easy to make / Sober Sunday

Sober Sunday: Watermelon Hearts

I don’t know what got me stuck on turning watermelon into hearts.  I’m not normally that twee with my summer fruits.  Gelled, these look a bit like toro; I like the idea of serving up a plate of raw simplicity – put it out there and see who digs in.  A heart on a tray certainly seems more formal than keeping on your sleeve.

I was  in a play where each character carried their heart on a jar.  We used pig hearts.  I got to squish mine halfway through the show, squelching the samonella and stage blood combo between my toes, looking into the wings for the Clorox wipes.  I could be rough with it; I had a replacement heart for each performance.

I like the idea of the heart somewhere else, in a jar, away from the body, kept safe and brought out for special occasions like the good china.  I like it placed on a bookshelf,  forgotten, but you smile when your fingers graze over it while searching for that Cormac McCarthy you never finished. If hearts were in jars instead of bodies, they wouldn’t be damaged by injuries emotional or physical.  Pass the cheese loaf, we have no arteries to clog.

They wouldn’t attack, that’s for sure.  Better yet, if in jars, hearts would be contained.  They wouldn’t be wild.  We could dust them.  My grandfather would have kept his in the basement, next to old coffee cans filled with odd nails and pennies and green bingo chips. My uncle probably would have carried his with him, in some teflon/gortex/unbreakable otterbox that could survive the climb to base camp on K2.  Medicare must not have explained this option to them.

Lately, I wear mine at the end of a chain.  Torch-fired by some Etsy artisan, it is tiny, delicately crafted and made of glass, pyrex really, tempered to be much stronger than it looks.

Unfortunately, these watermelon hearts are delicate.  They can slip through your fingers; you need to pop them in your mouth quickly, but they give a delightful burst of flavor when you do.  The recipe makes quite a few, so you can chew through as many hearts as you want.

Watermelon Hearts with Crystallized Cilantro Leaves

  • 4 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
  • Fresh watermelon (about 3 lbs of fruit)
  • Fresh or frozen raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • Crystallized cilantro leaves

Puree fresh watermelon chunks.  Pass through a sieve and measure out 3 cups of juice. Repeat with frozen or fresh raspberries, measuring out 1 cup of juice.  Mix juices together. Place one cup in a bowl and add gelatin.  Heat the remaing 3 cups liquid and sugar over medium high heat until boiling.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in cold juice/gelatin mixture, making sure there are no lumps.  Pour into jelly roll pan or edged cookie sheet.  Refrigerate on an even surface over night.   Cut out with 1½ inch heart shaped cookie cutter.  Place on serving tray or sheets of wax paper in an air tight container.  Chill until serving.  Garnish with crystallized cilantro leaves.

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