OK – so the devious cornershopkeeper gave you a complimentary glass of watermelon smoothie in a conniving attempt to persuade you to buy a super large Cypriot melon. And because you’re a mug, it worked. And you did. But now you’ve got the thing home it suddenly looks really big. And it won’t go in the fridge. And the dog keeps growling at it. What on earth are you going to do with your melon?
Well to start with, just look at its artistic potential, anthropomorphic and otherwise. Disregarding the appallingly childish attempt by Mrs. Shopkeeper to sketch a likeness of the real Melon Man*, if you look at the shape and markings of your melon you will see that it is a blank canvas for your inner Picasso or Baxter. It’s a bit like seeing pictures in the fire, or shapes in clouds. Again, if you look to the right, the endearingly untalented Mrs. S. has had a stab at illustrating what we mean. Think of the hours of half term fun you could have with your melon and a marker pen…
But if you’re not buying into this silliness (and quite right too), let’s get down to your melon’s edible potential. You could of course just slice it and eat it. You know, as a fruit. Regular like. It’s a no-brainer as watermelon contains practically zero calories, is loved by kiddy-winks and it’s full of anti-oxidants. It is also reputedly good for the old libido. But your fruit has a lot more going for it than that. Here’s our list of favoured culinary uses…
- Smoothies! Just blend watermelon flesh with rose water and chill. Serve over mint and cucumber. Best. Cooler. Ever.
- Granita! Blend your watermelon flesh with orange flower water, sekanjebin (mint sherbert) and a handful of fresh mint. Freeze for about 45 minutes, then whisk with a fork. Repeat several times until the puree is almost frozen. Serve in glasses with a long spoon. A shot of Creme de Menthe or Cointreau adds optional edge ;)
- Watermelon Pizza! (see photo above) Just cut your melon into slices, spread them with labneh (or feta) and za’atar, sprinkle with black olives and fresh basil, and cut them into slices. Makes for an unusual (and slightly messy) canape
- Watermelon Salad! These dudes go perfectly with cheese, so make a salad of feta, olives, chives, cucumber… Dress with mint sauce and olive oil
- Watermelon Salsa! As with the salad, but cut the fruit into tiny dice and mix with chilli, chopped green beans, spring onions and red pepper. Macerate in lime juice, season and serve with just about anything.
- Watermelon Gazpacho! Blend with chilli, ginger and salt and serve as a chilled soup with tiny croutons of cucumber, raw onion, green pepper and fried flat bread (as per our recipe in Persia in Peckham)
- Fried Watermelon! Sprinkle slices of the melon with harissa spice and fry with halloumi (as per our recipe in Snackistan)
- Watermelon Popsicles! As per the granita above, but pour into empty yoghurt tubs or lolly moulds and freeze
- Watermelon Boats! (as per our recipe in Salmagundi) Hollow out half a watermelon, dice the fruit and add mandarin, apple, cucumber, what you will to make a fruit salad. Macerate in the sauce of your choice and spoon back into the empty shell for serving.
There are a few non-food uses for your over-sized purchase too…
- Use the mashed pulp as a rejuvenating (and super-soothing) face mask
- Go all Japanese and smash the thing to smithereens in a jolly caper known as ‘suikawari’
- Keep the skin. Wear the skin. No seriously: since the age of Demosthenes in Ancient Greece men (albeit silly men) have observed what a good helmet watermelon skin would make. And a certain football team in Canada actually does this.
- Buy a pen-knife and get carving. Might take a bit of practise, but this is the sort of thing to which you can aspire
So there you go. You see? One watermelon just won’t be enough. 69p (at the time of wittering) per kilo – in store now.
*a fabled super-hero from the Bronze Ages, credited with thwarting armies of invading tribes trying to capture Sumer in the 4th century BC. Melon Man distracted the maurauders by offering them slices of the delectable fruit, enabling the Sumerians to nip up behind and disarm them.