Watermelon speaks to me of long hot summer days . . . a stillness in the air . . . the drone of a tractor in the far distance . . . sweet juice dribbling down my chin.
Well, we’re almost there. We’ve had a few warmish days. The thermometer got up to 20°C. We’ve gone without sweaters a few times. And the flowers are gloriously blooming, the lilacs perfuming the air and the daffodils still bouncing cheerily.
Alas, today it’s raining (actually – hooray – because my garden needs it). But on the weekend we were able to sit in the sun on our deck, with friends, and enjoy these refreshing, cooling watermelon ices. The sun really was hot there, sheltered from the slightly chilly breezes, so we could pretend we were in the heydays of summer. The best part was the lazily sitting and chatting, enjoying the time together and sharing a meal.
These watermelon ices were a light and refreshing finish to a summer-out-on-the-deck kind of lunch. The simple recipe only uses 3 ingredients and an ice-cream maker. I made them about four hours ahead so they were just perfect for serving, soft and slushy and cold. If you make them the day ahead, they freeze firmer and are more like a granular ice – also good – you can take them from the freezer 15 minutes before you scoop them to make them a little softer. Since I made the batch on Sunday, I’ve been on a roll and made two more batches – so delicious and handy to have in the freezer.
To the last batch I added a hit of tequila, and the whole flavour was transformed.
Yum. Adult ices.
All ingredients come from Mexico – watermelon, lime, agave and tequila – so they go well together. I can’t decide which ones I like more. The plain ones are so refreshing and fruity, like eating watermelon, but much more fun. The tequila ones are just plain wicked. Good thing I have both in the freezer right now.
All I need is a spoon.
Kitchen Frau Note: You can also just make the regular batch of watermelon-lime ice, leave some for eating, and scoop a few spoonfuls into a tall glass, glug on a shot of tequila and top up the glass with club soda or Sprite. Instant watermelon-lime-tequila fizz. Now you have the best of both worlds.
I use a 2 quart Cuisinart ice-cream maker, and this amount makes just enough to fill the freezing container full.
- 3 lbs (1.4kg) sweet ripe watermelon chunks (rind and seeds removed) – about ¼ of a large watermelon, or approximately 8 cups chunks
- ½ cup (120ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup (120ml) agave nectar
Place half the watermelon chunks into a blender and liquefy, then add the rest and blend again (or do it in two batches if your blender is small). You should have about 6 cups juice. Add the lime juice and agave nectar. Blend a few more seconds. Chill. (But if you’re pressed for time it works without chilling first, too – it just doesn’t freeze quite as firm in the ice-cream maker and needs longer freezer-chilling time after).
Pour into a 2 quart (2l) ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for 4 or 5 hours before serving, stirring the slush once or twice during the freezing time.
Kitchen Frau Note #2: The amount of tequila in the following variation on the Watermelon-Lime Ice is quite minimal – more for the flavour it imparts than the alcoholic kick. You could up the amount, if that’s what you’re going for, or if tequila is not your thing – try vodka.
Add ¼ cup (60ml) tequila to the mixture when you add the lime juice and agave nectar.
Pretend you are on the beach.