As a little girl, watermelon seeds terrified me.

My mother, bless her heart, had tried to answer the “where do babies come from” question as honestly and appropriately for a 5-year-old as she could. But somewhere along the way, I began believing that babies came from watermelon seeds. Swallow one of those and yikes! Motherhood lurked around the familial corner.

I’m not sure when I realized the error of my ways (probably after swallowing a watermelon seed and not having a baby), but the story of “Susan & The Baby Seeds” entertained my college friends to no end.

“You were marred!” my friend, Sally, used to say. “No wonder you’re so high-strung!”

Happily, watermelon seeds don’t scare me anymore. But they make my children (born the appropriate way) shudder.

watermelon“This is way too seedy,” my youngest said the other day as we cut into a giant melon harvested from our garden. “I can’t eat it.”

Poor boy. Both he and my oldest have grown up with watermelons engineered for no seeds. They don’t know the joy of spitting contests or counting how many seeds your melon slice has compared to your cousin’s. They want to shove the ruby flesh in their mouths and swallow … no extra work required.

Because I can’t eat a huge melon myself, I’ve tried to be accommodating. I made a couple of watermelon salads, meticulously picking out seeds as I diced the fruit.

But as my oldest used to say: “Hard work.” Way too much trouble for a summer salad.

That’s why I love this recipe:

watermelon sorbet2

Watermelon sorbet spiked with liquor and lime.

You puree a couple pounds of watermelon (seeds included) then mix in sugar, lime juice and your choice of liqueur. The melon and sugar create sweetness; the lime adds tartness; the booze keeps things creamy.

And the biggest surprise? Those tiny specks of watermelon seed lend just an edge of bitterness — and a nutritional boost.

Turns out, watermelon seeds are good for you. They’re loaded with protein, B vitamins and a bunch of minerals (like magnesium) that our bodies crave.

I wish I’d known that when I was younger. It would have saved me a lot of 5-year-old worry.

And changed the story of “Susan & The Baby Seeds.”

Watermelon Sorbet (adapted from Gourmet)

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds watermelon flesh, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon liquor (try vodka, triple sec, Cointreau or tequila)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and add more sugar or lime juice if desired.

Pour the puree into an ice cream maker. Process for 25-30 minutes.

Spoon the sorbet into a plastic container and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Scoop into bowls and enjoy — fruit and seeds both!

watermelon sorbet1