Agua Fresca De Fruta
Mexican Fruit Cooler
This basic recipe for aguas fresca is delicious with any of these fruits:
Honeydew or Cantaloupe Melon
Mango (use only 1 cup fruit; about 1 small mango)
Pineapple with a few fresh basil leaves
Strawberries (halved) with a few fresh mint leaves
Seedless Red Grapes (whole)
Red or Green Cactus pears (a.k.a. prickly pears) halved, pulp and seeds scooped out (wear rubber gloves)
2 cups cold water
1 cup ice cubes
2 cups fruit* (see list of fruits above) cut into 1-inch pieces unless otherwise specified
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
In a blender combine all ingredients and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Pour cooler through a fine sieve into a glass pitcher. Chill cooler and stir before serving.
Makes about 5 cups.
AGUAS FRESCAS VARIATIONS:
Agua De Tamarindo
4 ounces tamarind pods* (see note below) or tamarind pulp (about 1/3 cup)
6 cups water
2/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 cups ice cubes
If using tamarind pods, twist stem ends and pull to remove strings. Discard peel. In a saucepan bring 4 cups water to a boil and add peeled tamarind pods or pulp and sugar. Simmer mixture 5 minutes and remove pan from heat. Let mixture stand at least 2 hours at room temperature to infuse and up to 1 day, covered and chilled.
Pour infusion through a sieve into a glass pitcher, pressing pulp through sieve, and discard seeds. Stir in remaining 2 cups water and ice. Chill cooler and stir before serving.
Makes about 8 cups.
Agua De Jamaica
This traditional agua fresca gets its glorious red color from the jamaica, or hibiscus, flower, whose natural sourness is counteracted by the sugar.
4 cups water
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers* see note below (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 cups ice cubes
In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add flowers. Simmer mixture 5 minutes and remove pan from heat. Let mixture stand 30 minutes to infuse.
Pour infusion through a sieve into a glass pitcher, pressing on solids, and discard flowers. Add sugar and ice, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Chill cooler and stir before serving.
Makes about 6 cups.
*Note: Tamarind Pods and Dried Hibiscus flowers (known as Jamaica) may be purchased online at: http://www.mexgrocer.com and Dried Hibiscus flowers can usually be found at health food stores. Tamarind Pods can also be found at Thai or Mexican food stores.
Date: March 7, 2003