Kid-friendly Cantaloupe Agua Fresca Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Recipe: Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

by Erin Fletter
Photo by (Kotcha K/Shutterstock)
prep time
cook time
makes

Equipment Checklist

  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Blender
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
scale
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Ingredients

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 C reserved sparkling apple cider
  • 1 lime
  • 1/8 C honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar (or 4 to 5 stevia packets)
  • 1 C crushed ice
  • fresh mint leaves

Instructions

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

1.
chop + pour + blend + drink!

Have kids chop then purée 4 cups of cantaloupe with 1 cup of the reserved apple cider in your blender until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and about 1 cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth and icy. Next, cut 1 lime into quarters, squeeze the lime juice into each glass, and add torn fresh mint leaves. Blend a bit more, then taste and adjust flavors until you love it and serve! "¡Muy bien!" ("Very good!")

Surprise Ingredient: Cantaloupe!

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Photo by Nishihama/Adobe Stock

Hi! I’m Cantaloupe!

"I'm so happy to be part of your recipe today! I'm a variety of muskmelon with firm and juicy orange flesh. People often eat me with breakfast and in fruit salads and desserts. Because I'm made up of 90 percent water, the great taste of a juicy, sweet cantaloupe comes with a very small caloric price: only 50 calories per 6-ounce slice!" 

History & Etymology

  • Cantaloupe derives its name from the town of Cantalupo, Italy, where cantaloupe seeds arrived from Armenia and were planted in the papal gardens in the 16th century.
  • Cantaloupe has plenty of relatives! It is a member of a vine-crop family known as Cucurbitaceae, which includes other melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and gourds. It is thought that they originally grew in the wilds of India and other parts of Asia.
  • Explorers brought cantaloupe to the New World in seed form and later saw it cultivated by Native Americans.
  • Of all the melons, cantaloupe is the most popular in the United States!
  • Colorado Rocky Ford Cantaloupes have been grown in the Arkansas River Valley since 1887. 

Anatomy 

  • North American cantaloupes have a light yellow and green net-like rind or peel. When you cut one in half, you will see that its firm, moderately sweet flesh is orange with seeds in the middle. 
  • Cantaloupe sizes range from 4 to 7 inches in diameter, and they weigh between one to eleven pounds.
  • How to Pick, Buy, & Eat
  • It takes cantaloupes 3 to 4 months to grow before they are mature enough to be picked.
  • When choosing cantaloupe, do not pick one with the stem still attached, which means the fruit is immature. 
  • Look for melons with a yellowish tint to the rind and a strong melon smell. Use your thumb to press on the cantaloupe rind. The cantaloupe should yield to gentle pressure when it is ripe.
  • To ripen a cantaloupe at home, leave it at room temperature for two to four days. However, if it is already ripe, refrigerate it until ready to eat.
  • Don't forget to wash your cantaloupe thoroughly before cutting it! The surface of the rind could have harmful bacteria, like salmonella. 
  • After cutting a cantaloupe, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days until you're ready to eat it.
  • Cantaloupe seeds can be roasted and eaten like pumpkin seeds. 
  • You can eat cantaloupe by itself for a snack or with breakfast, or slice, cube, or blend it and add to salads, soups, sauces, desserts, sorbet, granitas, or drinks.  

Nutrition

  • Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. These nutrients are antioxidants, and when they are present in the food we eat, they help protect cells and fight disease. 
  • Cantaloupe also contributes to fiber intake, and fiber aids digestion and helps lower bad cholesterol levels.

 

Let's Learn About Mexico!

Photo by Alena Darmel
  • Officially, Mexico's name is "The United Mexican States." It is one of several countries and territories in North America, including Canada and the United States of America.
  • Spanish is Mexico's national language, and Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Mexican people didn't always speak Spanish, though. For thousands of years, Native Americans lived there and built great cities. The people had advanced language, education, and calendar systems, and they had very clever ways of raising food. Mexico is also the country with the largest number of native American speakers in North America. 
  • The capital of Mexico is Mexico City. Mexican legend says that Aztec leaders were told to build their great city of Tenochtitlan at the site where they saw an eagle sitting on a nopal cactus with a snake in its beak. That image is in the center of Mexico's flag. The Aztecs built their city on an island in the middle of a lake. The ruins of Tenochtitlan are at the center of Mexico City and still sit on top of a lake! As water is pumped out to serve the needs of the city's growing population, the city has been sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches per year.  
  • Indigenous Mexican people included the Aztecs in the central interior of the country, the Mayans of the Yucatan peninsula, and the Zapotec of the south. Spanish explorers landed in Mexico in the early 1500s, and they ruled Mexico for over 300 years. During this time of colonization, Mexico's Mesoamerican civilizations mixed with European culture.
  • Before the arrival of Spaniards, native Mexican food primarily consisted of corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and herbs. Indigenous people occasionally hunted and added wild turkey, rabbit, deer, and quail to their largely vegetarian diets. Native royalty sipped chocolate drinks. Europeans introduced cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, sugarcane, and wheat to Mexico upon their arrival. 
  • Mexican cuisine uses chili peppers to give it its distinct flavor. Jalapeños, poblanos, and serrano peppers are commonly used in Mexican dishes. Dishes that include mole, a sauce made of dark chocolate, chili peppers, cinnamon, and other spices, may be served on special occasions, such as Día de los Muertos. 

What is it like to be a kid in Mexico?

  • Mexican children may live near the ocean or the gulf, in the desert, or in the mountains. 
  • Kids often live with extended family, including grandparents. Their full names include their father's and their mother's.
  • Most kids speak Spanish, but Mexico also recognizes 68 native languages. 
  • They attend school from September through June. Large schools have two shifts—one group in the morning and one in the afternoon. Students are usually required to wear uniforms. 
  • They may play soccer, baseball, and other sports. Jumping rope and other outdoor games are very popular. They might play a game similar to bingo called Lotería. It is played with picture cards and songs. 
  • Corn tortillas are a staple for kids, along with beans and rice. Dishes that include mole, a sauce often made of dark chocolate, chili peppers, cinnamon, and other spices, may be served on special occasions. 
  • A popular family holiday is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a celebration to remember and honor a family's ancestors. Family members decorate the graves of their relatives who have passed on. Typical foods served for this holiday include empanadas, tamales, pan de muertos (a sweet bread in which a ring with a tiny plastic skeleton is hidden), and calaveras de azucar (sugar candy skulls). 

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