From June until September, we have a stockpile of fresh fruit in our house. If you come into the kitchen, you’ll see huge bowls of washed fruit ready on the counters or in the fridge for a fast, healthy snack: Grapes, grapefruit, bananas, nectarines and especially the spectacular watermelons from my local farmers market.
When I say spectacular, I mean it! Ripe fruits are nature’s candy, and these are so juicy that when you pick up a slice, the juice runs down your arm. And you can eat it this way, but my favorite way to enjoy these treats in the Summer are as popsicles.
I’ve got recipes for both grown-ups and youngins.
These are perfect for all ages. I would start with a very ripe watermelon, which is always sweeter. If you’re unsure of how to select one, ask a trustworthy person at your grocery or farmers market. Farmers market vendors usually pick them close to the time when they are ready to get it all over your face. I do not trust the thump test. Have you ever bought a watermelon home that had the “right” pitch, only to cut open an underripe or mealy melon? My husband trusts his nose. Me? I just go for what feels right, which is an overly heavy melon with plenty of fluid inside. Besides, you don’t need to have the perfect consistency, nor does it need to be seedless. So if the watermelon is bruised, who cares? This baby is going right in the blender, then through a strainer.
A word on sweet: if you wait until your watermelon is ripe, it will be sweet enough so that no sugar is necessary. These are the type of desserts I prefer to give kids.
While it sits on your counter for a few days getting sweet and delicious, you’ve got some popsicle accessories to pick up.
There are tons of fancy popsicle holders in the range of $1 to $40 price range.
You are more than welcome to pay a high price for a product, but I have a propensity for paying the lowest possible. So why not also grab a couple of Dixie Cups, popsicle sticks, plastic wrap and your favorite liquid to do the exact same job?
Or, take a trip to your favorite discount store (California has the ultimate cheapskate paradise: The $0.99 Cent Store) and find a couple of popsicle holders for, you guessed it, $0.99 cents. I picked up two.
Grab a few fresh lemons (mine come from my generous neighbor), some jalapeños, your blender and you are ready to start.
- Juice from half of a watermelon (any leftovers can be served as watermelon lemonade)
- Juice from one whole lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Get the following ready: a medium-sized bowl, a medium to large sized mesh strainer, a wooden spoon, your blender, and finally, the popsicle holders.
- Remove the melon skin and rind. I use a sharp knife to cut one in half, then carefully take watermelon meat out of the skin. Cut them into 1-2 inch pieces. Place them in your blender. You may have to do more than one batch depending on your blender’s size.
- Add the fresh lemon juice and set the blender to medium for about 30 seconds. If you have a high speed blender like a VitaMix or Ninja, it might take less. You’ll know it’s ready because it will be a smooth enough consistency to drink.
- Set the strainer over the bowl, pour and let the juice seep through. The watermelon might strain a little too slowly, so just use a wooden spoon to stir and help the juice get through to the bowl.
- Taste it! If you love it, leave it alone! If you have a sweet tooth or have an unsweet melon, add a touch of honey. Start with a teaspoon, stir and taste again. When it’s to your liking, add the teeniest pinch of salt, and stir.
- Set up your popsicle holders. Pour the liquid in the popsicle containers making sure they’re filled to the top. Place the top handles on and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Note: if the popsicles are stubborn to remove from the holder, just leave them out for a few minutes. Just a few though! You don’t want them melted.
Watermelon Jalapeño Popsicles
Don’t hate! If you’re not a fan of jalapeño, try basil, mint or even a splash of grapefruit juice. If you’re sensitive to heat, just remove the seeds and veins (with gloves!). What I love most about this? The contrast of spice and cool is what I love during Summer.
Follow the instructions for the above recipe, but when adding the liquid to the popsicle holder, drop the jalapeños in one at a time. I added four (or maybe six) into each popsicle. Stir slightly so that they’re evenly distributed.
Freeze for at least one hour. Keep away from your kids, and love these frozen goodies.
You’ll probably be curious to know what to do with the leftover watermelon pulp. So when life gives you pulp, make lemonade!
Do you make watermelon popsicles with some kind of added twist? I’d love to try your recipe!