Melon Granita: Colorado Proud Recipe of the Month for August
Last updated 8/16/2022 at 3:19pm | View PDF
Rocky Ford cantaloupe is a sweet and healthy treat for all Coloradans and visitors to enjoy. Impress your guests with this cool, indulgent twist on a local favorite. Did you know Rocky Ford cantaloupes typically make it from the field to the market in less than a day? For maximum freshness, look for that Colorado Proud logo and the Rocky Ford Growers Association sticker!
Since 1887, Colorado's melon production has centered in the Arkansas Valley, producing some of the highest quality commercial cantaloupe in the U.S. People travel to Rocky Ford each year to sample the delicious melons, tour the melon fields, and take a few home. This year, Melon Day, celebrated annually at the Arkansas Valley Fair, falls on Saturday, August 20, so make sure to stop by if you're in the area.
Researchers say Rocky Ford melons are sweet because of the wide temperature swings the region experiences during the summer. Days can reach as hot as 100°F while nights may have lows in the 50s. The combination of warm weather, dry climate, and high elevation (more than 4,000 feet above sea level) may increase sugar production. The cool Colorado nights then allow the sugars to accumulate in the melons as the growing process slows down
Each month the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different ag commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown and raised in the state. For August, Chef Jason Morse of 5280 Culinary brings us a chilly treat to enjoy.
Chef Jason says, "Sweet and juicy Colorado cantaloupe just got even better with the help of some simple syrup and the freezer. Take a break from the heat with this cool and refreshing twist on sorbet. Happy Cooking!
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., 5280 Culinary, LLC and Ace Hardware Grill Expert
Yield: ½ gallon Granita (serves 10-12 people)
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Freeze time: 3 hours (approx.) stir every 30 minutes using 2 large dinner forks
• 1 Colorado cantaloupe 2-3lbs, washed, peeled, and diced
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or lime juice
• ½ cup granulated cane sugar
• ½ cup water
• 1 tbsp vanilla, paste or extract
To Make Simple Syrup:
1. Place ½ cup of water in a small saucepan
2. Add to stove and turn on heat to medium high
3. Add sugar and cook until fully dissolved
4. Turn off heat and remove pan
5. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes
6. Add vanilla and mix well
7. Place in fridge and let cool completely for 1 hour
1. Make Simple Syrup – see above
2. Wash, rinse and dry cantaloupe
3. Peel, seed and dice cantaloupe
4. Place cantaloupe into blender and close lid, double check lid
5. Add simple syrup
6. Pulse the mixture by starting and stopping.
7. Then turn to high and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth
8. Place granita mix into a rimmed baking sheet
9. Place in freezer and freeze for 30 minutes
10. Remove and stir granita to start making flakes
11. Place back in the freezer and repeat this process every 30 minutes
12. Total time should be 3 hours, or until frozen completely and flaky
13. Scoop and serve
Leftovers (if you have any!) can be stored covered in the freezer for up to 1 week.
If you are of legal drinking age and would like to add a flare of alcohol, use one of the many local brands you can find in Colorado like: Jones House Vodka. They support local farmers and ranchers by utilizing local grains. Keeping it alcohol free? Try a refreshing kombucha from Happy Leaf crafted in the greater Denver area.
Visit ColoradoProud.org for a complete list of recipes.