Intro: Watermelon Limeade With Chervil Infusion
I don't know what says summer more than Watermelon and Limeades! So, why not take the chance to mix these two wonders of summer to create a refreshing summer drink? I also added an infusion of Chervil to give it an added earthiness and cut some of the limeade sweetness (Oh, and because it's part of the contest).
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
1 small or 1/2 medium seedless (not that important) watermelon
12 limes - enough to make 1 1/2 cups of fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh Chervil (or more! It's a pretty subtle taste) - I looked ALL OVER to find Chervil and only found dried (which was too subtle) and fresh at Whole Foods but I had to special order it there.
2 cups table sugar (sucrose) - I'm sure you could use Agave sugar or some other substitute here, but honey might be too strong.
Seltzer water or something else to mix into the final syrup you make (more on this later)
Sharp chefs knife
medium sauce pan
medium strainer (not a collander)
4 cup liquid measuring cup
a heat source
Fun fact: Limeades are like lemonades made with water, limes (instead of lemons), and sugar. They are commonly served with cherry syrup as a cherry limeade.
Step 2: When Do You Go at Red and Stop at Green? (When You're Eating a Watermelon)
Initially, make sure your knife is very sharp. I ran a hone over mine just to be sure. If you have a dull knife, you're more likely to slip and cut yourself. Strangely enough, sharper knives lead to less cut fingers. Instructable user TimAnderson has a good how-to 'ible here.
1) First, you'll want to cut the top and bottom off of the watermelon. This will give you flat surfaces for stability when you go to step 2.
2) Cut the peel off the watermelon with your chef's knife. This is pretty easy with your sharp knife and I find it the easiest way to peel your watermelon. Continue until all of the rind is off.
3) Cut your melon into slices and then section those slices into approximately 1" cubes.
*I put a cool photo of the slices in the photos above. Notice the incredible swirling pattern in this particular melon, Awesome!*
Fun fact: Seedless watermelons have been produced about 50 years ago and is sterile. It is the result of crossing a male watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a female watermelon with 44 chromosomes to produce the sterile seedless watermelon with 33 chromosomes.
Step 3: Blend Away!
Now, pack as much melon into your blender as you can. I should have left a little space at the top because my cheapo blender overflowed a bit. However, I find that if you pack it down and remove air pockets, you'll get a nice even blend. Blend it until it's completely homogenized.
Why do watermelons have fancy weddings? (Because they cantaloupe)
Step 4: Don't Strain Yourself (or Rather Do!)
Next, I strained out the solids from the watermelon. This involved pouring the slurry through a strainer into a 4-cup measuring cup. This also removes any fiber and any seeds that you might have. I mentioned earlier that seedless watermelons are preferred but not necessary. This is because the straining step removes the seeds for you.
I actually double strained the solids by pouring them through the strainer into the sauce pan for the next step to doubly ensure that all solids have been removed and you're left with a nice clear liquid.
You should have around 4 cups of liquid after all of this is completed.
(unfortunately, this removes most of the dietary fiber from the watermelon, but none of the taste!)
Joke time: What do you call a fruit that breaks the law? (A waterfelon)
Step 5: Pucker Up!
Now it's time to make this a real limeade. When I was developing this recipe I used only 8 limes. It was nice, but not limey enough to truly be called a limeade. So this time I squeezed out 12 fresh limes. I find that it's best to roll them HARD with my hands as in the picture above to rupture the juice sacks. I'm not sure it helps, but it does make squeezing them out a bit easier. I then juiced them with a hand juicer. I had about 1 1/2 cups of fresh lime juice when I was done. Pour this into your watermelon mixture and be ready for Pucker City!
Fun fact: Limes were given to British sailors to stave off scurvy. This is why sailors are nicknamed Limeys!
Step 6: The Secret Ingredient
Now to bring on the Chervil. Chervil is also known as French Parsley for good reason as it looks like a lacy delicate parsley. However, it does have a bit of a basil flavor to it. It is a very delicate flavor and quite subtle. So, we're going to infuse its subtle earthy flavors into the sweet/sour Watermelon Limeade to cut through the sweetness a bit.
To do this, initially I thought to use a tea infuser. However, because the boiling that the chervil will undergo removes a bit of its flavor I just dumped about 2 tablespoons of freshly cut and washed chervil into the watermelon-lime mixture to be boiled.
Fun fact: Chervil is in the carrot family
Step 7: Presto Reducto!
Now you're going to reduce your watermelon, lime, chervil mixture and make something like a simple syrup. A simple syrup is traditionally equal parts sugar and water but because of the sweetness of the watermelon we added 2 cups sugar to the 4 cups watermelon. The lime juice (1 1/2 cups) and chervil (2 tbs fresh) were added as well. This was heated to boiling then the heat was reduced to a simmer until the entire solution was around 4 cups. This took approximately 45 minutes. It also infused the house with a wonderous smell!
Joke time: What type of fruit has babies in a red house, a red house in a white house, and a white house in a green house? (A watermelon)
Step 8: Jar Heads
Finally, we strained out the chervil that was floating on the top of the mixture with a slotted spoon and poured the entire solution through the strainer again into a quart jar. This was allowed to come to room temperature, sealed, and placed in the refrigerator.
Fun fact: The name "Jar Head" is slang for someone in the United States Marines and is a reference to their "high and tight" haircut.
Step 9: Mixology
You now have a nice watermelon/limeade/chervil syrup to make your limeade. We served it with seltzer water chilled to a concentration of about 1:3 syrup to seltzer. It was also served with ice and made a wonderfully refreshing and bubbly drink.
Other suggestions for mixing:
- Sprite - might be a bit sweet so reduce the ratio but could be great and would be more traditional for a limeade
- Rum - Yo ho ho matey, I'm not sure Long John Silver would approve but this could be awesome
- Water - It won't have the bubbly lightness but will be nice just the same.
Fun fact: A mixologist is another name for someone who is a bartender. Usually one who specializes in mixed drinks.
Joke time: A chicken walks into a bar and the bartender says, "We don't serve poultry here". The chicken replies, "That's okay, I just want a drink (preferably a Watermelon Limeade infused with Chervil)"
Thanks and I hope you enjoy your limeades! Please vote for me in Ferrous Chef: Watermelon competition.