Melon Seed & Almond Horchata


Melon Seed & Almond Horchata
Adapted from The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz

1/2 cup melon seeds*
1/2 cup raw almonds (with or without skin)
1/2 cup sugar (or sweetener of choice)*
zest of one lemon (or lime), grated or finely chopped
6 cups water

Blend melon seeds and almonds in a blender or food processor until finely ground.  Combine ground seeds/nuts with sugar, 4 cups of the water, and the lemon/lime zest.  Let sit overnight or at least 6 hours at room temperature.

The next day, process the mixture in a blender until well blended and milky (about 30 seconds).   Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or muslin.  Squeeze out all of the liquid from the solids.  Put the seed/nut pulp back into the blender and add 2 cups of water.  Blend until milky, another 30 seconds.  Strain again and squeeze out all of the liquid using your hands.

Chill the horchata and serve over ice. 

* Notes:

The original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but I found that to be too sweet.  Add sweetener to taste if you like it sweeter.

You can find melon seeds at most Indian food markets and maybe at Latino markets.

Don't leave out the lemon/lime zest, it really adds something to both the fragrance and the taste!