watermelon agua fresca

Believe it or not, watermelons are a vegetable, not a fruit. They are part of the Curcurbitacae family which includes cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. They are super nutritious and high in vitamins A & C. Watermelons are also a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, thiamine, magnesium, potassium and copper. They contain the antioxidant carotenoids beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene (in which it is especially high). Lypocene has been studied for it’s antioxidant activity and how it induces apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells but not normal cells. Prostate cancer in particular seems to be mentioned frequently with the study of lypocene.

Watermelonsbelieve to have originated in Africa, with the first recorded watermelon harvest nearly 5,000 years ago. Watermelons were held in such high regard by the Egyptians that they were even placed in the tombs of kings! Early explorers used them as canteens. Today watermelons are grown in over 96 countries with over 1,200 varieties.

What’s in a serving? One 10-oz wedge of watermelon contains 86 calories, 1.7 g protein (wow!) and 1.1 g fiber. The recipe below uses half of a small watermelon or about three 10-oz wedges. 5 g of protein in my juice, not bad!
Traditional aguas frescas are made with fresh fruit, water & sugar.  Since watermelon is plenty sweet and full of juices, I prefer to omit both when I make my own super easy Watermelon Agua Frescaat home.

HERE’S HOW:


Step 1 – select your watermelon

  1. Gently tap or knock on the watermelon. The more hollow the sound, the riper the melon.
  2. Look on the underside of the watermelon for the spot where it rested on the ground. This spot should be light yellow not white.
  3. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Look for one that weighs a little more than similar ones of the same size.
  4. Look at the stem area, it should be shrunken and dark green to brown.

Step 2 – slice & core
For this recipe, I use half of a small melon which I have pre-refrigerated so it’s cool and crisp. Leave the seeds in but cut the green/white rind off (although that part is perfectly edible).
Step 3 – Vitamix! If you don’t have a super duper Vitamix, any blender will do. Blend on high until seeds & fruit are well pulvarized. You know how much I love my Vitamix – it will pulverize any fruit or veggie down to it’s cellular level, creating a juice which your body can easily absorb with all those great vitamins while retaining all the fiber. I don’t add any water or liquid, tho I do use the push down tool the vitamix comes with to get it going.


Step 4 – Pour and serve

YUM-O! makes 2 tall glasses.

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