Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Infused Water

Let’s take water to another level. Infuse it with fresh fruit, fragrant fresh herbs and spices. The warmer months are approaching (well at least here in Nashville), for some of you it’s been warmer for a while now or soon approaching for the rest of you; either way hydration is of utmost importance. Mother nature has a strong presence and voice in the spring and summer time as we’re always called outside to play, be more active, enjoy the wind, feel the sunshine, appreciate nature and the etherial qualities of blooming flowers and plants, and all the amazing outdoor activities with loved ones!
Engaging in these activities and naturally moving more requires more fluids and keeping ourselves hydrated. This is where the most important beverage of all comes into play, water! Lets face it, I hear all too often “McKel, I hate water” “I don’t like the way it tastes”, “I forget to drink enough”, etc. Water doesn’t have a taste and maybe therein lies the whole challenge to drinking enough or more water, it lacks flavor. Now of course, simple and plain water is the perfect choice, but if that’s not going to do it for you, lets infuse it!
Following the above comment, I all to often hear of individuals drinking “natural” waters, infused with “fruit” and “vitamins” , or even flavor droppers. Have you ever read the nutrition labels or ingredient lists on any of these so called natural waters? Most of them include a variety of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, added vitamins/minerals, artificial colorings (Red 40, Blue 1), sodium, sucralose, sucrose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugar (gasp!). Leave the vitamin waters, sports drinks, and other “fruit” and “natural” flavored “vitamin” waters on the grocery store shelves…it’s time to make our own!
Pictured } cucumber + rosemary + grapefruit, blackberries + orange + sage, lime + lemon + cilantro
Introducing a guide on all things Infused Water, learn how to make your own healthy, nutritious flavored water with nothing artificial just the goodness of real foods, herbs, and spices.
Infused Water Ingredients:
Fruit |
  • Citrus | grapefruit, lemon, Meyer lemon, key lime, lime, blood orange, orange, tangerines
  • Berries |  strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries
  • Tropical | pear, pomegranate, mango, pineapple, banana, kiwi, starfruit
  • Melons |  honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon
  • Other | apples, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines
Vegetables | cucumber, carrots, celery, peppers (hot or sweet)
Herbs | mint, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro
Spices | ginger, cinnamon stick (ground cinnamon will float), black pepper
Water | filtered water, sparkling plain water (St. Peligrino, etc.)
A general rule of thumb, is to experiment and have fun with this! Choose ingredients you enjoy and try new things you haven’t tried before.  To get you started, here are several “menu” options no how to mix and match these ingredients.
Pictured  Top L–>R } apple + lime + sage, cucumber + grapefruit + sage, lime + kiwi + basil, blackberries + fuji apple + basil
Pictured } Blackberries + rosemary + grapefruit in sparkling water 
Nutrition Stripped Infused Water Menu:
*// indicates OR to give you several options
  • grapefruit + sage//rosemary//mint//basil
  • lemon + mint//cilantro//basil
  • lemon + lime + cilantro
  • lemon + ginger
  • Meyer lemon + tangerine + pear + hot green pepper + cilantro
  • lemon + orange + ginger
  • blood orange +
  • cucumber + lemon + lime + mint//basil
  • cucumber + grapefruit + sage//rosemary
  • cucumber + watermelon + mint
  • carrots + apple + lemon + ginger
  • carrots + pomegranate + sage
  • honeydew + cantaloupe + watermelon + sage//mint
  • watermelon + mint//rosemary//basil
  • cantaloupe + blood orange + lemon
  • pear + rosemary//sage
  • banana + nectarine + basil
  • blackberries + raspberries + strawberries + mint
  • strawberries + grapefruit + sage
  • apple + plum + blueberries + mint//sage
  • cherries + lime + mint
Now that you have the ingredients and ideas on how to pair these together, here comes the “recipe” portion.
  1. First, simply add the fruit//vegetables in the glass first, take a muddler (or just use a wooden spoon or regular spoon) to slightly mash and breakdown the fruit//vegetables.
  1. Tip: peel the citrus fruits from their skin to avoid a bitter taste.
  1. Next, simply take the herb//spice of choice and gently bruise the leaf (i.e. gently mashing), this helps release the natural extracts and oils from the herb//spice.
  2. Lastly, add either sparkling water or good ole’ filtered water and drink!
  • Side note | these can be stored in air tight glasses as shown above, simply in a mason jar, glass pitcher, water bottle, gallon jug, etc. Whatever works for you!