Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watermelon Milk

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family eats on $6/day or less.

Lately Mark has had a terrible sore throat. This has made him unable, or at least unwilling, to eat much peanut butter. Since peanut butter is the very food that keeps the child alive, this has been a small problem.

As a result of this and the fact that we've got an overabundance of various melons in the refrigerator right now, you'll be seeing a smoothie recipe or two popping up this week as I try to feed my child and use up my food (why is it that such a simple-sounding thing should take so much creativity).

Now onto watermelon milk. It sounds weird. I get it; it sounded weird to me too when I first tried it. I think this is especially true since the word 'watermelon' contains the word 'water' and that we generally don't like to speak of combining water and milk because we all know what that makes: skim milk, right. Okay, okay, I'm kidding. Just a little jab there at my skim-milked past (although technically skim milk and all milks sold at the store, including organic milks, are in fact dry milks that have been reconstituted with water at high heat). But yes, I digress. My real point is that watermelon milk is totally awesome.

I first had it when I was in Taiwan for several months. In Taiwan the street vendors sell "milks" of various sorts, which are really a lot more like milkshakes (fruit, milk not of the skim variety, and plenty of sugar) only without the freeze.

For whatever reason I'd never recreated this, probably because I believed in my heart of hearts that it contained 4 gallons of sugar to every cup of watermelon. Maybe that was true at the stands in Taiwan (though probably not), but what I found when I began experimenting is that a decent summer watermelon is sweet enough to carry a lot of the sugar load on its own. I could have drunk my watermelon milk without any sugar, but I wasn't sure my kids would. And I have to say that by adding 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar this drink really soared to a whole new level. A level I like to call dessert--healthy style.

A few notes:

1. Do not oversweeten it. Sure, it'll taste, well, sweet, but you'll lose some of the pure watermelon-y goodness.
2. If you use skim milk, I can't guarantee it will turn out as well. A bit of fat does this recipe good. (Frankly, I think it does the body good too, but you can argue with me if you wish.) I used raw milk which is quite whole. I wouldn't recommend going below 2% milkfat.
3. If your melon is kind of blah, bland, this drink is a great way to redeem it, but yes, you'll probably want to add a bit more sugar.
4. Since different watermelons have different amounts of watery-ness to them, you're going to get slightly inconsistent results with this. Your drink is not meant to be thick--remember it's a 'milk' not a 'shake', but if it really just seems kind of overly thin (after you drink it), you may want to add a dash of cream to it. (Heck, why wouldn't you want to do that whether it's thin or not).
5. Use cold watermelon. It's just so much better.

Watermelon Milk
makes 3 C
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cost: $1.05
(watermelon: 1.00, milk: .03, sugar: .02)

3 C seedless watermelon
1/2 C whole milk
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (more if watermelon is blah)
1 Tbsp cream (optional--I didn't do it, but wouldn't fault anyone who did)

Blend in blender until smooth and pink-frosty.



  1. This sounds good to me... almost like that strawberry milk syrup that you can buy in the store, but healthy and way less sugar!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I had this in Taiwan years ago and suddenly had a craving for it during this hot spell we're having in the south. It was perfect and the kids loved it. Thank you for bringing back great memories.

    1. Oh my gosh. How fun. My favorite milk wasn't the watermelon. it was something else, but the saddest thing is I can't remember what it was. Was it guava, mango? I don't know.. It was a fruit I'd heard of, but wasn't super familiar with at that point in life (though I hadn't heard of much; I was a little food dumb). When I got back I never tried to reproduce it because I didn't cook at all back in those days, and now I can't even remember the fruit. Aging is too cruel.



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