Watermelons are large.
Maybe that doesn’t rank as the deepest insight anyone’s ever had about food – but hey, I’m new at this whole food blogging thing.
And as much as we like watermelon, getting through a whole one before it starts to get a little dry-looking and unappealing is more than the two of us can do. Of course, throwing it away is not an option – nor is feeding it to the worms. It’s human food.
So, after we’d had our fill of watermelon last week, I decided to make some watermelon-yuzu juice. A bit of that ended up in cocktails; and the rest, as granita.
In case you’ve never tried it, yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. It is distinctive, aromatic, and adds a bright note to everything it touches – and in Japan, it touches a lot:
- Yuzu kosho, a paste made with ground chilies and yuzu zest (this stuff rocks),
- Ponzu shoyu, a soy and citrus sauce,
- Yuzu tea, a tea made from yuzu zest and honey,
- Alcoholic drinks like yuzu sours and yuzu chuhai,
- Yuzu vinegar… and lots more.
It’s one of the flavors that we miss most from Japan, hence the little yuzu tree on the balcony (the source of the yuzu juice in this recipe) – and, I can’t recommend the ingredient enough. Just one tablespoon of yuzu juice completely changed the flavor of the cocktails and the granita, giving them a refreshing acidity and a little taste of Japan.
Watermelon-yuzu cocktail and granita
- 8 cups watermelon, seeds and all, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed yuzu juice (can substitute with lime juice)
- 2 tsp sugar (or to taste) — optional
- 1 oz whiskey — totally optional
- Put all the ingredients in a blender, and blend at the highest setting for a minute or two.
- Some people pour the juice through a sieve to remove the pulp. Don’t do that. The pulp gives the juice a rich mouthfeel.
- Pour yourself a glass, and add a jigger of whiskey if you are so inclined.
- Place the remainder of the juice in a the largest baking dish you have that will fit in your freezer. The bigger the pan, the less time the granita will take to prepare.
- Every 30 minutes or so, take the baking dish out of the freezer and use a fork to scrape the edges and break up the crystals.
- When all the liquid is frozen, break it up with a fork one more time, cover the baking dish, and put it back in the freezer. Note getting to this point can take up to 4 or 5 hours, depending on the size of the baking dish.
The watermelon that was threatening to go bad will now keep for several weeks, and makes a light, refreshing dessert.
Love it! A cocktail in the freezer…great use of extra watermelon. I will definitely have to try this, sans yuzu juice, though. It’ll have to be lime here in Texas. We like to grow our own melons.
Thanks … and if you don’t like the granita, you can always thaw it and make a stiff drink.
J-F … hey, I just like to say yuzu! What a great idea to do with the watermelon. Going to hit some Asian markets here and see if I can snag some yuzu for the granita and cocktail. C2F
If you can’t find fresh, you can sometimes find it in a bottle. Let me know how it goes (love the C2F by the way).
That sounds really delicious – now all I have to do is track down some yuzu!
Incidentally, the freezing trick is a great thing to do with various fruits; in particular I love frozen grapes which is something I do when grapes are on special offer and I buy two punnets.
Yeah, it’s hard to find outside Japan. As our little tree doesn’t produce much, we’re lucky to have a few authentic Japanese supermarkets in the area.
Must say, I never thought to freeze a grape. Great idea.
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Hello from Japan! How are you doing? I love reading your blog and always love your
Anyway my frozen fruit story >> Sometimes I wait too long for my bananas to get that perfect balance of yellow and brown, so I freeze peeled bananas and then use it later for milkshakes! No need to add ice-cream or sugar to make it slushy or sweet:)
BTW, it’s Feb 22 (222) today.
Hi Mami, it’s great to hear from you again! Love the banana idea. I always buy them in small quantities and wait for that perfect balance, but your approach makes more sense (I tend to use my bananas in tonyu shakes anyway). And the worms in the composite heap far prefer banana peels to ice cream containers. Of course if you want to waste even less food you can always eat the peels yourself (it seems some people do), but I’m not ready to go there. I wonder if there are other possible fates for peels.