Beat the Heat with Wonderful Watermelon Cooler

By Resident Chef: Harvey Pincis

 

There I was, next in line at the Sultan Center till wondering just how hot the car was going to be, when the gentleman ahead of me took a quarter of a watermelon from his trolley for the cashier. It looked so refreshing, so cooling. My immediate thoughts turned to a former colleague who made a great watermelon drink and in a flash I was back at the greengrocery section buying watermelon, cucumber and mint. Yes, I had to queue again, but this time with thoughts of being refreshed.

 

Take a quarter of a large watermelon, and cut into smallish chunks deseeding as you go. Take three cucumbers and chop finely after peeling them. Put these pieces in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour with some torn mint. You don’t want to freeze the watermelon and cucumber solid, but just enough that they are a bit frosted. Then put into a food processor and blend with the juice of a lemon and a dash of rosewater or elderflower cordial. Not too much as you don’t want to drown the watermelon flavour that is quite delicate or spoil the clean notes of the cucumber. Also, add a little iced water to help the blending.

 

With one’s jug ready, pout the mixture into a strainer to remove the pulp. Add some ice cubes and dress with some sprigs of mint and you can sit back with a cool and wholesome drink.

 

Mrs. Chef collects the discarded peel (any discarded peel) and pulp. Blends all of that and feeds the birds with the result so nothing is wasted.

 

The discarded watermelon peel need not be thrown away either as the thick rind is in fact the most nutritious part, just peel away the dark green parts and soak the cubed rind overnight in brine. Sea salt is a preferable medium.

After soaking, cook the rinds until tender for about 10 minutes in clean water. Separately, simmer for 10 minutes 250 ml of vinegar, 250 ml water, 200 g of sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, ½ lemon thinly sliced and 4 to 5 garlic cloves.* After separating the solids, simmer the rinds in this mixture for 30 minutes, until the rinds are translucent.

When cool, place a vine leaf in the base of your sterilised jar(s) and fill the pickling jars with the rinds and liquid, topping up with vinegar.

 

*These quantities are based on 1 kg weight of rind. One may scale up or down, depending on how much rind you have.

 

The black watermelon seeds can be roasted and salted, so 100% of the fruit is used!

 

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