I have a fond memory of a Middle Eastern restaurant in South Miami we visited when I was a kid. It had gauzy curtains secluding each table and exotic belly dancers performing while you ate. It was such a treat for me. While I don’t remember the food or the name of the restaurant, there was one item on the menu that has stuck with me for life: watermelon juice. It was served cold in a tall glass with a straw, and I could drink three of them in a night if my mother let me.
Now that I’m a grownup, I make watermelon juice fairly regularly. Living in hot and humid Florida, it’s a refreshing drink that instantly brings me back to those days when it was such an extravagance. It’s actually super easy to make and doesn’t require a juicer. You just blend the watermelon, strain and drink. There’s no need to add sugar since watermelon is already perfectly sweet.
I decided to turn my latest batch of fresh watermelon juice into homemade Jell-O (or gelatin if you don’t want to use a brand name).Having recently purchased some intricate baking molds; this gave me a perfect opportunity to try them out. I try to steer away from artificial flavors and dyes, so I anticipate making homemade Jello often when my little one gets old enough to appreciate these things.
I recommend using gelatin powder instead of sheets for this recipe. Gelatin powder is less expensive, easier to find and you need less of it. While this recipe came out perfect, I did have trouble removing it from the most intricate molds. I would have added it to my recipe “fail” list had I not been able to extract 2 of the 6 molds perfectly. Either way, we enjoyed every bit of these healthy, low sugar gelatins and I plan to make more in the future.
Feel free to play around with these. You can add fresh chunks of watermelon, or other fruit such as mango or strawberry. Get really creative by layering different flavors, adding a layer of mousse or gelled minted cream. The possibilities are endless.
Taste your watermelon juice before you start to see if it is sweet enough. If not, add sugar to taste.
- 1 large icebox watermelon, or enough to make 5 cups of strained juice.
- 4 packets unflavored gelatin
- Sugar (optional)
Cut watermelon into chunks and puree in a blender until smooth. You may have to make a few small batches. Pour juice through a fine mesh strainer. Place juice into the refrigerator to cool for 1 ½ hour.
Place your gelatin into a heat proof bowl and cover with about ¼ cup of watermelon juice. Place bowl over a double boiler and heat until the gelatin melts, about 8 minutes. Add gelatin to the chilled watermelon juice and stir.
Pour watermelon mixture into molds and chill for 4 hours until set. To remove from molds, run a knife around the edge, then submerge bottom of mold into hot water for 10 seconds. Invert mold onto a serving platter.