Watermelon is summer’s sweetheart. Its thirst quenching, hot pink interior pairs as well with salt (feta and avocado salad – yum) as it pairs with sweet (Greek yogurt and honey, please). Today, I’m keeping things light and bright, blending watermelon with floral jasmine green tea brewed with spicy ginger, and topping things off with mint-infused ice cubes. This is a seriously refreshing, completely gulpable summertime sip that contains just 5 ingredients – and that’s including water.
I can’t help but think that this iced tea recipe would make a killer cocktail. If you have vodka or white rum (and are, of course, legal drinking age), a splash or two in the pitcher sounds like a good time to me. Though I haven’t sweetened this, dissolving some honey, maple syrup or agave in the hot tea whilst brewing is a fine option. If you, like me, prefer unsweetened iced tea, keep the recipe as is.
To get you in the back-to-school spirit, here are some tips to help you pick, choose and store watermelon for the perfect bite (or sip) this summer:
How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon
- Look the watermelon over: You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
- Lift it up: The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water, so most of the weight is water.
- Turn it over: The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
How to Store Watermelon
- Wash watermelon with clean, running water.
- Use clean knives and cutting surfaces.
- Watermelon can be stored uncut at room temperature for 7 to 10 days.
- Once cut, watermelon can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in a plastic container or plastic wrap.
- Because watermelon is 92% water, it freezes well. Frozen watermelon is an excellent smoothie addition.
Like all fruits and vegetables, watermelon delivers a load of nutrition, giving you hydration, lycopene, amino acids, vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6 and more.
While delicious on its own, my favourite way to enjoy watermelon (besides this beverage) is in a salty salad. Because it’s so sweet, a savoury contrast of feta and black olives, along with a hit of fresh mint, makes it sing. Watermelon also plays well with tomatoes in gazpacho, adding a delicate sweetness and smooth texture to the chilled soup. For more ideas, access a treasure trove of watermelon recipes on watermelon.org.
Like the versatility of the watermelon itself, this iced tea recipe is versatile. As I mentioned, sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup or agave. Trade the green tea for white tea, oolong or your go-to herbal tisane (mine is mint). Add a splash of booze. Combine watermelon with honeydew or cantaloupe. The sky’s the limit.
With only a few weekends of summer left, I’ll be sipping, savouring and sharing this watermelon iced tea until season’s end. Get it while it’s cold.
- 2 cups filtered water, plus more for ice cubes
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons loose leaf green tea or loose leaf jasmine green tea
- 24 fresh mint leaves, torn if large
- ½ small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into medium chunks (about 8 cups), chilled
- Add water to a kettle and bring to a boil. Place ginger and tea in a tea pot and cover with boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain steeped tea into a large glass measuring cup; discard tea leaves and ginger. Refrigerate tea for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, until cold.
- Meanwhile, place 2 mint leaves in each portion of a 12-cup ice cube tray. Fill with filtered water and freeze until solid, about 5 hours.
- Add watermelon to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain into a large pitcher; stir in chilled tea. Serve cold with mint ice cubes.
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB), a non-profit organization based in Orlando, Florida that represents 1,500 watermelon growers, shippers and importers. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.