Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Infused Water

When I was younger, I rarely drank water.  I lived off Cokes in my teens, Diet Cokes in my early twenties, and Coke Zero after that.  I always felt like they gave me headaches (especially the diet ones), and were perhaps responsible for many other health issues I had at the time.  In my mid-twenties, I decided to give up my daily soda habit, and switch it out with water.  Since then, my afternoon headaches disappeared, my teeth feel consistently cleaner, my energy is higher, and all those annoying little health issues disappeared.  I definitely attribute my water intake to my huge improvement in overall health.

Fortunately, I'm one of those people who love the taste of water, so I happily and easily drink at least 80 ounces of water a day.  Asides from coffee, milk, and alcohol, the only beverage you will find in my house is lovely filtered tap water.  Yes, not even juice.  There is no significant nutritional benefit of juice.  If you really want the benefit of vitamins from a fruit, eat the actual fruit, where the minerals and vitamins aren't literally watered down and filled with sugar.  I know, I know, kids love juice.  Kids also love ice cream, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give my kid a bowl of ice cream every day. Juice, like ice cream, is a once-in-awhile treat in our house. But I digress...

I know some people don't like the taste of water.  And there are others that just find it boring.  Or perhaps you are trying to kick the soda habit, and need a "patch" so to speak.  Or maybe you are like me, and just want some fancy water to have for your guests.   Infused Water (also called Spa Water) is what you are looking for.  It has all the benefits of healthy, glorious water, plus the taste of fruit, without any added sugar. Plus, it looks real pretty in a carafe.  

Infused Water is very simple to make.  Simply put your fruits and/or herbs in the bottom of a large carafe.  Muddle slightly with the end of a wooden spoon, and cover with water.  I often use frozen fruits for both convenience and to keep it chilly.  Pop it in the fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours) and then serve.  You can filter out the fruits and herbs if you like, but I just keep it in the carafe. Depending on the ingredients you use, the water should be good for 3-5 days.  I do recommend removing any citrus slices after 12 hours or so, as the rind might make the water bitter.

Here are some of my favorite Infused Water combinations that I've tried so far:

Cucumber-Lemon Water

1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
Optional: 5-6 Mint Leaves
2 Quarts of Water

Raspberry-Lime Water

1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Raspberries
2 Limes, sliced
2 Quarts of Water

Pineapple-Mint Water
2 Cups Cubed Pineapple
8-10 Large Mint Leaves
2 Quarts of Water

Orange-Vanilla Water

1 Orange, sliced
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Quarts of Water

There are many more flavor combinations that I plan on trying in the future. I'll update this post when I get around to trying any of them.  If you are feeling adventurous, and try out any of these combinations below, be sure to report back in the comments!

Watermelon & Basil

Lemon & Ginger

Cherry & Lime

Melon & Rosemary

Blackberry & Sage

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