Ahhh, South Carolina. Believe it or not, I just returned from a two week stay on a small island right near Charleston South Carolina. The best two weeks of summer! While I’m there I swim in the ocean, go to the pool, ride bikes, and, make dessert! So, I decided it was only fitting to make our South Carolina state dessert for the Fifty Sweets Of America challenge while I was there. And that is how I found myself making watermelon sorbet the Monday of my second week in South Carolina.
In case you’ve forgotten, or our new to our blog (in that case, welcome!), our challenge this year is to make a dessert to represent each of the fifty states of America. We’re both making 25 and today, its me, Karenna!
Now, I’ve been going to South Carolina practically my whole life (or at least for as long as I can remember) and watermelon has never really been a big part of our stay there. So I’ve been very excited to learn about the importance of watermelon in South Carolina. Here’s what I found, according to http://agriculture.sc.gov/resources/agriculture-organizations/south-carolina-watermelon/ the Spanish explorers who first came to South Carolina found watermelons that were apart of the native Indian culture. Their popularity spread and by the 1700s and 1800s many plantation owners were producing their own watermelons. Just that information makes watermelon seem pretty important in South Carolina, but it practically became a life saver. Anyone who knows South Carolina knows full well just how hot the summers can get. Apparently these plantation owners knew that too, so during the summer they packed up and headed to homes closer to the water where it is not nearly as hot. That’s where the watermelon comes in. Being by the ocean there wasn’t a whole lot of fresh water and-since this was way back in the 17/1800’s-there was the risk of disease being transmitted through a water system. With no trustworthy way of getting water people started eating lots of watermelons since they are 90% water. That is how watermelon became such a big part of South Carolina life and why watermelon sorbet is such a perfect way to represent South Carolina.
This watermelon sorbet checked off boxes in two very important summer dessert checklist items; it was easy, and it was refreshing. I’ll start with the first thing, I say this is an easy dessert because it was only three ingredients (plus one optional ingredient that you only need if you have a watermelon that isn’t sweet) and, one of those ingredients is water! It was also an easy dessert because you didn’t need an ice cream maker which was important because there was no way my family could’ve fit one more thing in our packed minivan. (However, there are many benefits to the ice cream maker such as a smoother consistency…) The only thing that could’ve made this dessert easier would be a better blender than the one that was supplied at our beach house:).
The other great thing about this dessert is, as I mentioned, how refreshing it was. Mostly thanks to the fact that watermelon is 90% water this dessert was basically like a nice, cold glass of water which is nice after a day in the sun. It would also be a good palette cleanser after a heavy dinner. However this leads me to my one complaint about this dessert… It was basically flavorless. The fact that it was flavorless isn’t really a fault of this recipe but more of a fault to the dessert itself (in some cases not a lot of flavor may be exactly what you want). Thanks again to all of the water in watermelon when you crush watermelon you basically just get water, so when you freeze it, you just get frozen water, which, is flavorless. What saved this dessert from being a completely flavorless was the bit of lime juice and the lime zest (not included in the recipe but I would recommend adding the zest anyways.).
Overall this dessert was nice for a quick summer dessert when you need to cool down. But if you’re looking for a big fancy and flavorful dessert, this probably isn’t it.
Fun fact: ‘The smile fruit‘ as its called in South Carolina (or just watermelon) is actually a gourd, not a fruit!
3 1/2 cups fresh watermelon chunks
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup warm water (more if needed)
honey (optional) if watermelon isn’t very sweet
- Freeze watermelon chunks in the freezer overnight.
- Place in the food processor or blender with the lime juice and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the watermelon can thaw a bit.
- Blend until smooth. Add the water as needed to make the texture smoother.
- Eat right away while it’s softer or freeze for 3-4 hours until it’s firm.
Sources: http://agriculture.sc.gov/resources/agriculture-organizations/south-carolina-watermelon/ https://www.asweetpeachef.com/watermelon-sorbet/
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