Watermelon Mint Juleps
Who knew that a cocktail could be good for you? Watermelon is rich in antioxidants and mint helps with digestion.
This drink is delicious without the bourbon too!
Watermelon needs warm soil. Don't plant until several weeks after the last frost, when the soil temperature is above 70°F. Give watermelon vines plenty of room to roam by spacing transplants 6-feet apart in rows 6-feet apart. Melons are heavy feeders. Unless your soil is already rich, add nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal or composted manure to the soil. Work time-release fertilizer thoroughly into the soil before planting.
Mulch at planting to keep down weeds and keep moisture in the ground. This is important with all vegetables, but is especially appreciated by watermelon.
Water is important in keeping vines healthy and producing delicious fruit. Vines are sensitive to drought during the time from transplanting to when fruits start to form. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation to deliver water directly to soil, preventing possible spread of fungal diseases. Avoid overhead watering and water in early morning. Keep soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, which will kill plants. You'll cut back on watering as the fruit near harvest.
When fruit is about the size of a softball, place it on a bed of straw or cardboard to keep it clean. Setting fruit on a light-reflecting surface, such as aluminum foil, will concentrate heat and speed up ripening, which is especially helpful in cool areas with a short growing season.
About a week before a melon is ripe, water only to prevent wilting. Withholding water causes sugars to concentrate in the fruit; too much water reduces sweetness.
Plant mint in spring or fall in temperate regions. Mint prefers humus-rich, consistently-moist soil and full sun. They will also thrive in partial shade.
Apply a layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and the ground evenly moist.
Feed mint in spring with a slow-release fertilizer.
Mint is evergreen in zones 8 and warmer. It will die back in winter in zones 7 and 8, but return the following spring.
Mint can be invasive. To prevent it from taking over, plant it in a bottomless plastic nursery pot that is at least 10-inches tall. Then bury the pot in the ground. The container will keep the aggressive underground stems confined.
Blend the watermelon cubes and lemon juice until smooth.
Strain through a sieve and set the juice aside. Discard the pulp.
Place mint, water and sugar in the bottom of a chilled, 8-ounce glass.
Mash the mint with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the bourbon and stir well.
Drop in a few ice cubes and pour in watermelon juice.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.
This recipe is vegetarian.