The only things that seem to be doing well in my garden this year, are my herbs and cucumbers. And with the extreme heat we have, I have not been willing to turn on the stove to do can any pickles this year. I have been trying to find creative ways to use all of the cooling cucumbers growing prolifically in my small kitchen garden.
While at the pool one day, I slipped cucumber slices into my sparkling water, it was amazingly refreshing. The smell of the fresh cucumber with the sparkle of the water seemed to cool me down instantly. A few days later I was chopping up a melon and plopped a couple of pieces into my sparkling water and slipped in a cucumber slice. It was amazing, I was so impressed with myself! I then thought,what would a little mint do to this drink? I went out to my container garden and grabbed a few sprigs, and it just put the drink over the top!
It has been hard to find ways to cool down this summer, I have been reading lots of variations of recipes of lemonade and this seemed like a natural application. When you use the bounty of the season, things that are naturally refreshing like melons and cucumbers, you can’t go wrong. Because cucumbers and melons are typically over 90 percent water, they have been used to cool the body and throat for centuries.
The great thing about cooking and creating is that nothing is off-limits, if you put a combination together and it does not work, no worries. Like this recipe, my family really didn’t go for it. Mike, my husband doesn’t like cucumbers at all. Alex and Elliot needed the drink sweetened up a bit, so for them, I added a little honey and lime/lemon juice to make it more like a gourmet lemonaide.
You will be able to find most of the ingredients for the cooler at the market on Saturday. Many of the farmers have cucumbers, some will have melons and you can find honey from Bee Hill honey or Gary at Shadeux breads. I look forward to having you taste the melon cooler and hearing your feedback about it.
People can be funny about melons, they have very distinct opinions about them. My boys LOVE watermelon, but will not eat honeydew or cantalope. The nice thing about this recipe is you can use whatever type of melon your family prefers. Once again, no rules here, just a method. You can adjust the recipe to your liking. If you do not want sparkling water in the recipe that is fine, it will not matter. For me, I love the carbonation, it just makes drinks seem more refreshing to me.
I hope this recipe helps you cool down, and enjoy the rest of summer!
Sparkling Melon Cooler-Serves 8
Puree 4 cups of melon and press through a fine strainer or cheesecloth, reserve juice.
Slice a peeled cucumber into 16 slices
1/4 cup of mint
Mint sprigs, at least one per glass
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1-2 liter botttle of club soda, plain sparkling water or plain water.
Fill 8 glasses with ice. Place two cucumber slices, and mint sprig in each glass. Mix honey, lemon or lime juice together, muddle mint in bottom of pitcher. Add melon juice and stir. Add water or sparkling water to pitcher give one final stir, Pour over ice and enjoy.