You can freeze melons as melon balls and they will taste pretty good, but melon rind pickles are about the only other way to preserve them. Melons are nearly always served in fresh form. A mixed melon salad with cut-up chunks or balls of one or more fruits is about the easiest dishes around. A fruit smoothie is also easy. Play with various herbs to add an interesting touch. Peppermint or mints in general are a classic combination with melons of all kinds, but less common combinations such as tomatoes, peppers, red onion and spices may also appeal.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
- 2 quarts watermelon rind
- 3/4 cup sea salt
- 3 quarts purified water
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups purified water
- 1 Tbsp. whole cloves (about 48)
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 6 cinnamon sticks broken into 1-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
Trim the pink flesh and the green outer skin from the rind. Cut rind into small strips, about 1″ x 2″. Cover with brine made by combining 3 quarts filtered water and 3/4 cup sea salt. Refrigerate overnight. Drain and rinse in the morning. Cover the watermelon with water and bring to a boil; continue cooking until just fork-tender, about another 15 minutes. (Pay attention – overcooking will cause the rinds to become rubbery.) Drain. Combine sugar, vinegar, 3 cups water and spices in a separate pan. Boil 5 minutes and then pour over watermelon. Refrigerate overnight. Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling; reduce heat to medium and simmer for one hour to reduce a bit. Pack the hot watermelon pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars. Cover with boiling syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal lids. Without sealing, these pickles will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator. To can and seal, submerge the hot, full jars in boiling water (enough water so the jars are 1-2″ below the surface); boil for 15 minutes (or slightly longer at higher altitudes).
Watermelon Rind Pie
- 2 cups watermelon rind, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- pie pastry for 2-crust pie, homemade or purchased
Place watermelon rind in a small saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 2 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Combine watermelon rind with sugar, flour cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, vinegar, raisins, and pecans; stir to combine then set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fit 1 pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Pour watermelon rind mixture into the pie crust. Top with remaining pie crust; fold edges under, trim excess dough and save. Crimp all around the edge. Cut small slits or holes in the top crust. Using excess dough, form small “watermelon seeds” and place all around pie for decoration. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden, shielding edges of pie with strips of aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool watermelon pie on a wire rack. Serve.
Watermelon Ice Cream
- 4 cups diced seedless watermelon
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 dash salt
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
Combine the watermelon, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerator for 30 minutes. Blend the mixture in a blender until smooth; return to the bowl. Pour the cold water into a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water; let stand 1 minutes. Place the saucepan over low heat; cook for 2 minutes. Stir the gelatin mixture into the blended watermelon mixture. Add the heavy cream; beat with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until the mixture is fluffy. Transfer the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until it reaches “soft-serve” consistency. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Melon Salsa (from Sunset Magazine)
- Charentais has orange flesh, but you can use any orange- or green-fleshed melon for this salsa – just not watermelon, because its flesh is too fragile and watery. This salsa is great with grilled chicken or pork.
- 2 cups diced orange-fleshed melon, such as Charentais (1/4- to 1/2-in. cubes)
- 1 cup diced cucumber (1/4- to 1/2-in. cubes)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion1 serrano chile, stemmed, halved, and sliced
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Covered and chill for up to one day.
- 2 cups seeded and coarsely chopped watermelon
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons seeded, chopped Anaheim chile
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
Very gently mix together the watermelon, onion and chile pepper. Season with balsamic vinegar and garlic salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to blend flavors.
- 2 cups diced honeydew melon
- 1 English (seedless) cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Blend honeydew melon, cucumber, onion, avocado, jalapeno pepper, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, lime juice, salt, and black pepper in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings if desired and chill before serving.
- ½ cup watermelon juice
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons very mild-flavored olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Stir all ingredients together. Pour enough sauce over vegetables, chicken, pork, fish or shellfish to marinate. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Baste with additional sauce while grilling or broiling. Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats.