Freezing watermelon may be my favorite food discovery of the year! I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a whole watermelon and unless we’re entertaining a crowd, after 3 days of sliced watermelon with dinner we have all hit the wall. Then I still have at big chunk of watermelon taking up valuable fridge space and after a few days it’s gone off and it’s in the bin. And have I mentioned how I hate throwing food away?
Well, no more. Freeze that leftover watermelon (or after tasting this slushie you may start buying watermelon just to freeze it!). Cut the melon into chunks (I do roughly 1″), place in a zipper freezer bag and lay in the freezer. Takes at least 4 hours to freeze, overnight is best, and then it’ll keep for at least a month.
The best part about having frozen watermelon is that you can easily whip up summer of 2015’s favorite drink – watermelon slushies!! I can’t tell you how refreshing and delicious and addicting these are. No more slushies with the colored syrup from the fair. It’s just watermelon, fresh mint leaves, fresh lime juice and a bit of honey. The watermelon has lots of water and is frozen, so no need to add ice, so you have pure, undiluted watermelon loveliness.
This next paragraph is for the serious food geeks out there, so if you don’t fall into that category, feel free to skip to the following paragraph. For such a simple recipe (4 ingredients, one step) it did take a lot of fiddling to get it right. First, I started with frozen watermelon and added water (if you use all frozen watermelon it’s too thick – more like sorbet – which isn’t bad, but most blenders won’t be able to handle it) but it was too diluted and didn’t taste like much. Then I started playing around with various degrees of watermelon frozen-ness, but that seemed like a big pain to have to prepare the slushy at that one moment in time with perfect frozen-ness. I also toyed with adding cucumber, but it didn’t add anything. A brainstorm came and I thought to combine frozen and fresh and after playing around with a few different ratios I got it right at 2/3 frozen to 1/3 fresh.
If you want to get even crazier, put the slushies in small cups and place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight and you’ll have watermelon ice! A healthier alternative to ice cream. So many options with this recipe. Now for my next food exploration….freezing strawberries and mixing in a food processor with a bit of cream to make quick strawberry ice cream. Will keep you posted!
Watermelon Slushie (serves 2)
Note: A medium-size watermelon will make about a dozen slushies, so you need less than a quarter of a melon to make this recipe. If you are making more than 2 slushies, don’t double/triple/quadruple the recipe as that amount probably won’t fit in your blender. Follow the recipe as is and just keep making more batches. To freeze the melon, cut into chunks and place in a zipper freezer bag. Lay bag flat in freezer, trying to get watermelon into a single layer, and leave overnight or 4 hours minimum, in order to ensure fully frozen. If you want to prepare slushies ahead of time, pour into glasses and place in the refrigerator up to an hour before serving. After one hour it’ll still taste delicious, but loses the slushiness. Also, for happy hour feel free to stir in a nip of vodka.
2/3 lb (300 g) frozen seedless watermelon chunks (see Note above) – about 2 heaping cups
1/3 lb (150 g) seedless watermelon chunks (regular…not frozen) – about 1 heaping cup
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
5-10 mint leaves, torn in small pieces
1/2 tablespoon honey (depending on watermelon sweetness, may need to add more)
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine. Depending on quality of blender (mine isn’t the best), you may need to alternate pulsing the blender with giving the ingredients a good stir with the handle of a long spoon to ensure everything gets blended properly.