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Old 07-10-2009, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Wherever my feet take me
272 posts, read 1,371,232 times
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I was reading the thread on Morning Smoothies (thanks!) and thought I'd chime in with some recipes for Aguas Frescas. Don't know what they are? Literally translated "Fresh Waters" Aguas Frescas are traditional Mexican drinks made with three basic ingredients: Fresh fruit, water and sugar (or sugar substitute, if you want). The variations are endless, limited only by the creativity of the people who make them and what is available at the local fruterias. They are delicious, simple, the perfect thing on a hot summer day, and they are nothing like Kool-Aid!

If you've ever been in Mexico you may have seen them being served at gazillions of roadside stands (often right in someone's front yard!) and not known what they are. They are traditionally served from huge beehive-shaped glass or plastic containers called Vitroleros, ladled carefully into ice-filled glasses or styrofoam cups for your happy consumption.

The standard flavors, the "holy trinity" of aguas frescas, are tamarindo (made with tamarind), horchata (rice and cinnamon), and jamaica (hibiscus), none of which contain any fruit, lol. But you can make agua fresca from almost any juicy fruit.

Here are just a couple of recipes, and you should feel free to riff off these to create your very own concoction. Your kids will love them, and because you control how much sugar goes in (sometimes none is needed), you can make it very healthy indeed.

First, because it's watermelon season and kids love watermelon, is:

Agua de Sandía (Watermelon Water)

Agua de Sandía (pronounced Sahn-DEE-yah) is a favorite with everyone, and lends itself well to the addition of other fruits. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare and another hour or so to chill. Taste the melon before you make this; if it is a very sweet one, you might not need much sugar, if any. It makes a half gallon.

* 2 cups diced seedless watermelon, with rind removed
* 6 cups water
* 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)

Place one cup diced watermelon in blender, along with two cups of the water. Blend until liquified. Pour into a pitcher. Place remaining cup of watermelon in blender, along with two more cups water. Blend thoroughly and pour into pitcher. Add remaining two cups of water and sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Chill thoroughly before serving. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses and serve. NOTE: You can add half a dozen large strawberries to the blender for a variation on this recipe. It's VERY good!

Berry-Melon Agua Fresca

I got this recipe from Sunset Magazine, and it's my official favorite! Makes about 5 cups (serves 4)

Ingredients

* 2 cups peeled honeydew melon, seeded and cut into chunks
* 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
* 1 cup fresh raspberries
* About 1/3 cup sugar
* About 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

In a blender, combine fruit and 2 cups cold water. Whirl until puréed and add sugar and lime juice to taste.

Pour mixture through a strainer into a serving pitcher. Serve cold in tall, ice-filled glasses.

Some special tips:

1) Aguas frescas shouldn't have too much sugar -- they're meant to be refreshing thirst-quenchers, not sweet drinks. You want to taste the fruit, not the sweetener, so use the sweetener judiciously.

2) Depending on what kind of fruit you're using, tossing cut-up fruit (especially berries) with a little sugar and allowing them to sit for half an hour brings out the fruit juices, accentuates the flavors and dissolves the sugar, all at the same time.

3) Keep your eye on the produce section at your supermarket for fruits that are on sale because they are a bit past their prime (but don't buy berries that have started to mold!). These often make the best drinks because they are so full of natural sugars, and since they're going in the blender anyway who cares if they aren't pretty.

4) My favorite trick: Make two batches of your favorite agua and freeze one batch in ice cube trays to use when serving. The agua fresca cubes won't dilute the drink.

There are a couple more recipes (horchata and jamaica) on my blog, and a picture of what Aguas Frescas look like, if you are interested.

I would like to know if you make Aguas Frescas, and if so what are your favorite recipes/combinations?
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:34 PM
 
Location: NE San Antonio
1,642 posts, read 3,554,400 times
Reputation: 1430
I love watermelon frescas! I always get a few glasses from the venders at summer festivals, it's the best. Traditionally, the melon is muddled more than liquified, and there are lots of juicy chunks left in the drink.

When I make it at home, I like to use seedless melons, but it's fine if black seeds remain in the drink, as long as they are not broken or crushed. The white seeds should be removed. If you use a juicer. you can put the "pulp" back in the drink, minus the seeds.

One tip I have is to make it a little stronger/sweeter than you like to allow of the melting ice in the pitcher, which is how it is best served. It will keep in the fridge, but it is best fresh

Cantelope is my second favorite
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