Watermelon Rind Infusion & Garnish
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
It's summertime, and that also means that it's Watermelon Season! ☀️🍉 Being one of the most refreshing foods, watermelon becomes a go-to!
It's delicious and super easy to eat considering that it's made up of 92% water!
That means that there is A LOT of leftover rind that typically gets thrown out.
Now the question is...what can we do with that rind?
And the answer is...a lot of different stuff! But for today, let me show you one of my favorite recipes!
𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐢𝐧𝐝
Have you ever thought about what Watermelon Rind tastes like?
Truth is that it tastes very similar to an extra crunchy cucumber, but when infused or made into a syrup, it releases flavors that taste just like watermelon!
Yet again another completely edible ingredient that has excellent nutritional value, tastes great and is in abundant quantities.
𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐀𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐟
Bitter Aperitifs go excellently with watermelon because their flavors marry so well. Bitter Aperitifs are low in alcohol and slightly bitter, while watermelon is refreshing and slightly sweet. Together they balance each other well and make quench-thirsting Spritz's, Negronis and Low ABV cocktails.
Plus, the watermelon adds a light and refreshing summer twist to them!
All you need to do is follow the recipe below.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐍𝐞𝐞𝐝
Leftover Watermelon Rinds
Bitter Aperitif (I'm using Campari, you can also try with Aperol)
Pot of water (optional)
Dehydrator or Oven
The first things you're going to need are your watermelon rinds.
For the sake of infusing them and then making a garnish out of them, chop them up into BIG pieces.
You're going to have to separate the outer green shell of the rind because it's not easy to digest when eaten whole. Eventually, I will show you a recipe for how to reuse those green parts as well!
(Watermelon Rinds should be cut into large pieces and have the green part removed.
Once chopped, grab your jar and combine every 150ml of Campari with 100g of watermelon rind.
Don't be afraid to add too much or too little of either ingredient, the flavor of the infusion will work well regardless! Depending on which Aperitif you are using and the quality of your rind, you may have to adjust the quantities. For now, just follow the guidelines.
All you have to do is let that sit for 3-4 days, but if you don't have the patience to wait that long, I have another trick for you that will have it ready in just a couple of hours! 💡
If you have the patience and don't mind letting that infuse for a couple of days, you can simply skip past the section on sous vide.
One great way of infusing spirits fast is with sous vide, a slow cooking technique immersing a vacuum-sealed product in very warm water. But instead of vacuum sealing a product in plastic, we can reuse any household jar that we have at home, that way we don't need expensive equipment or wasteful plastic.
(Just to clarify this photo, the water is filled almost to the lid of the jar.)
Place it on the stove and put it on very low heat. Glass tends to crack at a temperature of 150 to 200°C, so you should be safe!
Make sure your water isn't simmering but that it's hot enough that steam is rising. If you have a thermometer make sure your temperature is between 65 and 70°C. You don't want the temperature to be too high otherwise the alcohol inside will evaporate and escape.
Let your jar filled infusion sit for at least 3 hours, don't worry if it sits for longer.
Sous vide is a great technique because the margin of error is very small, meaning that if your temperature OR cook time is a little off, the final result will be almost exactly the same!
Once the time is up, you can remove the jar from the pot of water and let it cool off.
DO NOT OPEN YOUR JAR. You don't want your alcohol to evaporate and have all that delicious flavor fly away!
Once it's cooled off, you can open your jar and strain everything to separate the rinds from the Aperitif.
And there you have it! Your Watermelon Infused Aperitif is ready to go!
(after infusing, your rinds have soaked up some of the bitter aperitif)
This is an extremely versatile ingredient to use in your cocktails.
It's a definite go-to in:
DO NOT THROW OUT THE RINDS! Save them as a garnish for your drinks following the instructions below.
Did you save those infused rinds for your cocktail garnishes? Good!
Many cocktail garnishes that exist are not edible, or at least they taste bad to some people.
Examples of this are citrus wedges, citrus twists and sometimes pieces of plain fruit that get neglected by the customer and tossed out by the bartender.
The least that we can do is create garnishes that are edible and that taste great!
Once these dry, they will turn into tasty chewy snacks, similar to a piece of candy to decorate your drinks or even just to have as a snack at home.
Nothing is better than decorating your cocktails with tasty garnishes that you can eat. It eliminates one more product from the food waste cycle.
𝐈𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡
Take your leftover watermelon rinds and set them in a dehydrator at a low setting until they are reasonably dried. If you don't want them to be chewy, dry them for longer until they are crunchy.
IMPORTANT NOTE! Make sure the rinds are nice and big because once dehydrated they will shrink considerably in size!
If you don't have a dehydrator, set them on a tray with wax paper and stick them in the oven at 75°C with the fan on.
You do not want to cook the garnishes, you simply want to dry them out so that there is no more water inside them.
Removing the water from them will intensify the flavor, color and make them taste like a bittersweet candy.
This process should take around 7 hours or more. You'll have to check on them once in a while until they look something like this.
The cool thing about this recipe is that you're able to hit two birds with one stone.
You made an infusion out of one thing and recycled the leftovers to make an edible garnish.
Now that's legit Sustainable Bartending! 🤙
Try your new infusion in a Watermelon Rind Spritz!
-- 𝟔𝟎𝐦𝐥 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐟
-- 𝐅𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐜𝐨
𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡: 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫