Watermelon Juice and a Toast to Rio

The Author 2 cc

They were everywhere when I worked at the 2002 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I suspect they are also keeping athletes and their families company during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In 2002, I was the media advisor to the US Delegation to the United Nations’ conference, the first time all countries in the world had come together to try to agree on how to deal with our rapidly changing climate and related issues. It was a highly politically-charged environment. Soldiers lined the sidewalks to our hotel and conference center and at one point I was wearing 18 access identification badges.

During our time off, a few of us visited some of the nearby fresh markets, especially on the weekend, and ran into vendors with carts loaded with watermelons. They would cut them up, juice, add ice and hand over a cold glass of summer.

I grew up some 180 kilometers north of Rio, on an island literally off the Atlantic Coast. I have very fond memories of monkeys in our backyard, now extinct; chasing lobsters at the beach across the street, and teaching parrots to sing. Don’t be too impressed, it would have helped if I could have carried a tune myself.

Amidst those wonderful recollections are not ones of a love affair with watermelon juice. Not that it should be any surprise someone came up with a way to profit from this special treat, who hasn’t had to change clothes after eating an especially-delicious piece of juicy watermelon?

I make my own juice but thought I would double-check recipes online in case I was missing some secret ingredient. Here’s the recipe I found on a Brazilian site:

How to extract Watermelon Juice:

*Cut the watermelon into wedges and remove the flesh from the green skin.

*Cut it into small pieces, removing as many seeds as you can or better yet, buy a seedless watermelon to start.

*Put the watermelon chunks in the refrigerator until they are very cold.

*Blend the watermelon chunks to a liquid.

*You can either add sugar or honey to make it sweeter.

*Pass the juice through a not fine sieve into a pitcher.

*Add ice cubes and serve immediately.

Charlotte’s Way of Making Watermelon Juice (you didn’t think I would follow a recipe, did you??)

*Pick out a nicely-ripe seedless watermelon and place in refrigerator to cool.

*Cut in half. Using a melon baller, remove the inside of the watermelon and place balls in container.

*Pour watermelon juice out of container through a strainer.

*Drink. That usually generates at least two, 8 ounce glasses of watermelon juice.

*To make more, blend watermelon balls in a blender. Pour through sieve.

*Add ice. Serve immediately.

*If you want to experiment, add a little ginger, a sprig of spearmint or a splash of lime to a serving.

*If you decide to store for later use, know the juice separates so you will need to mix together again before serving.

Muito bom! (That’s Portuguese for very good.)


Charlotte Ekker Wiggins (charlotteekkerwiggins.com) is a certified gardener (gardeningcharlotte.com), beekeeper and sometimes cook. Copyright 2016 used with permission, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at chargardens@gmail.com.

GTD Tools of the trade 2 cc

TOOLS OF THE TRADE – A melon baller helps make quick work of taking a watermelon apart so you can easily make watermelon juice. It helps to have a small sieve to remove any leftover watermelon chunks and seeds.

GTD Have A Ball 2 cc

HAVE A BALL  – OK, so you don’t need to make watermelon balls for this juice but it’s so practical. You have to cut up watermelons into chunks to blend anyway. By having watermelon in balls, you will also have a quick desert or refreshing midday treat. If you decide to make a juice serving, you’re also ready to go. (Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins).