Cousin to the cucumber, the watermelon is believed to have first taken root in South Africa's Kalahari Desert. Its frequent appearance in hieroglyphics suggests that the watermelon was being cultivated in India and Egypt as early as 2500 B.C. Today, more than 500 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide.
So, how do you pick out a good melon? Look for one that's symmetrical, with a yellow underside — a sign of ripeness — and no nicks or bruises. Store the watermelon at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Mark Twain may have described the flavor of a juicy watermelon best by saying, "When one has tasted watermelons, one knows what angels eat" — and he never even sampled one of these frosty smoothies. You may want to consider buying "seedless" watermelon, which has small, white seedpods (instead of black seeds) that are edible and virtually unnoticeable once you blend the melon. For a special touch, serve in tall frosted glasses and top with a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips.
About 10 minutes before you're ready to mix the smoothies, place four tall glasses in the freezer to frost. Then wash the whole melon as you would other fruits and vegetables, and cut it into quarters. (The number of quarters you'll need to yield 3 cups of cubes will depend on the size of the melon.)
Slice each quarter you plan to use lengthwise into three wedges, then slice the flesh away from the rind. Use a fork to scrape away the seeds and chop the melon into cubes.
Combine the crushed ice, watermelon cubes, lime juice and watermelon, raspberry, or lime sherbert, and blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the frosted glasses and top each one with a half dozen or so miniature chocolate chips. Serves 4.