Chill Out With Melon Balls

Brace yourself, Vancouver.  It seems we are in the grip of another heatwave.  Just when you thought your grass might turn green again, they say we can expect another week of 90-plus heat.  Hopefully you enjoyed the cool breeze while we had it, because for the time being, it’s a thing of the past.

While you are making a list of things that may help you chill out, add some melon.  It’s a great way to cool off when you feel meltingly hot, and will help you keep hydrated.  Low in calories, high in Vitamin A, cantaloupe provides potassium and important antioxidants.  Let’s just say it’s good for you.   Now let’s make it fun.  Dig around in your gadget drawer and make some melon balls.

Just looking at these makes me feel cooler and think about being a kid again –  running in the sprinklers, summertime sleepovers, and having kool-aid stands.  I scooped plenty of these when my kids were small, knowing all too well that when you turn anything into a fun shape it becomes especially enticing.  (Apparently so, because I scooped some honeydew and cantaloupe and put them in a big jar before I went to bed and half of them were gone when I got up.  Melon cubes sitting right next to them – untouched…)

Make sure to use a melon that is not too ripe, otherwise you will end up with a mushy mess.  To make a perfect round, press down firmly so the melon baller digs into the flesh, then twist.  Pretty simple.  If your kids are watching you, let them have a go at it, too.   Odd-shaped leftover melon pieces can be refrigerated or you can freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Once solid, you can whir these melon cubes in your blender with ice and a little water to make a slushy, or you can add them to your smoothies.

Besides being fun for your kids, you can turn melon balls into some grown up fun by spiking them with alcohol.  I must admit to being a novice at this, but basically, the recipe is 1 part juice to 1 part alcohol.  Sometimes, a little sugar is added to the juice, and there may be mint or lime juice as well.   I tried this with the ones you see here, using 1/2 cup white grape juice and 1/2 cup vodka.  I muddled some basil leaves into this and poured it into the jar, leaving it overnight.  Whew!  That got my attention.  I gave a few to my household testers and after the initial zing wore off, they said, “What about using a different alcohol?”  Hmmm…

This got me thinking about Caipirinhas.  Admittedly, I am not much of a drinker, but if I were a cocktail, my name would be Caipirinha.  Just saying it sounds fun.  Caipirinhas are made with cachaca, sugar, and lime and are the national cocktail of Brazil.  I have never been to Brazil, and I do not have any Cachaca, but if I did, I would definitely try spiking some melon balls with it.  I am guessing they would be amazing.

I did, however, have a tiny bottle of Prosecco that I doused another round of melon with and then let soak overnight in a fizzy bubble bath.  These were a hit and got cheers all around.  I will be making these again soon, because I am a big believer in celebrating and I plan to celebrate something, even if I don’t know what it is yet.


Prosecco Melon Balls

Prosecco, sparkling wine, or champagne
melon balls

Pour Prosecco over melon balls.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Celebrate!

It’s summer.  Slow down and take some time to have fun.  It is going to be very, very, hot – so make sure you have plenty of ice cubes, stock up on cucumbers, popsicles, iced tea – whatever will make you feel better.  And make some melon balls.  Ahhh…  Don’t you feel cooler already?

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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