There are some things I love about summer. The fresh produce, spending time outside, grilling almost all our meals – those are the things that I love. Of course sometimes I get a little carried away. I’ll buy a dozen mangoes and realize we can’t eat quite that many. Or I’ll buy out the avocado section because they’re really good and cheap, but then I need to do something with all of them. Or I’ll buy a huge watermelon that we can’t eat fast enough.
Fortunately, there’s always a solution. I’ll make my mango custard. Or I’ll freeze the sliced avocado (yes, it works – or I’ll make guac and freeze that, which actually works better). And for watermelon? That’s easy. I make watermelon granita.
What? You’ve never had it? It’s super easy, it’s just about completely allergen free, and it tastes amazing on a hot day. It’s sweet and crunchy and frozen. I’ve posted before about my mojito granita, but watermelon is pretty awesome, too.
10 pound watermelon (or so), flesh only and cubed-ish
1/2 t salt
1/2 c water*
1/2 c sugar*
*Taste your watermelon before you start. If it’s bland, you may need more of the simple syrup you’ll make. My watermelon this time was blah, so I ended up doubling the sugar content. Usually this is plenty.
Make a simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for two to three minutes, then remove it from the heat. The sugar will be completely dissolved in the water, so nothing will be crunchy when you eat it. Super simple, right?
While you’re making the simple syrup, cut up your watermelon so you have chunks of the pink flesh. Place them in a blender and liquefy them. If there are any seeds, make sure you remove them first. Pour the watermelon – made in batches, depending on the size of your blender – into a metal 13×9 pan (because it conducts the cold better, trust me).
Pour your simple syrup (which is fine cooled and actually better that way) into the pan with the watermelon, along with the salt. Zest the limes into the watermelon mixture, and then juice them into it. Try one lime juiced first and do a taste test after you’ve gently stirred the mixture. If it needs more sugar at this point, make some more simple syrup. If it needs the second lime (mine usually does), add it.
The next part is the hardest of the whole thing. Get the pan into your freezer without spilling anything. And yes, I have succeeded at this before. Let it freeze for a half hour or so. Pull it from the freezer, and you’ll see where it’s started to freeze at the top and around the edges. Use a fork to scrape across the frozen parts to separate the ice crystals. Place it in the freezer, and continue doing this until the granita is completely frozen and it is made up of little bits of icy chunks. If you’re anything like me, set a timer so you remember to scrape it each time. If you forget, you can melt it and start over – not that I’ve ever had to do this before – and it’s just fine.
Once it’s ready, place all of it in a sealed container and serve frozen. It will stay good for a couple weeks, but it’s so good and so healthy, it will never last that long, right?