Summer treats to keep you cool

There’s more to enjoying watermelon and cantaloupe besides just slicing and eating. Cheers to fruity recipes to help you keep cool this summer using South Carolina grown produce! Try the Lee Bros. recipe for watermelon margaritas, with or without alcohol, from their award-winning cookbook, The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern. They say it’s"the perfect drink for steamy summer evenings on the porch." Another “cooling and delicious dessert” is cantaloupe mousse from cookbook author and South Carolina farmer Dori Sanders. If you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this quick and easy recipe for watermelon-mint ice pops is perfect.

Try all of these recipes this summer while the harvest is plentiful! Matter of fact, stop by a Certified South Carolina produce stand like the Sanders Farm Stand in York, SC, and pick up your fresh watermelon and cantaloupe to make these summertime treats!

Watermelon Margaritas

By Matt Lee and Ted Lee, From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern
Photo by Bob Fink

Serves 8

Time: 15 minutes

Watermelon MargaritasThe perfect drink for steamy summer evenings on the porch! We tame the deliciously syrupy sweetness of watermelon juice with lime juice and tequila to make a margarita so balanced and easy-drinking, you’ll need to watch yourself (and the porch railing!). Note that if you let it sit, the watermelon juice separates into a thick red pulp and a clearer liquid; since you want the pulp to give this drink luxurious body, be sure to whisk up the juice thoroughly before pouring it into the shaker.

  • 4 pounds seedless watermelon
  • Eight 1-inch-long strips lime peel
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) fresh lime juice (from about 16 small limes)
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) tequila blanco (“silver tequila”)
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) Triple Sec, Cointreau, or other orange liqueur


  1. Cut the flesh from the melon (discard the rind), chop it into chunks, and transfer it, in batches if necessary, to a food processor or blender. Liquefy the watermelon. You should have about 1 quart watermelon juice.


  1. For each cocktail, salt the rim of an 8-ounce glass by first smearing it with a piece of lime peel and then dipping it in a saucer of kosher salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add 4 ounces tequila, and 1 ounce orange liqueur. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass. Garnish with the lime peel.


VARIATION: Watermelon Lime Cooler: If you’re the abstemious type, omit the alcohol in this drink, pour it over ice, and you’ve got a really delicious summer cooler. You may want to add a splash of seltzer to make it a little less sticky. (You’ll see what we mean).

Cantaloupe Mousse

From Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking

Serves 4

  •  ½ large or 1 small ripe, sweet cantaloupe, seeded and rind removed
  •  The juice of ½ lemon
  •  2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  •  A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 small cantaloupes, halved, seeded, and chilled
  •  Fresh mint springs for garnish


  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the peeled and seeded cantaloupe until smooth. Measure 1 cup of the puree into a small bowl, add the lemon juice, chopped mint, and salt, and mix well. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 to 3 hours, then press through a fine sieve using the back of a wooden spoon.


  1. Transfer the strained puree to a small saucepan. Sprinkle with the gelatin and allow to stand 2 to 3 minutes. Place the saucepan over low heat and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Pour into a medium bowl and refrigerate until cooled and just slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes.


  1. In a small, chilled bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the whipped cream into the melon puree. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, gently folding once or twice during this time.


  1. Mound the mousse in the chilled melon halves, garnish with mint, springs, and serve.

Watermelon-mint Ice PopsWatermelon-mint Ice Pops

By Allen Williams, Eating Out Loud

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime

  1. Watermelon and mint are an amazing combination, like Bogart and Bacall. Begin by removing the watermelon rind and slicing your watermelon into small cubes. It’s easiest if you use a seedless watermelon but if you buy one with seeds (like I did), you’ll need to seed the watermelon before you puree it.

  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender then puree. I used a stick blender and it made quick work of the job. Pour the mix into your molds and freeze!