Eating the World

Watermelon Juice in a Fancy Glass

Lately, in this In Season series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week and see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using watermelon.

I've been making this all summer and it has sort of been a game changer for me. I have gotten Frank's watermelons for years now and they're very generous with me at the farm, sometimes giving me two watermelons in a given week. I happily tote them into my car and then on the drive home think, "Oh lordy, what am I going to do with two watermelons."

You eat them, you say. Well, yes, but I'm the only melon eater in my house and...I have a little confession to make -- I don't totally love eating watermelon. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to fuss with the seeds, or the texture isn't perfect.

However, I totally love watermelon juice. It's one ingredient and it's made my mornings so bright.

Wrestling, cubing, blending, straining, and decanting a whole watermelon is quite a task, but it's completely worth it.

Watermelon Juice in a Fancy Glass
Get your biggest cutting board,

some kitchen towels to sop up the extra juice that will run off your cutting board and possibly drip off the countertop and down onto your toes (not that that's happend to me),

a sharp chef's knife,

a big bowl to hold the cubed melon,

another big bowl to hold the rind for pickling or composting, and

a third big bowl topped with a fine mesh strainer.

Carefully cut the melon in half through the widest part or the waist if that makes better sense -- you could cut it any which way but this way might fit on your cutting board a little better. I move one half to the side and place the other cut side down on my cutting board. Start at the top and cut down the sides to remove the rind only. Then cut the melon into planks, the planks into sticks, then the sticks into cubes.

Once the melon is all cubed up (you don't have to remove the seeds), work in batches with your blender to get it smooth. I will fill the blender about 1/2 full and (without the motor on) I smash the melon a bit with a wooden spoon to help it get going once the blender is turned on. Run the blender for a minute or so and then pour that juice through a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl.

Use a spatula to help push the juice through and then use the solids for compost or just discard. Once finished with all the blending and straining, use a funnel to decant into a pretty bottle.

The other "ingredient" or "tool" for this recipe is that you must choose a fancy bottle and fancy glass in which to serve. I know, Mason jars are all the rage -- but a frail, dainty glass is so much more elegant.

This means a pretty pitcher or one of those narrow glass bottles with the rubber stoppers from IKEA, and a thin rimmed glass -- perhaps some ultrathin barware like this, or a champagne flute. Make sure you wash it well so that it's clear and sparkles. It completely adds to the flavor -- don't laugh. This watermelon juice experience is so much better in a fancy glass. I dare you to do a blind taste test. It will feel better going into your mouth as you sip it if it comes from a lovely vessel with a thin rim.

Something like this, but please don't add ice, it'll dilute the juice:

If you don't have any fine glassware or can't stand not putting something in this, you might consider adding agave, honey or simple syrup if your watermelon isn't quite sweet enough to your liking or rimming with salt if you want to go a little yin and yang. If you're really quite fancy and you have some in your pantry, a few drops of rosewater or orange flower water would be outstanding, actually.

Go out and get yourself a watermelon in the next few weeks. They've already been overshadowed by everything spiced and pumpkin, but give them the love they deserve until they're out of season and you won't get a good one til next June. If you want more ideas, check out our previous In Season post on melons.

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