With their crisp, cool and refreshing qualities, melons evoke the essence of summer pleasure. We enjoy them simply chilled and eaten as hand-to-mouth wedges, as colorful melon-ball skewers for utensil-free eating at outdoor barbecues, or injected with tequila, vodka or rum for libationary delight.
When I asked friends and coworkers for some fun melon-eating stories, there were plenty: half-cantaloupes filled with vanilla ice cream or cottage cheese for an old-fashioned lunch; family picnics where rotund green watermelons were cooled in nearby streams; and seasoning rituals, such as a Mexican friend’s lime, salt and chili powder.
Ripe, juicy and cold melons are of course delicious when eaten just naked—but they perform well when starring in recipes, too. For those of you who have never tasted pickled melon, here’s a recipe for Sweet, Sour & Spicy Melon Balls. For a nice light supper on a hot day, pair these with some thinly sliced prosciutto, a green salad dressed with a fruit-vinegar vinaigrette, and a great loaf of bread.
There’s nothing like summer’s fresh melons to cool you off. Enjoy them while you can!
Sweet, Sour & Spicy Melon Balls
Makes 3 pints
3 cups cantaloupe balls (see Chef’s Notes)
3 cups honeydew melon balls
3 large sprigs fresh basil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
3/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
Toss melon balls together. Fill three 1-pint, wide mouth jars with the melon balls, tucking a basil sprig into each jar.
In a non-aluminum saucepan combine all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
When mixture is cool, evenly pour over the jars of melon balls, filling to top and being sure to cover the fruit completely. Cover with lids and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating. The melon balls will keep for about 2 weeks, refrigerated.
- Use ripe but firm melons.
- To make melon balls: Cut melon in half and scoop out seeds. With a melon ball gadget, scoop out balls. (I used the large size baller.)
© 2010 Kathy Casey Food Studios – www.kathycasey.com