By Raquel Miller
One in a Melon
Alas, summertime is finally upon us! And while the long hot days can become straining and tiring on our poor bodies, at least we have an array of seasonal treats to help us cool down and recover. Cue entrance of the star of our monthly featured recipe: watermelon!
Watermelon is an incredibly delicious and nutritious summer fruit that is truly a blessing to us during these long, hot summer months. There are so many amazing health benefits packed into this punchy powerhouse, it can almost make you lose your rind! *AHEM* Sorry. I had to do it. Let's go over a few of these fruit fun facts before we get digging into our granita recipe.
More for Your Seed Money
You may have already heard about the benefits of watermelon for post-workout recovery, and rest assured, the rumors are 100% true. For starters, this juicy fruit specializes in the production of the gas nitric oxide (NO), which helps the body with vasodilation, or in a much more commonly known term, blood flow. Bodybuilders rave about NO because healthy blood flow is what carries oxygen, anabolic compounds, and recovery nutrients to working muscles. This helps you effectively work out stronger for longer periods of time, and helps shorten recovery. And what's more on the subject of recovery, watermelon is not only known to provide tons of the amino acid l-citrulline, which is believed to aid in diminishing muscle soreness after intense exercise, but it also contains high levels of potassium, an important electrolyte which gets lost when you sweat.
Eat Your Water(Melon)
When it comes to hydration, did you know that we typically get approximately 20% of our daily water intake from the solid foods that we eat? It’s true! And as it turns out, watermelons (as well as other melons and a great number of other fruits and veg) can contain water contents of 90% and higher. Watermelon itself specifically clocks in at 92%! Proper hydration is so incredibly important, which is especially true for those of us doing any type of athletic activity. When you make sure you get enough water, you are not only combating dehydration, but you are also encouraging increased and improved physical performance. Which is what we're out here for, after all, isn't it?!
Easy, Breezy, and Freezy
And, believe it or not, this incredibly easy recipe can be accomplished in just 3 super simple steps! So let’s grab ourselves a melon and head into the kitchen to make this icy, mouth-watering summertime treat.
So, now you may be asking: What exactly is watermelon granita? And how is it different from other types of frozen treats? Well for one, frozen desserts like sorbet, sherbet, ice cream, and gelato are made by ingredients being churned in a machine that freezes everything while lightly folding in air. This continual churning process actually prevents the formation of ice crystals, which our featured treat granita is all about. Granita is a coarse-textured ice confection that originates from Sicily and is enjoyed all throughout Italy in various types of forms. The granita-making process consists of a syrup or puréed fruit and liquid mixture that gets poured into a shallow dish and is then frozen in stages while undergoing a process of periodical scraping. This repetitive scraping-and-freezing method is what forms the desired ice crystals and gives the granita its unique and signature texture of cold, grainy shards.
- 8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 2 tbsp sugar or sugar substitute (or as much to taste)
Remove the rind from a seedless watermelon and cube up enough fruit for a total of 8 cups. If using watermelon with seeds, after removing the rind, cut the watermelon into slices and strips before carefully removing the seeds with the tip of your knife or a spoon. Once each strip is free of seeds, continue cutting into cubes and proceed with the recipe.
Add the watermelon, lime juice, and sugar or sugar substitute into a blender or a food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic 9x13 pan and place it into your freezer for 2 hours, breaking up the ice crystals with a fork every 30 minutes or so until all the liquid has become frozen and the entire mixture has been scraped. The finished watermelon granita drink should be slushy, crunchy, and ready to devour! Garnish with fresh mint leaves and/or a lime twist and serve.
Do you have another summer post-workout recovery drink that works for you?
If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at blog@liftingthedreamblog