Sunday, July 18, 2010

Watermelon Blues

I guess, these days, I'm taking the whatever-is-on-hand approach to sweets in my kitchen. I'd love to say it's because I'm being economical and all that. But, it's because when I see fruit at this time of year, I can't seem to control how much I buy. Then, I'm left with trying to figure out how to use (read: eat) it all before it goes bad.

I bought 4 pints of blueberries from Heath Glen Organic Farm at the Mill City Farmers Market this past Saturday (actually, 5 pints - I ate one whole pint while selling shortbread at my booth). Fresh blueberries are quite the super-food, filled with anti-oxidants and vitamin C, so eating handfuls is good for you. They can also be frozen (freeze them individually by putting them on a pan in a single layer and freezing, then store them in a ziploc) and added to many treats throughout the year: smoothies, crumbles, pies, floating in champagne, you name it. Most of the blueberries were gobbled up by my family, but I had some left over in the fridge this morning. I also had half a seedless watermelon that was on its last legs, um, I mean, rind. So, to push my sorbet obsession-of-the-moment a little further, I decided to make Watermelon Blueberry Sorbet.

Watermelon Blueberry Sorbet
1/2 of a watermelon
1 cup blueberries
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Scrape the red flesh from the watermelon (don't lose any of the juice inside the watermelon) and put into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. You may have to do this in a few batches, since food processors have a low capacity for liquid.

Into a bowl, pour the processed watermelon through a sieve to get rid of any of the white seeds. Add the juice left behind from the scraped watermelon. Waste not; want not, right?

Puree blueberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and lemon juice until smooth and the sugar is well incorporated. Pour into a large measuring cup - I love my 8 cup measuring container.

Pour in enough watermelon juice to make 4 cups of liquid. Taste the mixture for sweetness, remembering that the freezing process mutes the sweetness. Add more sugar, if desired. Chill for at least an hour (or, if you just can't wait, put in the freezer until nice and cold). See my last blog posting (Coconut Lime Ice Cream) on how to process the sorbet in an ice cream maker.

I still have about 3 cups of watermelon juice in my fridge. And, there's a cucumber in there, too. Seems like that might be an interesting, and extremely refreshing, combination. Maybe I'll even throw in a handful of mint or basil. I'll have to see what's in my fridge, just waiting on the edge of despair.

More uses for fruit near the point of extinction in your fridge:

Last week, I had some Rainier cherries, black cap raspberries (culled from my over-grown brambles in the backyard), frozen rhubarb and one nectarine near the end of it's sweet life. So, I made jam. If you have about 1 1/2 pounds of fruit, you have the makings for jam.

Berry Rhubarb Jam
1# Berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.) and/or Cherries
1/3 cup water
1/2# rhubarb, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar

Bring berries and water to a boil. Simmer until very tender. Strain into a bowl through a sieve to remove seeds, then return to pot (rinse pot to remove any leftover seeds). Add rhubarb, and any other non-berry fruit (like a nectarine), and simmer until broken down. Add sugar and cook until thick and bubbly. To test, hold spoon with jam on it at an angle - it shouldn't drip off. Also, taste for sweetness at this point. You can add a little more sugar, if you'd like. For thicker jam, use pectin as directed. Or, add 1/2 a peeled chopped apple (which contains some natural pectin) to the rhubarb berry mixture and cook until it all breaks down. Mash for a smoother jam. I pour the jam into a few small covered bowls and store in the fridge, since I know I'll eat it all within a couple of weeks. And, I haven't learned how to can, yet. That's the next lesson I'll be working on.

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