Summer is the time for peaches, figs, and watermelon, ridiculous amounts of watermelon. The farmers' market here in Nacogdoches is filled with pickup trucks that are covered in beautiful watermelons. This past Saturday I noticed that one of the vendors had opened one of the melons to display how beautifully delicious it was. It reminded me of watermelon season in Albania. Since there is a large number of vendors, competition for sales is tight, although if all Albanian families are like mine, business is good.
My father would always come home with a melon from the market, among the other bags filled with veggies and fruit. It was always good because in order to insure its quality prior to purchase, the farmers would cut a wedge that would pierce through to what my dad would call the heart of the watermelon, the very center, the sweetest spot, and, consequentially, the part for which me and my sisters would fight over. Usually, my sister Ilda (the second child) would win, but that's another story.
The Nacogdoches farmers' market is very modest, but it is filled with lovely people offering beautiful produce, and these past two Saturdays there has been live music as well. There are also the tadpoles, which are the only reason Jack goes with me, but last time we went he also seemed particularly interested in the summer squash. He has yet to eat it though.
I came home with a large watermelon. I opened it. Does anyone know of a better aroma than a freshly cut watermelon? I breathed deeply, closed my eyes: "Mmmmmmm..." Many memories of hot afternoons rushed in my head whooshed by the watermelon scent. Some kind of wind. This happens every time: cut, break, breathe, mmmmm.
I ate as much as I could and I am happy to say that Jack likes watermelon as well. Yay! Since I could not finish it all on my own I made a sorbet. It is just as refreshing as the watermelon itself and a perfect snack for hot Texas afternoons.
Watermelon and Mint Sorbet
My watermelon was really sweet so I cut the sugar by 1/4 cup. I used rum, but any other liquor like it would work here. You can also substitute lime for the lemon.
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
1 bunch of mint leaves (about 1 cup)
zest and juice of one lemon
4 1/4 cups of 1 inch watermelon cubes (de-seeded)
1 tablespoon of dark rum
-Place in a medium saucepan the sugar and water. Set over medium high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
-Place the mint leaves in the saucepan, stir into the syrup, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
-Strain the mint syrup and set it aside. Let cool completely.
-Puree the watermelon in a food processor along with the cooled mint syrup, lemon juice and zest, and the rum.
-Strain the watermelon mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until completely chilled.
-Place the watermelon mixture in the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions (mine took about 35 minutes).
-Put the sorbet into a freezer container and let it freeze until firm.