It's one of my favorite fruits, right up there with really ripe mangoes, lychees and longans. Because it's the only non-tropical fruit in my top four, it's my fallback for life on the mainland.
But I'm still not sure how to pick them. According to my cousins, their dad always picks perfect melons--the secret being thumping them to hear the right hollow sound. Having never learned his watermelon-whispering ways, I thump away at the grocery store, but my results are definitely mixed.
My best chance of picking a great watermelon is looking for the reddest, ripest shrink-wrapped half in the fruit section.
Recently, I bought 2 watermelons in a row that were bad, from 2 different stores. More unfortunately, they were supposed to be dessert for 2 separate parties (a Chinese-American hostess's worst nightmare).
As I've talked around, at least in Boston, there's a bonanza of bad watermelons going around!
I suspect these melons were frozen in transit because they tasted fine but the texture was awful. All those tiny watermelon bubble cells looked like they had burst, creating a slimy mess. The friend charged with cutting my melon suggested making granita with the ruined carcass.
I looked up a recipe on the internet and voila! Without a huge amount of effort, granita! Serve it in a martini glass like the picture on the left and it's the perfect elegant summer treat.
My first batch was a little too sweet, so make sure you adjust to your taste. As I've served huge amounts of watermelon granita to myriad friends attempting to escape the heat at our pool, most prefer their granitas with a shot of rum--a watermelon daquiri. The rum cuts the sweetness.
When you present your friends with this awesome dessert/drink, you don't have to tell them about the slimy disaster that came before--you can just look like a classy host/hostess, whether or not you're Chinese!
8 cups watermelon
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs. lime juice
1. Blend watermelon, sugar and lime juice together in a blender
2. Freeze in a shallow pan or ice cube trays (but you'd need a ton of ice cube trays)
3. Run hot water over outside of pan so watermelon ice releases. Chop into small squares on a chopping board
4. Blend watermelon ice cubes until it looks like fluffy crystals
5. Serve! (Add a shot of rum if you want watermelon daquiris)
Note: the granita crystals may harden into ice over time--just re-blend them.
2nd Note: 1 ruined watermelon made about 3-4 times the recipe--it's a lot of granita! That's why you need a lot of friends to help finish it!