Horchata de melón, a refreshing drink splashed with lime juice, uses parts of the melon typically discarded in the North American kitchen. The netted cantaloupe rind, you’ll be relieved to hear, won’t see any blender action here. The glistening seeds, however, encase delicately flavored kernels rich in protein and beneficial oils. Strained to remove the coarsest bits of the brittle outer shell, the resulting nectar makes the most of what melons have to offer within its rough exterior.
The melon seeds also thicken the drink slightly, just enough to be satisfying without being exceedingly heavy. Chufa or tiger nuts serve this purpose in the original Spanish horchata while rice and almonds followed in the Yucatecan adaptation. All three have the subtle and nutty sweetness of each respective ingredient but this humble version alone boasts of fresh cantaloupes and lime.
recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy’s Essential Cuisines of Mexico
Horchata de Melón
Melon / Cantaloupe Seed Drink
Cantaloupes, or any melon varietal
Scoop out the melon flesh, seeds, and juice.
For every cup of melon flesh, seeds, and juice, add:
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- I’m not much of a stickler for specific ingredients, but the clean and light flavors of horchata de melón will suffer without freshly squeezed lime juice. It has to be freshly squeezed.
Put all the ingredients together in a blender jar and blend until very smooth. Take a whiff of the horchata de melón through the lid opening as it blends. Repeat as necessary.
Taste and adjust the sugar and lime juice if necessary.
Let the blended mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour. Strain using a fine mesh strainer and serve over ice cubes.