It’s July. ONLY July. And we’ve had several days of 90-110 degree heat. In Northern Colorado. If you’ve never been to Northern Colorado, let me tell you that it’s not supposed to get that hot here. And up until about 10 years ago it rarely did. But with climate change being a constant through the millennia we are in a hot cycle. (FYI: This is a food blog and will stay on that topic. I will not banter back & forth about “global warming”. Any comments hinging on such will not be approved.) As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t do well in the heat- nor does my family- so I often search for things to help my family stay cool. I’ve seen MANY recipes for watermelon lemonade and they all call for a huge amount of watermelon. I don’t have the space required to keep a massive watermelon. We are living with my inlaws at the moment and have to share fridge and food storage space in a 3 bedroom house. NO room for ginormous watermelons! So I buy the “personal” watermelons- Dulcinea’s. That way we can still enjoy watermelon and have room for other food in the fridge. This being the case, I decided to play with the recipe a bit for watermelon lemonade. I took the recipe for regular lemonade off the side of the Sam’s-sized bottle of ReaLemon and replaced about 2/3 of the water with watermelon juice. It turned out really good! So here you go- something to help make the hot afternoons pass a little smoother.

I started with watermelon I had put in a ziplock bag and stashed in the freezer. I thawed it and put it in the blender thus…

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You will notice that there are lots of seeds, but only the little whiteish ones. The Dulcinea melons I use are “seedless” so I just throw everything in the blender. From what I’ve read you can do this with the regular watermelon as well. From the one small melon I ended up with about 5 1/4 cups of flesh & juice. I put this on puree for about 20 seconds and then  poured the contents into a towel lined bowl…

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I can hear it now: “A TOWEL lined bowl?!” Indeed; a towel lined bowl. I don’t buy cheesecloth. It’s ridiculously expensive for everything but making cheese. When I start making cheese (someday- but not now) I will buy cheesecloth. Instead I use old-fashioned flour sack towels. They are thin enough to strain through, tough enough to take some major wringing, and plenty big for any job. “But don’t they stain?” Yes they do. Do I care? No I don’t. I wash them well and don’t worry about it beyond that. You can use a mesh sieve as well, you’ll just end up with a little more pulp- no big deal at all. Once you have the pulp and juice in the towel, bring the corners together, twist the slack until the juice starts running, and just keep twisting. Go until you’re down to an unsteady dripping, and then put the spent pulp aside. You end up with…

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Almost 4 cups of some of the most beautiful juice there is. Now just add enough water to make 6 1/2 cups, add the lemon juice, the sugar, stir, and enjoy! This makes a super refreshing drink that is perfect for a picnic in the park or just sitting as still as possible so you don’t sweat 🙂 You do need to drink this fairly quickly after it’s made as it does settle into 2 distinct layers and the melon flavor starts to taste a bit funny the next day.

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OH– only 10 more weeks of summer left! We’re almost to single digits- yay!

The Recipe:

5-5 1/2 C Watermelon, cut into chunks

~ 2 1/4 C Water

1 C Lemon Juice (preferably fresh squeezed but the bottled stuff will work. There might be a very slight “skunky” taste.)

1/2-3/4 C Sugar or Honey (it all depends on how sweet your watermelon is)

The Method:

*Puree the watermelon in either a blender or food processor.

*Strain the puree as well as possible.

*Measure the juice- there should be about 4 C. Add enough water to bring the total to 6 1/2 cups.

*Pour that mixture and the sugar (or honey) into a large pitcher (at least a 2 quart) and stir to dissolve the sugar. Serve over ice. To prevent the ice from melting too much you can start with cold ingredients and/or use juice ice cubes (which is exactly what it sounds like: put juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. You could also make watermelon lemonade cubes!).

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