My son loves strawberries. One time, on our way to travel to visit my mom, who is only about 2 ½ hour drive away, we stopped at a grocery store for snacks. I got a small bag of super spicy chips for myself, chocolate for Tony, and a pint of strawberries for our son. He wasn’t the least bit fazed by the fact that his parents were chowing down on junk food. He had a boat load of strawberries in his paws.
My son’s affinity for these little red lovelies leads me to checking on them quite often at the store. And even though it’s not quite strawberry season, lately I’ve been noticing that strawberries are inexpensive and abundant. Music to my ears.
There are a plethora of ways to turn mountains of fruit into pure culinary gold– jams, pies, freeze it later for smoothies. But today we’re going to make them into a luxurious drink, an agua fresca to be exact.
I love aguas! You can make almost any kind of fruit into a delicious drink in no time flat, I’ve even seen one made with winter squash. Pineapple, jamaica (hibiscus), cucumber, guava, lime, coconut– you name it! Agua frescas (fresh water in Spanish), are nothing more than blended ingredients with the addition of a bit of sugar and a healthy portion of water, strained, and served ice cold. Ahhhhh…
Homemade drinks don’t get enough credit. They don’t have to be super fancy or complex, either. Sometimes, it just means working with what you’ve got– like cantaloupe seeds. This particular agua is silky and substantial and that’s because of the melon seeds that are tossed in. When blended, they turn into a kind of almond milk, or melon milk, if you will. With the addition of the tart strawberries and lime juice, you have a well-balanced drink worthy of a dinner party or just for sipping with the fam.
You know what takes this drink to a whole different level? The mint sprig. When you stick your nose on those leaves as you’re sipping the drink, it’s just wow! You get a minty aroma without the bitter flavor that can come when mint leaves are marinated in the drink.
Too little time? Try this hack! It’s hard to make this recipe easier or faster because it’s as simple as blend, strain, serve– but yes, life can get easier. Got a few ugly strawberries hanging out in the refrigerator? Seeds from a watermelon? Half a cucumber that no one’s interested in? Don’t throw it away! Cut and wash these tid bits, then place them in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for later use. Once the bag is full, you can toss them in the blender with some water and sugar. Ka pow! You’ve got a delicious, flavorful agua using things that might have been discarded. Inexpensive and effortless, it’s a win-win.
I don’t know about you, but I often have a hard time getting our family to finish off an entire melon. Unless it’s one of those ridiculously sweet and juicy ones you find in August, cantaloupe just seem to hang around the house. It’s awesome knowing I transform leftover bits of any fruit into a refreshing drink.
What things do you have lying around that would make a fantastic agua? We wanna hear all about it. See ya later!
- 1 cantaloupe, about 2 ½ pounds
- ½ pound of fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6 cups water
- ice for serving
- fresh mint for garnish
- Cut the cantaloupe in half along the equator. Place the cantaloupe, cut side down, onto a cutting board and slice off the skin. Cut into medium sized chunks and place the cantaloupe in a blender along with the seeds. The seeds add a silkiness to the agua, so please do not discard them!
- Remove the green tops from the strawberries and place in the blender along with the sugar, lime juice, and 1 cup of the water. Blend on high for 2 minutes, then strain into a bowl or pitcher with a fine strainer. Because there is a lot of fiber that will be strained out, I like to strain it with a coarse strainer, then a fine one. If you have cheese cloth on hand, you can strain the agua with this. It works wonderfully to make the agua very smooth.
- Stir in the remaining 5 cups of water. Place the agua in the refrigerator or serve immediately. Pour over a good amount of ice and top off with a sprig of fresh mint. The mint adds so much color and aroma to this agua, don’t forget it. 🙂 Enjoy!