Melon Agua Fresca

Here in southern California the summer heat is just beginning to ramp up.  With temperatures that hover near 100 degrees sometimes into October, staying cool and hydrated is high on our list of priorities.  My husband came across this recipe on Foodwishes.com and asked me if I could make it.  I just happened to have half a watermelon in the refrigerator so my answer was, “Absolutely!”  I researched the heath benefits of watermelon and was surprised at what I found:

Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually considered a nutrient dense food, a food that provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a low amount of calories.
Watermelons have become synonymous with summer and picnics, and for good reason. Their refreshing quality and sweet taste help to combat the heat and also provide a guilt-free, low maintenance dessert for kids and adults alike to enjoy.
Along with cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. There are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini (also known as personal), yellow and orange.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of watermelon and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more watermelon into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming watermelon.
Nutritional breakdown of watermelon

1-1244912058986lAlong with cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae.
One cup of diced watermelon (152 grams) contains 43 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2 grams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrate (including 9 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fiber) and 1 gram of fiber. One cup of watermelon will provide 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron and 1% of calcium needs for the day.
Watermelon also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene and betaine. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable.
Despite being a great source of the above nutrients, watermelon is made up of 92% water.
(Excerpt taken from Medical News Today. Originally published: Sunday 10/6/13)

Watermelon Agua Fresca
Watermelon Agua Fresca

6 cups fresh scooped or chopped watermelon
2 cups cold water
Simple syrup or other sweetener to taste (optional)

1. Place watermelon and water into the large Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
4. Blend for 30 seconds.

No straining needed
No straining needed

Food Tip: This recipe makes 2 quarts but it can but cut in half and made in the smaller container. Unlike with a standard blender, there is no need to strain out the fibers from the watermelon seeds. The Vitamix blends so completely that, not only are there no fibers, there is very little recognizable pulp when you drink it. Watermelons are typically at their peak of sweetness between June and August so, unless you have a serious sweet tooth, there is no need to add any sweetener.  Don’t like watermelon?  Try the same recipe with cantaloupe.  It is just as refreshing!

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Money Tip: As with any fruit, buying watermelon in season is always cheaper especially if you buy them at a farmer’s market. I recently purchased a 25 pound watermelon on sale for just over $3.

Time Tip: The original recipe used a standard blender that required 1 minute of blending. When made in the Vitamix it took 30 seconds and there was no time spent on straining.

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