Guess who’s CSA box showed up with a cantaloupe in it 2 weeks in a row?! Oh man, cantaloupes remind me of weekend visits to my grandparents when I was a kid.
My grandmother could always pick the perfect cantaloupe out of the pile at the market. I would watch her sniff them, push on the “button” as she called it, and tap on the rind. I didn’t really understand all of the steps she performed, but what I did know was that when we went back to her house we would partake in the sweetest, juiciest slices of cantaloupe ever.
I can vividly remember her shaking a little salt over each slice before we ate it, and trust me when I say I ate my weight in it every visit. To this day I still don’t have the cantaloupe picking magic down, but I imagine it comes with many more years worth of experience in the kitchen.
My CSA cantaloupe wasn’t near as sweet as one my grandmother would have picked for me, so I decided to take a different approach and turn that melon into a beautiful summertime drink that my whole family could enjoy. Think cantaloupe meets homemade lime-aid; mouth watering yet? I have had to make this cantaloupe and lime agua fresca now 3 times because my family keeps downing the pitchers faster than I can photograph it which I guess means it’s pretty darn good.
- 4 cups filtered water, divided
- 1/2 cup raw or coconut sugar
- 3 cups seeded, peeled, and diced cantaloupe
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- generous pinch of salt
- cantaloupe spears
- lime wheels
Make a simple syrup
- In a small saucepan combine 1 cup water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
Make the agua fresca
- Blend the diced cantaloupe and 1 1/2 cups water in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. If you don’t have a high-speed blender you might need to strain the cantaloupe through a sieve to remove solids. Transfer to a large pitcher.
- Add the lime juice, an additional 1 1/2 cups water, the cooled simple syrup, and salt to the cantaloupe puree in the pitcher. Stir well to mix. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.
- Serve over ice with lime wheels and cantaloupe spears in the glasses.
For a more intense lime flavor add 3 or 4 of the juiced lime rinds to the agua fresca during the chill time. Just be sure to remove them after a few hours or they will over power the cantaloupe flavor.