I was recently teaching a diabetes education class when the topic of healthy beverages came up. I encourage drinking water or nutrient rich beverages such as low-fat milk and 100% fruit juices as opposed to “drinking calories” in the form of sugar sweetened beverages.
Occasionally people tell me they do not like plain water and ask about adding mixes, sweeteners, etc., to their water. Instead of adding powders and mixes, turn plain water into a tasty delight by infusing it with the flavor of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs!
The first step is to select your desired flavor. Try the following combinations for variety of tastes:
- grape pineapple – 16 oz water, 6 grapes and a 3-4 inch pineapple spear
- cucumber – 16 oz water, 1 small cucumber, sliced
- mango mint – 16 oz water, ¼ mango sliced, 1 sprig of mint (about 4 leaves)
- lemon orange – 16 oz water, 1 lemon, sliced and 2 small oranges, sliced
- apple cinnamon – 16 oz water, ¼ apple (gala) and 1 cinnamon stick
- orange pineapple – 16 oz water, 4-6 inch pineapple spear, 1 small orange sliced
- berry splash – 16 oz water, 4 raspberries, 2 blackberries, 2 strawberries
Once you have decided on your flavor combination, prepare your produce. Always wash produce prior to adding it to your pitcher, jar, or infuser. Use water slightly warmer than the produce itself. You may need to scrub fruits and vegetables with hard or coarse skins. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas.
Next, put it all together. While purchasing expensive infusers has become a trend, it is not necessary. Simply fill a pitcher with water and add your favorite fruit, veggie, and herb combinations.
Finally, refrigerate for approximately 2 hours to infuse flavor and enjoy! Keep in mind, the longer the infusing time, the greater the flavor. You can safely store most infused water combinations for up to 3 days. Mixtures with small pieces, such as crushed fruit, will deteriorate more quickly than those with whole fruit/veggie pieces.