Salted Watermelon Granita

I love watermelon, but sometimes I buy too many or forget to cut it up before it gets too ripe for us to eat it all before it goes bad. I have some sort of watermelon processing hang-up, but am much too cheap to buy it pre-cut. So, at times I have a surplus of watermelon and this recipe is born of one of those times.

I don’t have an ice cream maker and remember watching Giada make a coffee granita years ago on the food network. It’s pretty easy: freeze liquid and scrape periodically. I googled for some recipes and most of them added sugar, which at first I thought was pretty strange until I realized it is being used to sweeten and intensify the watermelon flavor because the whole fruit was pureed. I decided to nix the added sugar and extract the bulk of the juice from the fruit. I remember salting watermelon to drain excess liquid before making watermelon, basil, feta salad so why not try it for this. Worked like a charm. Plus: salted watermelon is delicious.

 Salted Watermelon Granita

Ingredients: Watermelon, Salt

Equipment: colander or strainer, mesh strainer, large mixing bowl (the colander should fit inside), another mixing bowl, potato masher, pan large enough to hold watermelon juice, fork, this uses a lot of dishes, but they are easy to clean and it is so worth it.

  • ¬†Peel and roughly chop the water melon.
  • Place watermelon in colander and place the colander in the mixing bowl.
  • Sprinkle lightly with salt and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

  • Shake the colander a bit and let the juice drain out. You might want to put it on top of an upside-down smaller bowl to let the juices drain out. Press on the watermelon with the potato masher to get additional juices out. Dump the drained juices into a bowl.
  • Lightly sprinkle with salt again and let sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Mash the remaining watermelon solids, hard enough to get the bulk of the juices out, but not so hard that solids or seeds are forced through the holes. You can discard the solids or feed them to a perpetually ravenous toddler demanding to know what you are doing to his precious watermelon.

  • Strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer into a pan. (I used a 9×13 pan for the juice from half of a watermelon.) The pan should only be halfway full. Things are going to fill up a but when we get to the scraping.
  • Place the pan flat in the freezer. The liquid should be level.
  • Freeze for at least 6-8 hours or overnight. (Slightly fussier: I like to scraped and refreeze after 3 hours. There is still some liquid, but it scrapes into crystals. It doesn’t make much of a difference.)

  • Remove from freezer and scrape the top of the frozen juice repeatedly, a fluffy shaved iced will result. Spoon the granita into bowls as you go and continue scraping the frozen layer.
  • Scrape what you need and return to freezer, it be good for a few days. Cover tightly with foil when storing the granita to keep it from absorbing freezer smells.

Tiny spoon optional.

It sounds dumb to add, but this dessert is (added) sugar free, gluten free, non-dairy, vegan, vegetarian and delicious.

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6 Responses to “Salted Watermelon Granita”

  1. Brigid Keely says:

    Lookin’ tasty!

    BTW, if you’re sauteing onions or garlic or shallots or whatever, salting them helps draw out the water as well. You probably already know that, though!


    Amy Reply:

    I tend to salt most veggies when I saute them. It works wonders with getting zucchini brown before it overcooks, too!


  2. TMae says:

    This is a great idea. I, too, have a watermelon processing hang-up, but I LOVE them.


  3. this looks so freaking good! definitely gonna try it.
    and thanks for your comment today… desserts & treats should definitely be an occasional treat. i love your “reverse the ratio” philosophy!


  4. That watermelon granita looks tasty! I actually have some over ripened watermelon in my fridge right now. I may have to try this!
    PS- I host a recipe swap each week and I’d for for you to come show off your watermelon treat!


  5. […] don’t ask her to give up paper towels). She also cooks things and blogs recipes and stuff. Salted watermelon granita? It’s like she GETS me. (Love me some salt on my […]

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