Whether you’re harvesting straight from the garden or buying fresh produce, there’s nothing like preserving summer’s bounty to enjoy throughout the year. In Drink the Harvest (Storey Publishing, 2014), authors Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest, share techniques and recipes for turning fruits, vegetables and herbs into delicious beverages to drink fresh or preserve for later. This Watermelon-Mint Syrup Recipe from chapter 6, “Creating Garden Syrups,” pairs these two summer favorites for amazing results.
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What a great taste combo! The result is unique and worthwhile, for the watermelon takes some of the sugary sweetness out of all-mint syrup and adds a shade of vegetable-patch summer flavor.
It’s important to skim the foam off the top of this syrup for the clearest product possible.
Watermelon-Mint Syrup Recipe
• 1 whole small watermelon or a 1/2 large watermelon (approximately 8 cups of fruit, enough to produce 4 cups of strained liquid), with rind removed and cut into chunks
• 1/2 cup mint leaves, stripped of stems
• 4 cups sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid
1. Place the watermelon chunks, including seeds, into a food processor. Using the “pulse” setting, process until juice forms, just a few seconds. The seeds will sink to the bottom.
2. Strain 4 cups of the watermelon juice through 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam.
3. Remove from the heat.
4. Add the mint leaves. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
5. Strain the mixture again into a clean saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam.
6. Add the ascorbic acid and stir.
7. Strain the contents yet again into sterilized containers, seal, and label. Watermelon pulp is hard to remove completely, so the extra straining is required for clearer syrup.
This syrup can be used immediately or stored in swing-top bottles for up to a year with ascorbic acid added, or six months without it. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks after opening.
Cook’s Tip: It’s not necessary to use seedless watermelon. If you use the pulse setting on your food processor to liquefy the pulp, the seeds will settle to the bottom and can be easily strained out.
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Excerpted from Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas and Ciders © by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest, photography © by Johnny Autry, used with permission from Storey Publishing.