True story: back in the days when I was barely tall enough to ride my tricycle and summer always seemed to last forever and ever and ever, my mom used to make me and my siblings these amazing pops on hot days. She also made us apple-necklaces on a daily basis, but little three-year-old me could never get enough of these pops. They are refreshing, deliciously sweet and ice cold! So perfect if you like to spent your summer afternoons riding a tricycle around the yard half-naked!
Or um, if you like to spent your summer afternoons reading gossip magazines on the balcony. And YES: with clothes on. The days when I ran around the yard half-naked without being totally self-conscious are loooong gone. Times have changed, man!
But not these watermelon pops… To me, these pops are nostalgia on a stick! They’re just as good as they were twenty years ago! The recipe (haha) is still the same: non-existent. The ingredient list is just as easy to memorize (even for me!). And the resulting pops? Well, the pops are still an absolute winner!
And hello bikini: you’ll love these pops too! They’re super duper healthy, full of vitamins A and C, high in potassium (whatever the hell that does…) and there are only about 37 calories in each pop!
So what makes these pops so super duper healthy? It’s just fruit. Doing! You guessed it, right? I knew you would… So yes, these pops are just big juicy chunks (sections? slices?) of watermelon. On a stick. Sprinkled with a little chopped mint because I was feeling fancy. And no, my mom has never sprinkled them with chopped mint. Whenever I make these and I don’t need them to look cute in a picture, I don’t sprinkle them with chopped mint. It’s a blog thing…
So if you don’t have mint, don’t go out of your way to get some. Just leave it off! But hey, if you do have mint, chop some and add it! Because, as it turns out, the little sprinkling of mint leaves really does take these pops to the next level of yumminess!
Happy accident, right?
Oh, and about the popsicle sticks. You don’t really need those either. They’re totally optional. See that big piece of rind on the watermelon pops? Well, if you can’t get your hands on popsicle sticks, just hold the pops by the rind. Sure, your hand might get a bit cold and icy, but who cares about a cold hand on a hot day?
Basically the only thing you do need to buy to make these pops is – surprise, surprise – a watermelon! Definitely not optional…
Just make sure to buy a good watermelon! Don’t you just hate biting into a piece of watermelon only to find out that it’s bland and mealy and just sooo not what you were hoping to sink your teeth into? Seriously, don’t get me started on underripe watermelons. They’re so disappointing! Especially if it’s a big one, because then you’re left with pounds and pounds of underripe fruit no one wants to eat. Don’t you just hate throwing away food?
Anyway, picking a good watermelon is actually really easy once you know how it’s done! Just follow these basic rules:
- (And this is rule no. 1 for a reason!) Give the watermelon a sharp rap with your knuckles. Your knuckles should kind of bounce back and the watermelon should feel firm. If you hear a dull sound, put the melon back, because it’s not ripe yet (and watermelons stop ripening once they’re cut from the vine). Instead, look for a melon that sounds hollow when you rap it. A hollow sounds means that the melon is ripe!
- Look for the field spot on the melon. This is the spot on which the melon sat while ripening on the vine. If the watermelon you picked doesn’t have a field spot (aka: it’s just green): put it back asap, because the melon was picked when it wasn’t ripe yet. Instead, look for a melon with a creamy yellow field spot. The darker yellow the field spot, the longer the watermelon has had time to ripen on the vine (= perfection!).
- Pick the watermelon up. It should be heavy for its size. A heavy watermelon indicates that the melon is full of water and has had a long time to ripen. Compare the watermelon with another one that’s the same size. The heavier watermelon is the ripest.
- Look for bee stings! Bee stings look like little, dark brown or black pearly bits on the rind of the watermelon. They’re actually beads of hardened sap. Apparently, bees can tell when a watermelon is gorgeously ripe and really sweet, and if they happen to come across one, they make small holes in it to feast on the sweet sap. So if you find a watermelon that has bee stings on it, or black beads of hardened sap: consider yourself lucky, because that’s one sweet watermelon! Sometimes, the beads of hardened sap fall off during transportation, but you can still look for the marks left by the bees: look for small black holes in the watermelon’s scars.
- Finally, make sure the watermelon you pick is uniformly shaped and that it has a dull appearance. Shiny watermelons are not ripe.
So pick yourself a delicious watermelon and get these pops into the freezer! They’re absolutely perfect on a hot day!
Or whenever you come across a young Jon Bon Jovi on Youtube… Man, he was hot!
- a watermelon
- popsicle sticks (optional)
- a handful of fresh mint leaves
- First, make sure you pick a good watermelon. You want the surface of the watermelon to be firm, and when you knock it, you should hear a hollow sound. A dull thud means that you've got yourself an underripe (aka: not very sweet) melon. Furthermore, the melon's field spot - which is the spot the watermelon was resting on as it grew - should be a creamy yellow. Basically, the darker the yellow of the field spot, the longer the melon has had time to ripen on the vine. But steer clear of melons that either have no visible field spot or a very light colored field spot (whitish); they're not ripe. And if you really want to make sure you get yourself a delicious watermelon, look for bee stings: small holes in the melon with dried sap and a bit of scarring around it. Bee stings indicate a sweet melon!
- Once you got yourself a delicious watermelon, use a very sharp and large knife to cut the melon into 6 or 8 large wedges, depending on the size of your melon.
- Cut each wedge into 2-cm (or about 1-inch) thick slices.
- If you want to put the watermelon pops on a stick, use a smaller knife to make a small cut in the rind of each of the watermelon slices and carefully insert a popsicle stick in each cut.
- Arrange the watermelon pops on a baking sheet (in a single layer) and freeze until frozen.
- Once frozen, sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and serve!