A selection of watermelon treats.

It’s watermelon time again and the great green orbs are piled up in containers where we enter our supermarkets as they take up a lot of space.

I’ve never been a watermelon lover. I’ve always found them like solid water with big seeds in.

But now there is a new type, with a lot more juicy flavour and tiny edible pips in them.

It’s amazing just how many recipes there are for using watermelons and I spent all yesterday trying some of them out, plus creating one of my own!

Agua Fresca, covered with a shower cap.

AGUA FRESCA

This is a recipe from Mexico where it’s sold everywhere.

Agua Fresca means Fresh Water.

4 cups of watermelon, chopped.

It used about half of my large watermelon.

½ cup lime juice.

About 6 mint leaves.

½ cup sugar.

Approx ½ cup water.

Blitz all the ingredients in a blender, then taste.

Add more sugar and water if needed.

Pour over ice cubes, and serve.

You can make this recipe with cucumbers, strawberries, or anything else that you fancy.

The next two recipes are made with watermelon peel.

To do this, cut off the watermelon, then use a sharp knife to slice off the thin outer green peel, and work with the inner peel, with a layer of watermelon on it. It’s quite simple to do, but easier if you cut the watermelon into slices.

Candied watermelon rind

CANDIED WATERMELON RIND

If you don’t make anything else, you must try this one. It’s absolutely delicious!

You can choose the best-shaped ones and put them in a nice box lined with greaseproof paper and give it as an unusual gift – that is, if you can force yourself to leave any without eating them all!

Candying fruit or peel can be a long task, taking days. But this method only takes a few hours.

About 1lb (1/2kg) watermelon peel, sliced into squares, although the ends will be triangles.

Don’t worry about the exact weight as if it weighs a bit more, it will all mix in.

 

1lb (1/2kg) sugar.

12 fl oz (175 ml) cold water.

Put the peel in a pan, just cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil again and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain again.

Place the cooked peel in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 24 hours, or overnight.

Drain the peel.

Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the peel, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2-3 hours, or until the peel is translucent and most of the syrup has been absorbed.

Now you have two choices of what to do next.

You can spoon the peel into clean jars and cover with the syrup.

I raised the heat and gently boiled it until the syrup had started to crystallise.

You have to be very careful now, and stir the pan constantly to stop the syrup sticking.

It was ready in 50 minutes.

When it’s all gone solid, spoon the peel onto a foil-covered dish, or on racks.

Spread out the pieces and leave to cool and dry out.

My recipe says you should place them in an oven on a very low heat, with the door open, for 10-12 hours, then sprinkle them with caster sugar. But mine were ready when they had cooled. And they didn’t need caster sugar as they were coated in the crystallised syrup.

PICKLED WATERMELON RIND

All measurements are approximate as they don’t really need to be accurate.

You can taste and add.

1lb (500g) watermelon rind.

4 tblsp salt

2lb (1 kg) sugar

1 pt (7ml) water

1 1/4 (750 ml) white wine vinegar. I used cider vinegar.

Small piece fresh ginger

1 tblsp allspice

1 tblsp cloves

2-3 strips orange or lemon peel. (I didn’t bother.)

Slice the watermelon rind into roughly 1 in cubes & place in a large bowl with the salt. Add enough water to cover & stir well until the salt has dissolved.

Cover with a cloth & leave to stand overnight.

The next day, drain the rind. Put in a pan & cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat & simmer for 15 minutes. Drain well.

Put the other ingredients in the rinsed out pan. Bring to the boil & cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take out the spices. Add the rind & return to the boil, then reduce the heat & simmer on a medium heat for 45-60 minutes, until the rind is translucent.

Pack the mixture into clean jars & seal. The pickle will be ready to eat in about a month, although I found it delicious the next day!

My pickled syrup went quite thick & it’s rather sweet, but tasty.

 

Watermelon teabread in tin

WATERMELON TEABREAD.

This is my original recipe and a great success.

Like all teabreads, the flavour improves daily for about a week, then it needs to be finished.

10ozs (275g) plain flour, sifted

2tsp bicarb of soda

A barely 1/2tsp salt

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp ground ginger

40zs (115g) margarine

3 eggs

110zs (300g) sugar

About ¼ fresh watermelon. Check it as you don’t want the mixture to be too runny & watery.

Grease a 1lb loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Place all the ingredients in a food mixture or food processor, adding the eggs last.

Blend until smooth. Don’t overmix it!

Pour into the loaf tin & bake for 50-60 minutes, until cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate to cool.

You can eat it with butter on, or just on its own.

Watermelon teabread, sliced

Also read my Showercap Article:

30 Uses for your showercaps