half of your juice into a serving pitcher/jug, and freeze it.
If its for a small group fill glasses 1/3 of the way and freeze.
Chill the rest of the juice at least three hours and fill pitcher/glasses with well chilled juice before serving.
This gives everyone  a very cold drink without weakening the flavor of the juice by adding ice. 
(It was 95 degrees F here when I made this, so the challenge was to find ways to serve it really cold).
If there’s no place in the refrigerator for such a large jug or a tray of glasses, freeze half the juice in ice cube trays and then add the cubes to the pitcher before serving.
If the juice stands for a while there is separation of sediment and water so stir from time to time.
Serve with a sprig of mint or a slice of lime or lemon or just ‘as is’.

Optional additions instead of water:  plain soda, flavored water, apple cider.
(I like it with plain water and no sugar.)

Health benefits:  
Addition of ginger and lime/lemon juice helps with heat related symptoms of dizziness, nausea, sun stroke etc.
Additional health benefits of watermelon:  natural coolant, re-hydrating and anti-inflammatory agent ( prevents inflammation that leads to arthritis, asthma, colon cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes), and it's an anti-oxidant (has lycopene).

NOTE:  If you’re a diabetic (like I am now) please test 2 hours after having the juice to check your sugar level.  This helps define the amount of the juice you can drink.
(I feel energized and full for a long time after this juice, which is a double blessing for a diabetic.)


The story of the watermelon mask can be found here:

Tempted by a 'thirst quenchers' contest i started looking for a unique way to present my ordinary watermelon juice and came up with an idea for doing it in the watermelon itself and finding a way to attach a faucet to it.

Imagine my disappointment when I found it has been done before...just when I started thinking I was brilliant!
(story of my life!)
Here's the best explanation for those who want to do it because though I bought the faucet and the tub after reading the possibility of chemical reactions with the juice, I decided not to go ahead with it.
Please read all comments on this site and make sure you are using safe products for this:

Second brilliant idea:  carve the front of the watermelon as I had seen other watermelon carvings on cruises to make it exceptional.
That went by the wayside too as though I found a great tiger stencil and the juice was supposed to pour out of the mouth (and it would have been great), when I started tracing the tiger I found my 64 year old hand could not carry out the ideas in my still young brain.  I could not hold my hand steady long enough and when I did it started cramping with strain.

Ideas for carvings:

When things get tough the tough go shopping!

I returned with a pitcher that would hold the juice and called it a day.  The next morning ( a time when my head is clearest) drew a face on a mask and did the 'make-up', carved out the area under the mouth for the faucet.  Lady Luck finally approved of this idea and allowed the mask to stand up in front of the pitcher with no additional work!
"Act Your Age," I heard her whisper sternly.  "No scratch that.  THINK your age!"

Wisely spreading a plastic sheet on a table in the garage I prepped my watermelon there and then moved everything into the kitchen for the final stages which were also messy and sticky and had the ants coming to the party before the guests!

Finally exhausted I retired to recuperate with guess what?  A huge glass of watermelon juice of course!

I hope you enjoyed the story and that you'll remember to drink watermelon juice all summer.

Additional Facts:

Watermelon is not a fruit.  It's belongs to the squash family and some people call it a veggie while others insist it is a berry.
It is grown in 96 countries around the world.
In China and Japan you are a great guest if you bring a watermelon.
The seeds and the rind are also edible (the former is a good thing as I was worrying about one or two getting blended with the fruit.)

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