Watermelon Italian Ice
There’s nothing like a cold sweet treat on a hot summer day! This Watermelon Italian Ice recipe is especially cool, because you can easily make it at home (and without an ice cream maker). And it’s pretty sweet that most of the sweetness in this recipe comes from the fruit itself (instead of a bunch of added sugar). Store bought frozen desserts are usually loaded with added sugars, and many contain artificial colors and flavors. One of my kids is really into freeze pops this summer. You remember those? The push-pops that come in a rainbow of colors - basically artificially colored sugar water. He’s 16 so there’s not much I can do about it, other than encourage him to eat some protein and broccoli in between. (I’ll admit I loved them when I was young too, and I turned out ok...)
This recipe is very straight forward. Cube watermelon and freeze (ok, so you need to think a little ahead here, but that’s true of any homemade frozen treat!). Then you just blend the frozen watermelon with a little ice, lime juice, honey and fresh mint. Your mixture doesn’t need to blend completely smooth - it is Italian “ice,” so it’s supposed to have a bit of an icy texture. The beauty of using frozen watermelon is that you can serve the Italian ice right away! But if your blender has a hard time getting through the frozen watermelon, let it sit to defrost just a bit. The mixture will blend into more of a slushy, but you can then transfer it to a container and freeze to harden.
As you’ll see this frozen treat is mostly whole fruit! Make sure to start with a nice ripe watermelon (a seedless variety, unless you’re willing to pick all those little black seeds out as you chop). Even overripe and a little soft is a-ok. Soft is not a great texture when you’re talking about watermelon slices, but it’s just fine for blending!
Feel free to experiment and try this with different varieties of melon too! A nice cantaloupe or honeydew could be delicious. You could even think about swapping out the fresh mint for basil. Have fun playing with the flavors!
Watermelon Italian Ice
1 small seedless watermelon
Juice from 1 small lime
Heaping 1/2 cup crushed ice
2-3 T honey
4-6 fresh mint leaves
Cut watermelon into 1/2-inch cubes (you should have 4 cups). Put cubes in a container or freezer bag and put in freezer until frozen (about 4-6 hours).
Put frozen watermelon, lime juice, crushed ice, 2 tablespoons honey, and 4 mint leaves in a high powered blender. Blend well. Taste, and blend in a touch more honey or a couple more mint leaves if you’d like.
Serve immediately, or transfer to a container, seal well, and store in freezer until ready to use. When ready, take it out of freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before scooping.
Makes 4 servings