A Slice of Sweetness

S.C. Bradford Watermelons Pack a Punch

Coastal Flavors headline

Coastal Flavors page1 photosIn the South there are many things we revere. Near the top of the list is our heritage and a good juicy watermelon. Watermelon lovers, have we got news for you; The Bradford watermelon is on the scene, offering flavors that are sparking chefs’ creativity and rediscovering food enthusiasts’ love of a slice of sweetness.

In the 1850s, Nathaniel Bradford of Sumter, S.C. developed a unique watermelon breed known as the sweetest and most flavorful, right down to its dark green skin. However. by the early 1900s, watermelons were bred for a tougher, thicker skin, sacrificing flavor in order to be shipped more easily. With these new cultivations, Bradford watermelons fell to the wayside commercially, but the original Bradford watermelon continued to be grown by the family.

Today, Nat Bradford, wife Bette and their family of five have revived his family’s heritage: a 170-year-old family heirloom breed line—the Bradford watermelon. Nat’s journey doesn’t start with the normal business strategy meeting, but instead, in church, when he heard a stunning statistic; “Every day around the world over 3,000 people die of illnesses from poor drinking water, many of them are small children. That’s one person every 30 seconds. Most can be cured with a 30 cents pill.” That instant, Watermelons for Water was conceived. Nat uses watermelon sales to help provide funding for the drilling of fresh water wells in Tanzania and Bolivia. And, their watermelon seeds provide a simple crop to cultivate, which gives people there a huge, delicious melon full of naturally purified water.

The Bradfords haven’t stopped at the melon. They offer a variety of products including: super crisp, sweet rind pickles; handcrafted smooth Bradford family watermelon brandy; and two varieties of pure watermelon molasses, a perfect complement to dishes, sauces and a great base for stout beer. You can even grow your own. In the same manner as the Bradford ancestors, seeds are selected annually from the best watermelons of the crop to create heritage seeds that have preserved the unique sweetness and tender rind of the Bradford watermelon.
Bradford Watermelons are delivered throughout S.C., but must be ordered in advance. Log onto their website: www.bradfordwatermelons.com to learn more.


Cheese Ball with a Bradford TwistCheeseBall 72
Prep Time: 20 mins  |  Total Time: 2.5 hours

2 (8 oz.) Cream cheese, room temperature
2½ cups Sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Ground pepper
1 cup Pecans, finely chopped
Bradford Watermelon Rind Pickles

In a large bowl,  combine cream cheese cheddar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a large pinch of pepper. Beat with a mixer until thoroughly combined. Mix in ¼ cup pecans. Cover cheese mixture with plastic wrap, and chill at least 2½ hours or up to overnight.
Divide the cheese mixture in half and shape each half into a ball. Spread remaining pecans on a plate, and roll balls in pecans to coat completely, pressing nuts to stick well. Serve chilled and garnish with rind pickles.

Bradford Watermelon SangriaSangria002 72
Pure happiness in a glass…it is super smooth and goes down way too easy. Cheers!

12 cups Bradford Watermelon, cubed and seeded
1 bottle Dry white wine
1 cup Vodka
½ cup Triple sec
½ cup Simple syrup
1 med. Lime, quartered
1 Orange, cut into wedges
1 cup Fresh blueberries

Place 9 cups of watermelon in the blender and blend on high until very smooth.  Strain the juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher.  Pour in wine, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into the pitcher.  Stir to combine.  (Do a happy dance, this is going to be good.) Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes, orange sections, lime quarters and the blueberries into the sangria.  Chill for 4 hours before drinking it all!

Recipe and photography by Heather Grilliot—photographer and blogger behind www.flowereggsandoil.com.

Bradford Watermelon Lemon Pepper Mint JellyPeppermint Jelly

This is the perfect jelly to serve over cream cheese on crackers. The taste of the sweet watermelon is followed by the bite of the lemon pepper and finished with sweet mint. It’s delicious!

Yields:  4 - 12 oz jars and 2 - 8 oz jars or 8 - 8 oz. jars
6-8 cups Bradford Watermelon, cut into chunks
¾ cups Red wine vinegar        4 tsps Dried mint
6 Tbsp Lemon juice concentrate     4 tsps Lemon pepper
1 pkg. Sure-Jell powdered pectin    7½ cups Sugar

In a large stock pot, add watermelon chunks and mash slightly. Then add lemon pepper, dried mint, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and Sure-Jell. Heat to a rolling boil (one that doesn’t stop when stirring). Add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil, stirring to prevent sticking, for one full minute. Remove from heat and ladle jelly into sterilized mason jars, leaving ¼-inch head-space. Cover with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool on a kitchen towel on your counter top for 24 hours. Store in pantry for up to a year. Once opened, jelly should be refrigerated.

Cook's Note: Watermelon jellies take a bit of time to set. Do not be surprised if it is not fully set until the next day.

Recipe by Mary Marshall, Food Blogger and Owner of All Things Food—Cooking with Mary and Friends Blog. Mary believes in supporting small, local family farms, Farmer’s Markets and local establishments to help “grow” their businesses. Connect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or at www.cookingwithmaryandfriends.com.

Bradford Egg SaladEggSalad 72Have a favorite egg salad recipe? Add some diced Bradford Watermelon Rind Pickles as a fresh, flavorful, unique relish.

6 Hard boiled eggs, diced
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Yellow mustard
⅛ - ¼ cup Diced Bradford Family
Watermelon Rind pickles, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Freshly chopped thyme, to taste

Add enough mayonnaise to bring the diced eggs to the desired consistency.
Stir in the diced rind pickles and chopped thyme. Salt and pepper to taste.

Bradford Watermelon MargaritaMargarita

For Freezing:
½ med. Bradford seeded watermelon, chopped into 1” cubes
½ cup Tequila
¼ cup Orange liqueur
(Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, etc.)

For Blending:        
2 shots Tequila    
1 shot Orange liqueur    
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Agave

For Serving:
Coarse salt    
Extra lime wedges
Basil leaves, optional

Place chopped watermelon in a large, freezer-safe container. Poor tequila and orange liqueur evenly over chopped watermelon. Cover and freeze for 12 hours or overnight.

Transfer frozen watermelon and any liquid remains from your alcohol to a high-quality blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If mixture is still too thick, slowly add a little more alcohol until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Run a lime wedge around the rim of each glass. Place salt on a small, flat plate and press the top of each glass into the salt. Fill each glass with frozen margaritas and serve immediately.

Notes: You may freeze your watermelon up to 3 days if you wish to prepare ahead of time. If all of the frozen watermelon does not fit into your blender, start with 1 shot of tequila and ½ shot of orange liqueur and slowly add from there. All blenders and watermelons are different, so start slowly with the alcohol and add as you go.

Recipe and photography by Heather Grilliot—photographer and blogger behind www.flowereggsandoil.com.

Feta Bradford Watermelon BitesBites

Super sweet melon paired with the saltiness of feta cheese are a perfect match. Fresh basil from the garden and sweet tangy balsamic glaze bring perfect harmony to these hors d’oeuvres.

Bradford Watermelon seeded and cubed
Whole feta cheese cubed
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic Glaze

Drizzle balsamic glaze on plate,  then layer watermelon, feta, basil and top with remaining watermelon.  Secure with a skewer or toothpick.

Recipe and photography by Heather Grilliot—photographer and blogger behind www.flowereggsandoil.com.


You can find Bradford Watermelon among some of the top Lowcountry chefs’ delicious recipes.
The A-List:  Chef Patrick Wagner’s Wild Boar Loin with Bradford Family Watermelon Molasses, pickled rind, and spicy mustard  •  Chef Travis Myers at Willow’s Bistro: Apple-Cheddar-Prosciutto Waffle with Bradford Family Watermelon Red Molasses  •  Chef Kevin Mitchell’s Bradford Watermelon Pickle Salad with Arugula, Cucumber and Mint, with Anson Mills Benne Seed Oil Sorghum Vinaigrette and many more       Log in www.bradfordwatermelons.com to check out more!



Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.