Summer may be over but in Southern California, we still have a couple months of sunshine and heat! One great way to hold onto to Summer is with some fun cold beverages, like fresh Agua Frescas. These Mexican coolers are a lot more exciting than their name, “water refreshments” suggests. They are actually a great way to feature super sweet and ripe late-summer fruit in a cold and refreshing beverage. All you need is fruit and water and you’re on your way! Best of all, it’s made in a blender so the kids can help put this recipe together!
Here are some of our favorite things about these cool drinks:
- TASTE & VARIETY – These drinks are truly like having your favorite fruit in a glass! We love the traditional watermelon agua frescas but also like to try other seasonal stars like mango, blackberries, apricots and strawberries. We also put our spin on these drinks by adding in some fresh mint, lemon or lime juice for a little something different.
- NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS – While fruit is high in natural sugars, most are also high in vitamins and dietary fiber. Some standouts right now include: mangos (each one has your daily dose of beta-carotene), apricots (3 little guys equal over 35% of your daily dose of Vitamin A) and strawberries (super high in fiber and nearly your daily dose of Vitamin C). Making these drinks in the summer when the fruit is really ripe means you’ll need very little added sugar (or none at all!). We like using agave instead of sugar in our drinks because of its neutral taste and lower hit on the glycemic index (this means it’s got a better impact on our blood sugar than regular white sugar or honey).
- SHOPPING TIPS – This is THE time of year to go to the Farmer’s Market. The fruit you buy there not only supports local farms, but will taste better than your supermarket options. The key to a good agua fresca is really ripe fruit – so buy the ripest you can find or let it sit out on your counter for a few days. When it’s just about too ripe to eat, it’s ready to blend!
Aqua Frescas with Fresh Fruit
makes 6 cups
- 1 cup sliced fruit, such as watermelon or strawberries
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 cup agave syrup, plus more to taste
- 2 tbl fresh lime juice
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 cups ice
- In a blender, combine all of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. (NOTE: If your fruit is very ripe, omit the agave or just add a little to taste.)
- Taste and add more agave syrup to reach desired level of sweetness. Serve immediately.
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