Melon Seed Horchata & Agua de Limon – Two Quick Refreshments, Mexican-Style

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Cooling down in the heat of the summer comes in all kinds of guises, but here are two dead simple – and unusual – recipes that use two common fruits as their ingredients. Any visitor to Mexico will recall the agua frescas, fresh fruit waters, showcased in large glass jars that line the counters of the many fondas. We’re all familiar with the agua de jamaica, the bright red beverage made from dried hibiscus flowers, and the rice-based horchata, two common beverages offered at most taco stands in Canada, but they’re are other options. For example, perfectly ripe cantaloupe melons are readily available in the markets right now, and you can make a wonderfully refreshing agua fresca using the basic ratio of 8 cups chopped fruit to 6 cups water, with sugar to taste (about 3/4 to 1 1/2 cup), and a hit of freshly squeezed lime juice. But I’d like to turn your attention to the melon seeds that most would throw away. The seeds make a surprisingly refreshing and flavourful  drink, an horchata, if you will. I first read about this curious beverage in Diana Kennedy’s book, the Essential Cuisines of Mexico, and the recipe is a regular summertime refreshment at our house. For every one cup of seeds, add 1 cup of water to a blender along with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste, and hit of freshly squeezed lime juice. Blend until throughly smooth and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the cantaloupe flavour to concentrate. Strain the creamy-looking mixture through a strainer directly into ice-filled glasses. The flavour is delicately cantaloupe-y and deeply refreshing.

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When life hands you limes, you make limeade, and this version is another dead simple and surprising bevvie that can be made with nothing more than two whole limes, a bit of sugar and water.

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The recipe uses the whole lime, peel and all. The peel adds lime-y fragrance, and the pith, slight bitter-y notes. It’s meant to be drunk right away, over ice. If left for more than an hour, the bitterness becomes too pronounced to be enjoyable. So go get a couple of limes and set to work! Wash two limes well, and cut in half or quarters, removing any seeds.

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Toss the lime pieces in the blender along with 1/2 cup of sugar, or to taste, 3 cups of water and blend until very smooth. Adjust sugar, blend again and then strain through a sieve into a large pitcher. Stir well before filling ice-filled glasses. Be refreshed!

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One Response to “Melon Seed Horchata & Agua de Limon – Two Quick Refreshments, Mexican-Style”

  1. […] Melon Seed Horchata Don’t throw away those pesky melon seeds! Save them and blend them into this frothy, refreshing […]

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