One of my favorite, favorite memories about my time living with my Costa Rican host family years ago was waking up each morning to the sound of my host mom blending up freshly made refrescos. Basically she would puree whatever fruit was onhand that day – from mangoes, to pineapples, to bananas, to papayas, to lemon/lime, etc. – and mix them with water (or occasionally milk) to make the family fresh juice. Mmmm. Now I might not have been the most enthusiastic fan eating black beans and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, but this was a custom I could get used to!! :)
Thus, when I found myself with a fabulous surplus of watermelon this week (what girl can pass up a sale on enormous, whole, ripe watermelon for $2.50 each??), thought it would be fun to revisit the tradition and mix the melon with some tart lemons to create a pitcher of juice for the day! Now, fun? It most definitely was. Last the entire day? Mmmmm…pretty sure it hardly made it through this photo shoot! Wonderfully irresistible. :)
So if you happen upon a great watermelon this week (or if even if you have some you need to use up that’s slightly overly- or under-ripe!), pull out your blender or food processor and join in the juicing fun Costa Rican-style! :) Pura vida!
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh watermelon puree, strained through a coarse strainer to remove seeds
- 1/2 cup simple syrup (created by boiling 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar together until sugar is dissolved)
- 2 cups cold water
Stir everything together, and serve over ice. Feel free to garnish with lemon or watermelon slices, and/or mint! (Makes enough to fill one pitcher.)
- Sugar free: Any number of artificial sweeteners would work well here. (And many do not need to be boiled to dissolve, so you could just add them in directly.)
- Herbal: For an extra kick, add a sprig of fresh rosemary or mint leaves into the water as you boil the simple syrup.
- Bubbly: Substitute setlzer or sparkling water (or champagne!) for some extra fizz!
- Mixed: Substitute some vodka or other mixer of choice to kick it up a notch!
- Frozen: I imagine this would be fantastic as a slush! Or, it freezes nicely into sweet little popsickles or ice cubes. :)
If you’re a fan of less pulp in your drinks, you could also definitely use a fine-mesh strainer to make it slightly thinner. The beauty is that watermelon is 90% water, though. So the juice yield with this fruit is going to be fantastic either way!!