Anyone who does composting knows that the remains of watermelons, consumed every other day in summer, could fill your compost pots in no time. Cows love the watermelon rinds. Feeding cattle-edible food to cows is a great way to reduce the burden on our composting infrastructure, and it also ensures that we minimise what we call “organic waste”, but for this you’ll need to find a cow.
As the name suggests, watermelon is mostly water – 92% in fact. Not many are aware that apart from the red fleshy part of the watermelon that we all love, the rest of the watermelon is edible too. It is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is recommended to those with high blood pressure, as also to those who want to maintain lower levels of sugar and cholesterol. Just google search and you’ll find all the benefits of watermelon.
The seeds can be roasted and are delicious to eat, like many other seeds that we consume as snacks. The green fleshy part of the watermelon that lies between the red fruit and the tough skin (peeled rind) can be made into different things, depending on your taste and preference. It can be eaten raw in salad. It can be used the same way as any vegetable in sambhar/curry. It can be made into pickle or jam. It can be used to make dosa (along with rice) – this is a Karnataka special called Kalingada Polo. For most of these, the peeled watermelon rinds can be kept frozen and used without thawing when required.
Over the weekend, I got to know of another use of watermelon. Tutti-frutti. That sweet and colourful ingredient that is used in cakes, breads, cookies, ice creams and the like, and which can be eaten directly as well.
Recipe for Tutti-frutti from watermelon
Vanilla essence (or any other essence of choice)
Food colouring (if you want it to look colourful)
1. Peel off any red/pink portion on the inside. Then peel the green skin off the watermelon.
2. Cut the peeled rind into slices and then make the slices into cubes (the size of tutti-frutti – approx 75 mm cubes)
3. In a vessel, boil some water (enough for the quantity of watermelon to be fully immersed). For 1 cup of watermelon we would need about 1.25 cups water.
4. Add the watermelon cubes into the water and let this cook. Reduce heat. Stir so that the watermelon doesn’t stick to the bottom of the vessel. Cook till the watermelon looks transparent. This would take about 5 minutes.
5. Strain the cubes and keep aside for about 10 minutes to cool. (The liquid that is strained can be used as stock to make soup or sambhar/curry.)
6. In the same vessel, take water and add sugar. For 1 cup of watermelon, take about 0.75 cup water and 0.5 cup sugar. (Use your discretion – you need enough water to cover the watermelon and enough sugar so that the water tastes sweet.) Heat the mixture and let the sugar dissolve completely.
7. Add the watermelon cubes and let this cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The water will thicken into a slight syrup. Taste to see that the cubes are tasting sweet.
8. Add a few drops of vanilla essence – enough to give flavour. About 5 ml would do for a full watermelon. Bring to a boil and cook for another 12-15 minutes. Check that the watermelon is nice and sweet and does not taste raw.
9. Turn off the flame and spoon out the cubes into small bowls. To each add a few drops of food colouring of your choice and mix so that the cubes are coloured. (I have used green colour.) Keep aside for sometime to cool. The sugar syrup can be used to make some sweets and need not be discarded.
10. Once cooled, lay the coloured cubes to dry. If there is excess syrup, put on a sieve to drain.
Tutti-frutti is ready!
Thanks to the video by Food & Flavours by Shilpi (from Facebook), shared by my good friend Sameera (brilliant cook!), that I used with minor modifications.
With a little creativity, time and effort, your watermelon can be fully consumed. Go ahead and save it from the compost pot!