In keeping with my complete and utter refusal to abandon summer produce just yet, this Melon Agua Fresca is brought to you by the fact that I’m the only person in my house who will eat melon.
Trying to coax my husband into eating anything other than watermelon is an exercise in futility. I might as well offer him socks on toast. Bear in mind that this is the man who I’ve gotten to try beef tongue, sauerkraut and even pâté. But he turns his nose up at melon, go figure.
Conversely, I love melons of all varieties. (And all the bawdy jokes that were thrown around by cheeky market stall owners that horrified me as a kid, but now make me chuckle to remember).
So at this time of year, I have a habit of going a little overboard. And, unsurprisingly, little old me can’t make much of a dent in multiple melons once I’ve over enthusiastically purchased them and then brought them home to a kitchen in Arizona without air conditioning. What? I said I loved them, not that I’m the sharpest tool in the shed.
So that’s where light, summery drinks like this Melon Agua Fresca with Cucumber and Mint come in. (Also, popsicles).
They’re a great way to use up an (over)abundance of seasonal fruit. For some extra hydration and to cut the natural sweetness of the melon, I added some English cucumber and fresh mint, along with fresh lime juice. This went really well with the citrus notes of the Lemondrop melon I used here, but would also be the perfect pairing for galia, honeydew or cantaloupe.
If you wanted a stronger herbal note, I recommend swapping out the mint for some fresh basil, in which case you might like to swap the lime for fresh lemon juice, too.
Either which way, you will want to pick the freshest, sweetest melons you can find for this recipe. If the melon isn’t fully ripe, it will be lacking both flavor and sweetness, making for a bland, watery result. Here are some tips from The Kitchn for picking the perfect melon!
If your melon isn’t quite there or if you just prefer your drinks a little sweeter, feel free to add a little honey at the blending stage. Make sure you give the Melon Agua Fresca a good stir once it’s chilled and ready to serve, before you pour it into glasses.
Traditional agua frescas blend the fruit with an appropriate ratio of water, but since the water content of melons is so high, I like to blend them without adding extra water. That way, I can top the drinks off just before serving with some sparkling water for a little fizz. You can use plain sparkling water, but I also like either Cantaloupe Grapefruit La Croix or Cucumber Spindrift with this Melon Agua Fresca.
When it comes to serving, I like to gussy things up a little. Fill each glass with ice to your liking along with a lime wedge and a few cucumber slices. Pour over enough Melon Agua Fresca so that the glasses are about 2/3rds full. Top off with the sparkling water of your choice and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Hey look, now you’ve got a drink and a snack!
Got some watermelon instead? Make my Watermelon Agua Fresca with Mint, Ginger & Lime!
- 10 cups / 1.4 kg chopped galia, honeydew, cantaloupe or lemondrop melon (see notes)
- 2 cups / 280 g peeled & chopped english cucumber
- ¼ cup / 60 ml lime juice
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint, about 25 leaves
- optional, to taste, raw honey
- BLEND: Add the melon, cucumber, lime juice and mint to a blender pitcher and blend until smooth.
- STRAIN: Depending on your blender, you may need to strain out some foam or leftover solids. If that's the case, place a fine mesh strainer over a large pitcher and pour the juice through the sieve to strain out the pulp a little at a time. Use a spoon to stir up and press down on the pulp each time, then remove and discard it. If you wish, taste and add honey a tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, blending to combine until the sweetness is to your liking.
- CHILL: Pop the pitcher into the fridge until the juice is well chilled, at least three hours. Stir well once chilled.
- SERVE: Fill glasses with ice and pour the chilled melon juice over until the glasses are about ⅔rds full. Add a wedge of lime and some cucumber slices to each glass and top them off with the sparkling water of your choice. If you want to be super fancy, thread a few melon balls onto mini cocktail bamboo skewers and place across the top of each glass. Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy straightaway!
This recipe was included in the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.
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