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Celebrate Summer with These 7 Agua Frescas

Happy Memorial Day Weekend - hard to believe it's already here - the day/weekend we pay respect to the fallen soldiers who served in the US military.

Of course, it's also the unofficial kickoff to Summer! 

And with it comes hot weather. Last weekend Tim and I and several of our neighbors hosted a yard sale. The temps were in the 90's, and for the first time in quite a long while, after spending 10 hours in that heat, my clothes were literally stuck to my body. I felt like I was caked with dirt. It was gross. And I longed for something cool and fresh to drink.  

Flash forward to yesterday. My friend and neighbor, Tony - who you may remember as a recipe contributor in the "Eat Like A Gilmore" cookbook - came over. Tony and I talk about all kinds of topics, but one of our favorites is food; especially fun new things to experiment with in the kitchen. I was telling him about my desire for a cool, fresh-tasting, summery drink and that I'd been thinking about tinkering around with aqua frescas.

"Agua Fresca" is Spanish for "Fresh Water". Agua Frescas are just that - waters, which are flavored naturally, typically with fruit. Others are made with vegetables, herbs, and even grains. In fact, Tony explained to me how the popular agua fresca, Horchata, is made - using rice, cinnamon and milks. Rice! Who knew? 

As we talked more, we both realized that Lemonade is, technically, an agua fresca! 

All of this talking got us excited to try making some of our own. So we hit our favorite market in Burbank - Handy Market. An independently-owned, old school market with a fab meat counter and tons of beautiful produce. It's literally one of the best parts of living in Burbank - shopping at Handy Market! I found this place during the grocery store strikes of the early 2000's and it's been my primary market ever since. It's a special place. But don't take my word for it, ask pretty much any Burbank resident. 

Anyway - we went to Handy Market, filled up our entire cart with pineapples, watermelons, mangoes, lemons, limes, and tons of berries. Once we got home, we fired up both his blender and mine, and made 7 different agua frescas. It took us all day, but the loved the results!

We hope you do, too.

Here they are - cheap & simple to make, refreshing to drink, fun and festive.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Kristi (&Tony)

 

 

7 Agua Fresca Recipes

 

1. Watermelon Agua Fresca

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups    Watermelon, seedless, cubed
  • 1/2 cup   Sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 4 cups    Water, divided

STEPS

  • Blend: Combine watermelon, sugar and 1 cup of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. 
  • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.
  • Add Water: Stir in remaining 3 cups of water. 
  • Serve: Serve over ice.

 

2. Pineapple Agua Fresca

INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 cups    Pineapple, rind and core removed, cubed 
  • 1/2 cup   Sugar (adjust to taste) 
  • 6 cups    Water, divided 

STEPS 

  • Blend: Combine pineapple, sugar and 1 cup of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes.  
  • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher. 
  • Add Water: Stir in remaining 5 cups of water.  
  • Serve: Serve over ice.

 

3. Cucumber Lime Jalapeño Agua Fresca

INGREDIENTS  

  • 2 cups    Cucumber, peeled, cubed
  • 1 cup      Lime juice, freshly sqeezed
  • 1/2          Jalapeño, with seeds, stem removed
  • 1/2 cup   Sugar (adjust to taste)  
  • 6 cups    Water, divided  

STEPS  

  • Blend: Combine cucumber, lime juice, jalapeño, sugar and 2 cups of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes.   
  • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.  
  • Add Water: Stir in remaining 4 cups of water.   
  • Serve: Serve over ice.


    4. Mango Ginger Agua Fresca

    INGREDIENTS   

    • 3 cups    Mango, peeled, cubed 
    • 1 T          Ginger root, peeled, chopped
    • 3/4 cup   Sugar (adjust to taste)
    • 1 cup      Lime juice, freshly sqeezed 
    • 8 cups    Water, divided   

    STEPS   

    • Blend: Combine mango, ginger, sugar and 2 cups of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes.    
    • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.   
    • Add Water: Stir in remaining 6 cups of water.    
    • Serve: Serve over ice.


    5. Horchata 

    INGREDIENTS    

    • 1 cup      Rice, long grain, uncooked 
    • 1 stick    Cinnamon (Mexican cinnamon sticks recommended for their break-ability)  
    • 4 cups    Hot water, hot to the touch but not boiling 
    • 8 oz.       Evaporated milk, canned 
    • 8 oz.       Sweetened condensed milk, canned 
    • 1 t           Vanilla 

    STEPS    

    • Soak: Combine rice, cinnamon stick and hot water in blender. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. 
    • Blend: Blend mixture on high for 1-2 minutes. Stop blender and let mixture stand for an additional 6 hours. 
    • Blend again: Blend 2-3 minutes until rice is very fine.  
    • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.    
    • Add milks and vanilla: Stir in both milks and vanilla. 
    • Serve: Serve over ice.

     

     

    6. Strawberry Mint Agua Fresca

    INGREDIENTS   

    • 2 cups    Strawberries, stems removed 
    • 1/4 cup   Mint leaves 
    • 1/2 cup   Sugar (adjust to taste)   
    • 4 cups    Water, divided   

    STEPS   

    • Blend: Combine strawberries, mint leaves, sugar and 1 cup of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes.    
    • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.   
    • Add Water: Stir in remaining 3 cups of water.    
    • Serve: Serve over ice.

     

    7. Thyme Lemonade

    INGREDIENTS   

    • 2 cups    Lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
    • 1 T         Thyme, fresh
    • 1 cup      Sugar (adjust to taste)   
    • 7 cups    Water, divided   

    STEPS   

    • Blend: Combine lemon juice, thyme, sugar and 2 cups of water in blender. Blend on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes.    
    • Strain: Strain liquid from blender into pitcher.   
    • Add Water: Stir in remaining 5 cups of water.    
    • Serve: Serve over ice.

     

     



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