I recently borrowed Put ‘Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook by Sherri Brooks Vinton from my local library, and I would recommend it. It’s organized by type of fruit or vegetable, and has some novel approaches in amongst all the usual jams and preserves. Plus it’s funny and witty, which is a nice change from the usual staid canning books.
One of the new ideas for “preserving” she includes was some agua frescas, mostly made with melon. I tried the cantaloupe version, which is perfect for my household because the spouse doesn’t like cantaloupe and I always seem to end up with a bowlful of very ripe pieces that I just can’t eat fast enough, no matter how small a cantaloupe I buy. This is my version, slightly revised from hers to work successfully with a blender and with simple syrup. I thought it was tasty and a nice change-up for hot summer weather.
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
Take one cantaloupe, deseeded and chopped roughly (or whatever leftover melon you have around) and put it in the blender. Add a little water and blend until pureed (do in multiple batches if necessary). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and let drain, pressing on the solids to release all the liquid. Pour into a pitcher and add water, simple syrup or sugar, and lemon juice to taste (Vinton recommends 1 c water, 2 T sugar and the juice of one lemon for one average-sized cantaloupe). Serve chilled over ice.