Watermelon Juice, a Toast to Rio

Watermelon Juice, an Ode to Rio

They were everywhere when I worked at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I suspect they are also keeping athletes and their families company during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In 1992, I was the media advisor to the US Delegation to the United Nations’ conference, the first time all countries in the world had come together to try to agree on how to deal with our rapidly changing climate and related issues. It was a highly politically-charged environment. Soldiers lined the sidewalks to our hotel and conference center, and at one point I was wearing 18 access identification badges.

 One of my favorite scenes from the Earth Summit in Rio, Amazon Indians seeing computers.

One of my favorite scenes from the Earth Summit in Rio, Amazon Indians seeing computers.

During our time off, a few of us visited some of the nearby fresh markets, especially on the weekend, and ran into vendors with carts loaded with watermelons. They would cut them up, juice, add ice and hand over a cold glass of summer.

I grew up some 180 kilometers north of Rio, on an island literally off the Atlantic Coast. I have very fond memories of monkeys in our backyard. now extinct; chasing lobsters at the beach across the street, and teaching parrots to sing. Don't be too impressed, it would have helped if I could have carried a tune myself.

Amidst those wonderful recollections are not ones of a love affair with watermelon juice. Not that it should be any surprise someone came up with a way to profit from this special treat, who hasn't had to change clothes after eating an especially-delicious piece of juicy watermelon?

I make my own juice but thought I would double-check recipes online in case I was missing some secret ingredient. Here’s the recipe I found on a Brazilian site:

How to Make Watermelon Juice

·       Cut the watermelon into wedges and remove the flesh from the green skin.

·       Cut it into small pieces, removing as many seeds as you can or better yet, buy a seedless watermelon to start.

·       Put the watermelon chunks in the refrigerator until it is very cold.  

·       Blend the watermelon chunks to a liquid.

·       You can either add sugar or honey to make it sweeter.

·       Pass the juice through a not fine sieve into a pitcher.

·       Add ice cubes and serve immediately. 

Charlotte’s Way of Making Watermelon Juice

(you didn’t think I would follow a recipe, did you??)

 One of the ways we used to test watermelons for ripeness was cutting a triangle in the side.

One of the ways we used to test watermelons for ripeness was cutting a triangle in the side.

·       Pick out a nicely-ripe seedless watermelon. Now I do remember how my parents would select a ripe watermelon. The vendor would cut a little triangle in the side so they could check the fruit ripeness. Those days are gone, I'm told farmer's markets rules today don't allow for open fruit.

·        Place in refrigerator to cool.

 Watermelon balls made with a melon baller come in handy as  a quick desert.

Watermelon balls made with a melon baller come in handy as  a quick desert.

       Cut in half. Using a melon baller, remove the inside of the watermelon with a melon baller and place watermelon balls in container. The nice thing about watermelon balls is that they are convenient to easily make watermelon juice. They can also be used for a quick desert or a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Less mess, too!

 Watermelon juicing requires these utensils and a blender if you need more than a couple of cups.

Watermelon juicing requires these utensils and a blender if you need more than a couple of cups.

·       Pour watermelon juice out of container through a strainer. This is important if you really just want the juice without watermelon chunks.

If you've collected most of the juice, there should be enough for a couple 8 ounce cups of juice without dragging out the blender.

 Any available strainer will work to remove chunks of watermelon from the juice.

Any available strainer will work to remove chunks of watermelon from the juice.

·       Drink. Yumm!

 Actually after straining, I added a watermelon ball to my glass. Go figure!

Actually after straining, I added a watermelon ball to my glass. Go figure!

·       To make more, blend watermelon balls in a blender. Pour through sieve.

·       Add ice. Serve immediately.

·       If you want to experiment, add a little ginger, a sprig of spearmint or a splash of lime to a serving.

·       If you decide to store for later use, know the juice separates so you will need to mix together again before serving.

Muito bom! (That's Portuguese for very good.)

Charlotte