Today seemed like a good day to make something in the kitchen - I'm going to head down to the studio in just a bit and start working on some ideas that have been floating around in my head, I've done my yoga, walked the dogs, and the house is somewhat straight. To start off my 'making' session with a big glass of watermelon lemonade seemed perfect.
A couple of weeks ago, during a sweltering trip to Fresno, I tried Bolthouse's seasonal special offering, watermelon mint lemonade, and it was so delicious (but also $5 a quart) I went looking for a recipe to make my own. Watermelon is in season, mint is everywhere, and lemons, well, even lemons aren't bad if you get them at Trader Joe's or Costco. I used this recipe here, but there are others online and I'm sure they are all pretty much the same. You'll need at least 10 lemons to juice, a med-large watermelon, a bunch of mint and maybe some sugar to make a simple syrup.
Begin by juicing the lemons (you'll need about a cup of lemon juice), and blending up the watermelon (in batches - it took me 4 batches in my blender to liquify 1/2 a largish watermelon). Strain the blended watermelon using a sieve - my sieve was too small so I ended up using a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth.
I sort of had to work to get the juice through the cheesecloth - you'll find there's quite a bit of watermelon flesh that you have to squish. I used a wooden spoon and let it drain while I worked on chunking up the next batch of watermelon into the blender. And towards the end I got a little more physical with it; picking up the cheesecloth and twisting it to press the juice out. I may have ended up with a little thicker lemonade than you will if you are more patient, or use a finer sieve.
After you get all the melon liquified and strained, add it in batches back into the blender (I was able to do this part in just two batches) with the appropriate amount of lemon juice and mint. I used 4 1/2 cups of melon juice, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of mint leaves.
Blend it up and pour it into a big pitcher - this is going to make a good 10 cups of lemonade.
I had made up a simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water and heated until the sugar dissolved) with some fresh chopped mint, but ended up not needing it at all - the lemonade is plenty sweet if your watermelon is a good one. I ended up straining the mint simple syrup and will use it for lemon drops or some other tasty cocktail later.
The end product is so refreshing and so delicious you won't be able to stop drinking it. You may find you have to stir it once in awhile if you end up with thick lemonade like mine, but that is a small inconvenience and it still goes down really easy.
Happy summer! Now, off to the studio!