It’s been hot. Incredibly. STILL SUMMER. 🙂 I bought a watermelon a few days ago, and in my mom’s words, I thought today – “did your eyes get bigger than your tummy?”
Sometimes I go on a spree, remembering all the goofy-wonderful maxims our mom would say.
- “You girls would forget your heads if they weren’t attached!”
- “USE your heads for something besides a hat rack!”
- “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” (oh sh-t!)
Ahh, but the watermelon. It was MASSIVE. Heavens to Murgatroyd! I had given some away to a friend who had me over for dinner the other night, and still …. it filled up half my refrigerator. I had an idea. It was time to take some action.
Feeling my head fully attached, I smiled and brandished my knife.
Then food processor …
You can really experience this beautiful fruits’ essence, pureed and in the sunlight.
And by the way, do you know the history of the watermelon? I loved delving into its’ past. According to Wikipedia …
The watermelon is thought to have originated in southern Africa, where it is found growing wild. It reaches maximum genetic diversity there, with sweet, bland and bitter forms. In the 19th century, Alphonse de Candolle considered the watermelon to be indigenous to tropical Africa.Citrullus colocynthis is often considered to be a wild ancestor of the watermelon and is now found native in north and west Africa. However, it has been suggested on the basis of chloroplast DNA investigations, that the cultivated and wild watermelon diverged independently from a common ancestor, possibly C. ecirrhosus from Namibia.
Evidence of its cultivation in the Nile Valley has been found from the second millennium BC onward. Watermelon seeds have been found at Twelfth Dynasty sites and in the tomb of PharaohTutankhamun. Watermelon is also mentioned in the Bible as a food eaten by the ancient Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt.
In the 7th century, watermelons were being cultivated in India and by the 10th century had reached China, which is today the world’s single largest watermelon producer. Moorish invaders introduced the fruit into Europe and there is evidence of it being cultivated in Córdoba in 961 and also in Seville in 1158. It spread northwards through southern Europe, perhaps limited in its advance by summer temperatures being insufficient for good yields. The fruit had begun appearing in European herbals by 1600, and was widely planted in Europe in the 17th century as a minor garden crop.
European colonists and slaves from Africa introduced the watermelon into the New World. Spanish settlers were growing it in Florida in 1576, and it was being grown in Massachusetts by 1629, and by 1650 was being cultivated in Peru, Brazil and Panama as well as in many British and Dutch colonies. Around the same time, Native Americans were cultivating the crop in the Mississippi valley and Florida. Watermelons were rapidly accepted in Hawaii and other Pacific islands when they were introduced there by explorers such as Captain James Cook.
I thank all the peoples of this world for the watermelon.
And so, a toast.
And a very simple recipe.
Watermelon Jalapeno Slushies and/or Granita
How does it feel – the luscious watermelon + spunky jalapeno? Ooh, the combination is excellent, especially if you have a super ripe, sweet watermelon. The tingly heat of chili pepper is a perfect backdrop. If you’ve acquired a thumpin’, perfectly red watermelon, try it! (Otherwise make a nice fruit salad with peaches, raspberries, plums.) So good as a slushie, served in shot glasses or not; freeze a bit longer and you have a lovely, crystally (sugar-free) granita. I like it best a little bit melted …
- About 8 cups, chopped, seeded, fully ripe, juicy watermelon
- 1 1/2 tbsp. minced red jalapeno, or other favorite chili (or to taste)
Blend watermelon in batches in food processor, or blender. Pour into large metal bowl or other container. Check for unprocessed chunks of melon and stray seeds. Discard the seeds, and reprocess melon chunks (or eat!) Whisk in minced jalapeno. Place in freezer, checking frequently, stirring to blend the solidifying edges into the center. Choose if you’d like slushies, or wait awhile for granita. That’s it! Garnish with a wedge of lime, or even a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
“Down the hatch, as they say in the Navy!” (quoting my mama)
The granita style would be perfect after a rich meal, or with a nice cheese board.
And a fabulous way to stretch out summer.
“It’s good for what ails ya”. I promise.
P.S. Have you got some watermelon left? Try these: