When I saw this recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams I was instantly drawn to it. I live pretty far north of the border and as such watermelons here have usually traveled a great distance. Because of this they can be a little “meh” and less than flavourful. Luckily for me, there are a few adventuresome growers around here that do their best to nurse small and wonderfully sweet watermelons into existence. In fact the tiny size of these watermelons is what helps concentrate the flavours and make them nice and sweet.
So with this recipe in mind I headed to the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market last fall at the crack of dawn in search of the elusive local watermelon. I was in luck and one grower had about a dozen of the melons and so I quickly snatched up 6 little ones and scurried home to hatch my plan.
I quickly cut into them and the ruby red flesh looked and smelled amazing. A quick taste-test confirmed what my other senses told me; these watermelons were going to make some amazing sorbet. Because of how small the melons were I definitely didn’t want to waste any and so I used my hands to carefully dissect the flesh to remove the seeds.
I kept a few of the seeds around to mix into the sorbet and to use as a nice little topping. Somehow the seeds just make the experience of eating the sorbet better and more summery. The flesh then got pureed down to a smooth consistency. Give the watermelon lots of blending when making this so that you don’t end up with little chunks in your sorbet which take away from the smooth consistency you are looking for.
I ended up having enough watermelon to make two batches of this puree. After tasting the first batch I found the sorbet a little tart (but definitely not bad, just a little more tart than I would like), so I made the second batch of lemonade syrup a little less tart by reducing the amount of lemon juice and adding a little water in its place. The result was sublime and was exactly what I was imagining from a watermelon lemonade.
I hope you can find some great local watermelons wherever you are and make this too. The result is definitely worth the effort and it is perfect on a hot summer day while sitting in the sun.
Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet
Based on the recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Makes about 1 quart (2 pints)
2-3 small local watermelons
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth) – if you would like it more tart, use 1/2 cup
1/2 cup sugar (3.5 oz)
1/4 cup light corn syrup (88g/3.1oz)
- Remove the rind from the melon and chop the flesh into 2-inch chunks. Remove the seeds and keep some if you would like to add them to the sorbet or use as a topping.
- Puree the melon in a food processor or blender and measure out 2 1/2 cups. The rest can be reserved for making another batch of sorbet like I did.
- Add water to the lemon juice until you get 1/2 cup. Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves and then remove from the heat.
- Add the lemon syrup to the watermelon puree and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and submerge in an ice bath until cold, about 30 minutes. You can chill the mixture in the fridge as well and the colder it gets the easier it will be to freeze.
- Turn on your ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the canister. Spin until the mixture is soft and lightly frozen (it won’t be hard or stiff).
- Scoop into containers, folding in seeds if you would like, and press a sheet of parchment onto the surface to keep the sorbet from getting icy.
- Freeze at least 4 hours and enjoy!
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