Watermelon is the perfect food on those sweltering summer days when it’s just too darn hot to eat anything else. It’s best eaten with cold leftover bbq chicken while dangling your feet in your favorite swimming hole. Or, if you live in San Francisco like me, then you’ll just have to eat it with fork, while sitting on your couch under a blanket because it’s July and its 59 degrees and foggy out. Bummer. Well, at least you have watermelon to brighten your day.
But what do you do when you just have more watermelon than you can eat? Or worse, you forgot about that watermelon that you bought last week and although it’s not spoiled, it’s surely gotten mealy by now. I have three words for you: watermelon agua fresca. All you need is some watermelon, a couple of limes, and a few ounces of coconut water, and a blender.
Here is a quick way to slice watermelon into perfect bite sized chunks. First, Cut the watermelon in half.
Then, working with one half, put the fruit side down on the cutting board and cut the top end off.
With the blade facing down to the cutting board start slicing large segments of the rind at an angle, following the curve of the melon. Keep cutting until you get rid of all the white parts of the rind.
Cut a couple big slices (about 2 inches thick). Let the slices fall down on the cutting board and stack them on top of each other. Cut the slices into square pieces. Super easy!
And now you have beautiful, uniform, chunks of watermelon.
We’re just going to throw this in a blender to make agua fresca, so it really doesn’t matter how beautiful the chunks are. But it was a quick way to cut up a lot of watermelon, and if you have any left over, you can use for a another recipe. Back to the beverage – put your chunks in a blender and blend on high until it is all liquified.
Add coconut water to thin out the consistency. Be sure to buy pure coconut water without the added sugar, you really don’t need it. And please remember we’re talking about coconut water here; the kind you will likely find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store – such as Vita Coco or Zico. Not to be confused with thick coconut milk which typically comes in a can – such as Native Forest or Thai Kitchen. The coconut water won’t add much flavor, which is good because the watermelon is the star of the show here. But it will add a lot of really great electrolytes to help keep you hydrated. Add the coconut water a little at a time, blending between each addition, until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Squeeze in fresh lime juice to taste. Blend once more and then let the juice sit for a a couple of minutes. Skim off the foam on the top, and serve over ice with a lime wedge.
I bet this recipe would be good with a splash of vodka, if you’re in to that sort of thing. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
1/2 large watermelon, or 1 whole small watermelon
Coconut water to taste*
Juice of 1-2 limes
Remove watermelon from rind. Chop into chunks and remove seeds. Fill blender pitcher up about 3/4 full of watermelon. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add coconut water, a little a time, blending between each addition until desired consistency. Add in lime juice and blend one final time. Let sit 5-10 minutes and skim off foam from the top with a spoon. Pour over ice and add a lime wedge to each glass. The agua fresca is best served right away. It will keep in the refrigerator for a day or so. Just note that the watermelon sediment will float to the bottom, so you’ll want to stir it up before you serve it.
*note this is coconut water, which you’ll find refrigerated in the grocery store. It’s thin and clear. Not to be confused with coconut milk, which is white, very thick and usually comes in a can. If you don’t have coconut water you can substitute plain water.
If you have left over watermelon, I recommend this great recipe for watermelon, feta and mint salad by Joy the Baker. It is fabulous. I modified it slightly by adding fresh squeezed lime juice and omitting the sesame seeds. It’s quite pretty and makes a great salad to take with you to your next bbq or picnic.
Or, you can gobble it all up yourself and don’t share with anyone. I won’t tell.