Writing about watermelon at this time of year feels a little like wearing white pants after Labor Day. I know our picnic days may have ended for the summer but melons are still plentiful at the farmers market. The Northwest doesn’t seem to give a hoot about fashion so I say feel free to wear your white pants and eat watermelon as long as you want but maybe not at the same time. It’s practically impossible to fully enjoy all the sweet juiciness that a ripe melon has to offer and not get a drip or two on your pretty white pants.
If you want a more civilized way to eat melon than spitting out the seeds while letting the juice drip down your chin, try it in an addictive salad with cucumbers, lime juice and feta cheese. Get all the messiness out of the way first by cutting the melon in chunks and removing the seeds with a sink nearby. While you’re at it, peel some of those incredible Japanese cucumbers from Mair Taki Farm — so sweet you won’t mind paying $6 a lb. Add chunks of cukes, feta cheese and chopped parsley. Squeeze a bunch of lime juice all over the top right before you eat. I love salt on melon so I add salt and some jalapeno pepper would be an excellent addition as well.
Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
4 cups seeded watermelon cut into bite-sized chunks
3 smallish cucumbers, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped parsley
Juice of 2 or 3 limes
Put watermelon, cukes, feta cheese & parsley in a large bowl.
Add lime juice and stir very gently. Salt to taste.
At our house, we couldn’t let the season go by without trying this year’s watermelon in a seasonal cocktail. I’m sure there are many ways we could have refined this drink — blending the melon and straining the juice for a clearer drink, for example. Instead we went for a down-and-dirty version that can be easily concocted using a shaker and hand blender.
Vodka Watermelon Agua Fresca (for 2 drinks)
1 cup seeded watermelon cut into chunks (make sure to remove every seed, they’ll make the drink bitter)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
4 oz vodka
Splash of tonic water
Blend the watermelon with vodka using a blender or immersion blender.
Fill shaker with lots of ice and pour in blended watermelon vodka mixture.
Add lemon and lime juices and shake.
Pour into ice-filled glasses, top off with a splash of tonic and stir gently.
Garnish with a chunk of watermelon or slice of lime or both.
Let watermelon help you drink in every last little bit of sunshine this season has to offer.