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We’re experiencing an ‘Indian Summer’ apparently. And although I know what that means – unseasonably warm weather in late autumn – the term’s always slightly baffled me as summers in India are much earlier in the year and far more intense. So, I did what all good people do and googled it and it’s actually a reference to Native American Indians and hunting seasons. Go figure.

Anyway, with all this hot weather continuing, the dilemma is what should we drink to keep us hydrated? There are, of course, a lot of lovely fruits and vegetables around which can be juiced, but a personal favourite of mine is watermelon juice which I keep on tap during the summer months.

Mark Twain called the watermelon ‘chief of this world’s luxuries’, commenting that ‘when one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat’. Praise indeed. But if Twain’s words don’t convince you, perhaps this will: the not very prepossessing watermelon holds a myriad of treasures within. It has a very high water content, is extremely vitamin- and mineral-rich (A, B, C, potassium and magnesium), is high in carotenoids and antioxidants and contains compounds that are believed to reduce the risk of cancer. Oh, and it’s also very low in calories and it just tastes great.

 

Method

Take one chilled medium-sized watermelon and cut into quarters. Scoop out the flesh and slice into chunks. Mix in a blender or juicer with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, a dash of vanilla extract and a good glug of yuzu … and voila, manna from heaven. It’s best drunk fresh but it can be distilled into bottles or a flask for the beach. It’s also perfect for the whole family, as kids love it, allergies apart, and yet it can be turned into something a little bit more adult by mixing in your spirit of choice and serving it in a glass over ice. Chin chin.

 

A version of this article appeared in HIP, September 2018 issue (print and online)

 

 

Also of interest: ‘A healing green mung bean soup’; Eat, drink and make merry – tasting summer‘; ‘The unprepossessing Hunza apricot‘; ‘Fava me with love – breaking bread with friends‘; ‘A little bit of cheese, please, my dear‘; ‘Soup love – all about my mother’; ‘The not-so-humble pancake‘; ‘Cooking lesson – Master of Hammer Vincent Price makes a daring curry‘; ‘Venison requires a strong arm: Nero Wolfe knows how to cook

 

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