This Watermelon Granita is the perfect cold refreshment for the summer. Granita is the next best thing to a gelato or ice cream. Although similar to a sorbet and a slushy their textures are different. Sorbet is softer and smoother and can be scooped like gelato/ice cream. A granita is crunchy with bits just like shaved ice. Hence the name granita, which sounds like ‘granite’, granite which is coarse and grainy just like a granita.
Granita originates in the south of Italy, in the region of Sicily. These shave-like ice crystals are served all year round but are most popular in the summer. As the granita is a perfect icy refreshment for hot weather, especially in July and August. One of my favourites for the summer months is a zesty watermelon granita. On the itinerary of most travellers to the region of Sicily is to try the granita. Delicious when served with a freshly baked soft brioche or on its own. One of the most popular Italian franchises that serve delicious granita is GROM. They offer a variety of gelato and granita flavours.
What makes a granita?
Granita is typically made with water, flavourings, and colouring. However, when I make a granita, I like to use the actual fruit instead of artificial flavours. In addition, using the fruit itself gives a natural colour. Some of my favourite fruits to use are blueberries, watermelon and oranges. Sometimes a layer of all three or a mixture of two. I had a large piece of leftover watermelon. Hence why I opted to make this zesty watermelon granita. Watermelons are very refreshing, sweet, colourful and perfect for the summertime. Only three ingredients were used in making this zesty watermelon granita. It could easily be two ingredients (fruit and sugar)depending on the blender/food processor’s power.
- Watermelon – Any fruit of your choice will work also. You can start with this zesty watermelon granita recipe. Then experiment with other fruits.
- Sugar – The addition of sugar in a granita is important because it aids the crystallization effect. If you take out the sugar you will most likely end up with a sorbet or a slushy.
- Orange – The natural sweetness of the watermelon with the addition of sugar can be a little much. I choose to add both the orange juice and zest to add a little zestiness. This creates a richer dual-toned flavour. The liquid also aids in blending the frozen fruit into a smoother paste.
Zesty Watermelon Granita made with 3 ingredients
- 1.3 kg watermelon
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- 1 orange
- Cut the watermelon into small cubes, discard the external layer and remove as many seeds as you can (it's ok if some seeds are left).
- Place the chopped watermelon into a dish/tray/tub and place in a freezer until completely frozen.
- Using a peel, peel a couple of rinds of the orange zest. Then cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Measure out 1/3 cup of the orange juice.
- Add the frozen watermelon, 1/3 cup sugar, the orange peel and 1/3 cup of orange juice into a blender or food processor. Then blitz until smooth.
- Pour the blended mixture into a tub/tray/dish and place it into a freezer for at least two hours. In between this 2 hours period, take the tray out of the freezer and scrape/break the watermelon mixture apart every 30-40 minutes. By the 3rd or 4th time you should have a crystalized shaved-ice texture. Serve and enjoy!