Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fruit-Infused Waters

The original fruit-infused water, lemon water, is still a great
choice for quenching our summer thirst, and may provide
a number of additional health benefits, as well.
It's the height of summer, the hottest months of the year, and we attempt to quench the summer heat with tall glasses of icy, tropical drinks.  We enjoy pina coladas at the beach, chilled rosés and sparkling white wines, pitchers full of fruity sangria, and sample a selection of new rum cocktails.

I could totally drink my way through summer ... fresh juices and coffee for breakfast, kefir or a healthy kale smoothie at mid-morning, a protein shake for lunch, and an iced coffee or a fruity cocktail in the afternoon.  Well, I could do it for a one-week vacation, anyway!  But the calories would soon begin to pile up on that regimen, as appealing as it sounds to me right now.

A much healthier way to drink in summer is with a constant supply of fruit-infused iced waters, trying out different combinations that appeal to us most, without all the sugar that come with many other beverage choices.

Some bottles come with their own
built-in strainers, perfect for infusing
Fruit-infused waters made quite a splash a number of years ago.  We first encountered them in spas, and from there it was a short leap to beauty salons and fitness clubs.  Next thing we knew, they were everywhere.  They went well beyond a simple slice of lemon in our water ... they were infused with cucumber and mint and berries and melon.  They were thirst-quenchingly refreshing and seemed to wake up our palate without all the sugar inherent in straight fruit juices or alcohol.  They are exactly what our bodies need in the summer when we're outside in the heat swimming, playing sports, sightseeing or engaged in other summertime activities.  In fact, many swear by them for detoxifying, which sounds like a perfect thing to do in the summer.

Considering that it's recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and more when you're active and sweating, fruit waters are just the thing to make sure we stay hydrated, include vitamins and nutrients in our diets, and add deliciously interesting notes to our tastebuds.  For many, flavored waters go down much easier than plain.

Reading a book outside with a cold beverage by
your side is exactly what summer is all about ...
especially when it's this pineapple/cucumber/jicama
combo made with satisfyingly fizzy sparkling water
You can also use bottled water, spring water, or even sparkling waters to add some nose-pleasing bubbles to your drink ... which enhances the total experience.  If you're missing soda, sparkling waters will definitely satisfy.  And bringing a bottle of fruit-infused water with you wherever you go is such an easy thing to do. Some of the suggested benefits of drinking fruit-infused waters may include:
  • Keeps you hydrated
  • Adds vitamins and minerals (such as potassium and vitamin C from citrus)
  • Improves skin quality and may help reduce wrinkling
  • Supports weight loss
  • Aids digestion and may help relieve gas and bloating
  • Freshens breath
  • Helps prevent kidney stones
  • Promotes a healthy liver
TIPS: Always slice your fruit for maximum surface area, so the flavors can seep out of the fruit.  Likewise, always crush any herbs or bruise the leaves with your fingers so that the flavors are released into your water.  Allow the fruit water to sit for 2-4 hours before drinking, in order to achieve full flavor.  Any water left over for more than a day can be strained (to make sure the fruit doesn't begin to decompose), and enjoyed later.  The strained fruit will not have much flavor left, but can still be blended into smoothies or salad dressings, if desired.

Or  just go ahead and make it a fruit cocktail
with all the fruit you have on-hand!
There are many recommended fruit combinations out there, and I like to try out my own ideas with whatever fruit I happen to have on hand.  The more sliced fruit you put in, the more flavor is extracted.  And don't forget flavorful herbs or spices, such as mint, basil, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, or even jalapeño slices, when you're looking for an extra zing of flavor!
  • Lemon slices and dried lavender
  • Lemon slices, raspberries and rosemary
  • Lemon slices and thyme
  • Lime and mint
  • Lime and cilantro
  • Orange slices, star anise and hibiscus petals
  • Grapefruit slices and rosemary
  • Grapefruit, lemon and cucumber slices
  • Grapefruit, mint and cucumber
  • Citrus water made with lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and tangerine slices
  • Chunks of watermelon and basil (bruise the leaves by scrunching them between your fingers to allow the flavor to seep through)
  • Cantaloupe and lime
  • Cantaloupe and cucumber
  • Honeydew, cucumber and mint
  • Take with you to the beach or pool!
  • Halved grapes and orange slices
  • Mixed sliced berries
  • Strawberry slices and torn mint leaves
  • Strawberry and cucumber slices
  • Strawberry and lime slices
  • Strawberry and jalapeño slices
  • Blueberries and orange slices
  • Blueberries, lemon slices and rosemary
  • Blackberries, orange slices, and ginger
  • Cherry halves and lime slices
  • Mango and papaya
  • Mango and pineapple
  • Mango, raspberries and ginger
  • Pineapple and coconut (chunks or add coconut water)
  • Pineapple and basil
  • De lime and de coconut  ;-)
  • And don't forget parties!
  • Kiwi and tangerine
  • Kiwi, watermelon and mint
  • Pomegranite and grape halves
  • Rose petals (clean) and cardamom pods
  • Apples, rosemary and lemon
  • Peach and peeled ginger slices
  • Pear slices, a piece of ginger, a vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks (think how good this would taste warmed up as a tea in winter, as well)
  • Pear slices and fennel
  • Pear and star anise
  • Orange slices and cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and cloves
  • Apples, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks (may take longer to infuse the water)
  • Persimmon and cloves
Well, you get the idea.  Just about any combination will work, and you'll discover your favorites.  Remember to stay hydrated this summer, and by adding warm spices such as cloves and cinnamon, you can continue to enjoy these flavorful waters through the fall and winter months, too!

And while you're at it, remember to make some sun tea, too ... which is another delicious and refreshing summer infused water!  Bottoms up!

Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts: 

The Soundtracks of Summer
What music will be playing through your head this summer to get you into vacation-mode?
Happy 4th of July!
Honoring our Independence and the men and women who serve!
Food Porn
It has become a national obsession ... we're salivating over food and all the food shows on tv.
Summer Entertaining ...
the perfect way to entertain.
Herb Harvest
There's nothing like growing your own fresh herbs!
Sunshine In A Jar
Preserved lemons are a game-changer!
Men's Favorites
The care-and-feeding of hungry men is always a priority ... especially on Father's Day!
Outdoor Spaces
Bringing the indoors outside is just how we want to live in the summertime.
Camp Summertime!
a.k.a. What did you do during your summer vacation?
The Fruits of Summer
There's fruit in my salad!
Cooking with Herbs
Herbs are making a tasty appearance in some of your favorite desserts!
Locally-grown farm-fresh products and produce are the best!
The Romance of Travel
Falling in love with a new destination, adventure, and new vistas.
The Icing on the Cake
Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
How It All Began
The very beginnings of Afternoon Tea.
Top Chef - Colorado
A celebrity in the family!
The First Sign of Spring Quiche
Spring means quiche, at least it does at my house!
Do-Gooders!  My sister's non-profit, Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!

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