Apples are our ingredient of the season. Before falling down the rabbit trap of indulgent baked goods, we’re kicking of this series with a wholesome, homemade juice.
Now that apple season has arrived, I find myself juicing those little gems on the daily. We have a whole host of apple beverages in store for you this season, but we thought we would start out with some fresh cold juice while the weather is still warm. I never feel better than when I wake up and immediately make myself a big jar of juice and a cup of coffee. It’s 1 part routine, 1 part you’re doing yourself a favor-if you know what I mean. I’m also not a big breakfast eater, so juicing allows me to fuel my bod without munching too early, which I almost never have the appetite for.
Mint is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve used it for a couple of mojito recipes, but today we’re excited to offer some non-alcoholic options.
Ever sip on some Agua fresca? It’s basically juice made in a blender. Agua fresca is popular in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. I actually first had it in Jamaica, but at the time I just called it juice. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I realized it is known as agua fresca, which is a combination of fruit, flowers and seeds blended with water and sugar. My recipes don’t contain sugar, but feel free to add something sweet to yours if that’s your thing. After you blend the fruits and flowers, you separate out the pulp using cheesecloth or a strainer.
Water is by far my favorite beverage, but from time to time I like to switch it up a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to find a cold beverage, besides tea, that I can make on the quick and cheap, but not anymore! Agua fresca is the perfect remedy; it’s cold, tasty, healthy and hydrating. There are also a million and one variations. I looked at what I had on hand and came up with these two recipes in just a few minutes. It’s also a great substitute for juice lovers that don’t own a juicer. I like agua fresca because it keeps really well unlike fresh juice or traditional infused water (where you leave the fruit in the container). Don’t get me wrong, I love both of those options, but sometimes I want something that I can make ahead of time.
Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca Ingredients & Instructions:
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 4 cups cold water
- Cut a 1/2 inch slice off of the end of the cucumber. Rub it against the whole cucumber, quickly, for about 15 seconds. Repeat on the other end. This is supposed to draw out the bitterness. Peel the cucumber, cut it into a few chunks and toss it in the blender.
- Wash the mint leaves and add them to the blender along with two cups of cold water.
- Blend on high for about one minute. Strain the juice into your desired container and add two more cups of cold water. I used a 32 oz Ball Jar.
- Serve with ice and garnish with a few slices of cucumber and mint leaves, if desired.
Lemon Ginger Mint Agua Fresca Ingredients & Instructions:
- One ripe lemon
- 1 inch chunk of ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger paste
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 4 cups cold water
- Peel the lemon like you would an orange. Cut it in quarters and drop into the blender.
- Grate the 1 inch chunk of ginger or measure 1 Tbsp of ginger paste and add it to the blender.
- Wash and add the mint and 2 cups of cold water to the blender.
- Blend on high for about one minute. Strain the mixture into your desired container and add 2 more cups of cold water.
- *If you want to add sweetener, I suggest dissolving it in a 1/4 cup of hot water before putting it in the blender. Mint simple syrup would be perfect in these recipes. You could also use honey, stevia, raw sugar or your preferred sweetener.
I don’t know about you, but I love having multiple drinks during meals and really all throughout the day. Teas, juice, coffee and cocktails are my favorite kinds of treats. Whenever I sit down to work with a fresh cup of whatever, I feel a little bit pampered and more motivated to complete the task at hand. For me, drinking is my snacking – if that makes sense? I have to admit I favor the lemon ginger mint recipe. The combination of spicy ginger, fresh mint and tangy lemon transports me right back to summers in Jamaica. Drinking it over ice is perfectly refreshing and exactly what I need during this ninety degree North Carolina summer. It also looks a lot more appetizing, but I trust that you juice drinkers out there know that sometimes the best tasting drinks and are the worst looking. These agua frescas are so good that ca$h the dog tried to get in on the action. I dare you to blend up a pitcher for your friends. You could even add a few lemon ice cubes to their glass. I bet they’ll be requesting agua fresca every time they come over.