Aside from the end of the school year, there were several other changes that took place at the beginning of each summer. There was the annual re-appearance of the Italian ice man wheeling his cart down the street, offering lemon, cherry, or chocolate ices in a white paper cup. We had no idea why it was called Italian ices. Then, at the market you would suddenly find, prominently displayed, a table of large, oval-shaped fruit. Watermelon, thick-skinned and hardy, a fruit with a statement. Everything about it was unusual and fun. The size, the pale green shade of the skin, and the darker green stripes that swept across it. The fruit itself, surprisingly pink and dotted with small glistening black seeds, was always cut in thick slices and served ice-cold, a perfect summer treat.
Children no longer get excited about the appearance of watermelons since they are now available all year. On top of which, there is apparently an entire generation of children who don’t even know that watermelons originally had black seeds in them, having only been served the seedless varieties. Farmers have engineered our fruit so that we can eat it more efficiently. Personally I am never in that much of a rush and how sad that we don’t think our kids should take the time to spit out seeds! Not to mention, that they will never have that oh-oh experience of swallowing a seed only to worry whether a watermelon will start to grow in their stomachs.
I can only think of one good reason to buy a seedless watermelon and that is to make Granita. Something between an Italian ice and a slush.
1 small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into chunks
4 Tbs sugar
2 limes juiced ( use your imagination, lemons, orange juice, cranberry, or even vodka)
1/3 cup of sugar.
Puree watermelon in food processor and pour into a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Add sugar and any flavoring you like and stir. Cover with Saran and freeze for several hours. Remove and scrape surface with a fork and return to freezer. Repeat this every few hours until the mixture is “slushy.” Serves 10-12