Ginger Pickled Watermelon Rind

Don’t leave behind that watermelon rind!

Watermelons are a low water footprint fruit, using around 50 gallons of water to grow per pound. But a lot of that weight is in the watermelon rind. So, here’s a drought friendly, delicious recipe that will use the rind and extend your summer by months!

watermelon2

Pre-Pickling!

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

Yield: 10 cups

 

1 8-pound watermelon

1½ cups distilled white vinegar

4½ cups water

¾ cup granulated sugar

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds (1/2 cup)

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

½ Serrano pepper

3 whole cloves

5 green cardamom pods, crushed

½ vanilla bean, sliced open and seeds scraped with back of a knife

1 tablespoon kosher salt

10 whole black peppercorns

 

Cut watermelon in half and scoop out watermelon (yum!) leaving approximately ¼ to ½-inch of flesh on the rind.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the green outer layer of the watermelon.

Cut watermelon rind into 1-inch pieces. You should have approximately 10 cups.

Place all ingredients (except diced watermelon rind) in a large pot and heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted.

Add watermelon rind, stir and remove from heat.

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Once cooled to room temperature, transfer to a bowl and place a plate or an inverted saucepan lid over watermelon to submerge the pieces in the liquid.

For maximum flavor, refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.

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Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.

Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.

In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.

And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.

spicy mango popsicle

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp

 

Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup with Candied Pecans

Here’s another Thanksgiving dish idea using sweet potatoes and carrots. A delicious sweet and spicy (from ginger and cayenne) soup topped with my candied spiced pecans. Great vegetarian recipe that is easy to make and easy when it comes to cleaning up as it is all prepared in one pot. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup with Candied Pecans

Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup with Candied Pecans

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

7 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (3½ cups)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly (3 cups)

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped roughly (2 cups)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon honey, preferably orange blossom

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Candied Spiced Pecans (recipe below), for serving

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped roughly, for serving

Combine the carrots, sweet potatoes, apple, and stock in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until both the sweet potatoes fall apart and the carrots are soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the heat.

Blend the mixture to a smooth texture carefully with an immersion blender.

Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, honey, lemon juice and olive oil to the saucepan and continue to blend. Season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt and pepper; add more cayenne pepper for heat and more cinnamon for sweetness.

Serve in soup bowls topped with candied spiced pecans and chopped parsley.

Candied Spiced Pecans
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1¼ cups pecan halves

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt, and a few good grinds of pepper in a small bowl.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute or until hot.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and the nuts, and cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to cook evenly.

Working quickly, add the spice mix to the sauté pan and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring once every five seconds.

Add the maple syrup very carefully, as it will bubble up, stirring to coat. Allow to cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the nuts, and if they begin to smoke, turn down the heat a little and stir more often.

Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Working quickly, using two forks, separate the individual nuts, then allow to cool completely. Seriously. They’re going to be hot.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

A perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, treat for kids, or a big snack. Take your pick! Oh, and did I also mention very easy to make?

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

 

Add the carrots, butter, ginger, maple syrup, salt, a few healthy grinds of pepper and the water in a medium-sized sauté pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened slightly (like a glaze) and almost completely evaporated. The carrots will be just cooked through in 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Ginger Juice

There are still delicious ripe watermelons on offer, so let’s juice them up with some mint and ginger. Mmmmm. A perfect end of summer refreshing drink.

 

Watermelon Ginger Juice

Watermelon Ginger Juice

Yield: 2 cups

 

2 ½ cups watermelon flesh

20 mint leaves (stems on)

½-inch by ½-inch knob of fresh ginger

2 drops vanilla extract

 

Place mint leaves followed by the ginger and watermelon in a juicer and process. Stir in the two drops of vanilla extract. Drink up!

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pops

After using 1 cup of watermelon for the ice pops, grab a spoon and eat watermelon until you consume it all. Yup. This pretty much sums up my summer so far!

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

1 cup watermelon, deseeded

1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

USA just advanced to the final 16 in the World Cup, so let’s celebrate with something BLUE from red, white and blue! This blueberry ginger smoothie is not only delicious, it’s super healthy as blueberries contain lots of antioxidants. Plus it has cinnamon which the City of Hope considers a superfood in addition to blueberries. So, drink up!

 

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

 

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

Yields: 2 ½ cups

 

1 10-ounce bag frozen blueberries

1 large banana

1 cup almond milk

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add additional almond milk to your liking.