Refreshing Aztec Aguas Frescas

refreshing aztec aguas frescasThe story goes that Aguas Frescas were invented by the Aztecs, who created them to restore and refresh themselves on long, hot journeys. They’d pick some fruit along the way, muddle it with water and herbs and voila, a sweet, tangy, tasty concoction! Fast forward to now where you’ll find them in your favorite Mexican restaurants.

display of fruitsI’m about to whip up my favorite Agua Fresca flavor combinations for the troops. It’s mid-afternoon on a hot summer day and they’re  getting hungry and thirsty. We sometimes drink lemonade or iced tea with our afternoon snack, but today I’m going to use the fruits and mint I picked up at the farmer’s market to make several yummy Aguas Frescas. The recipe is simple and they should be ready soon. They’ll go really well with the local cheeses and fresh, crusty bread.

You’ll need these:
Sharp knife
Strainer or sieve
Rubber spatula
Blender
Tall glass tumblers

To make these:

Melon Nectarine Agua Fresca
Ingredients:
1 cup ripe melon (cantaloupe, honedew, crenshaw, persian, emerald gem, honeyrock, musk, or ambrosia), rind and seeds removed, cut into chunks
1 cup ripe nectarines, washed, pitted and cut into chunks
2-3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey, agave nectar or raw sugar

Mango Papaya Agua Fresca
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1/2 cup ripe papaya, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1-1/2 cups cold water
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons honey, agave nectar or raw sugar
6 fresh mint leaves

Strawberry Peach Aqua Fresca
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and washed
1/2 cup ripe peaches, washed, pitted and cut into chunks
1-1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey, agave nectar or raw sugar
6 fresh mint leaves

Watermelon Banana Agua Fresca
Ingredients:
1 cups watermelon, rind off and cut into chunks
1 ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1-1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon honey, agave nectar or raw sugar

And you’ll need these ingredients for all of them:
Plenty of crushed or cubed ice
Fresh mint leaves to garnish

Directions for all Aguas Frescas:
Each recipe serves 2.
Squeeze the lime juice.
For the recipes that call for mint, put 3 fresh mint leaves in the bottoms of the glasses and muddle them.
Chop most of the fruit into large chunks.
Save some to slice and garnish the glasses at the end.
In a blender, combine fruit and water and blend until smooth.
Pour into a strainer and push the liquid through with a rubber spatua into glasses.
Stir in lime juice and honey (or agave nectar or raw sugar).
Add ice cubes or crushed ice.
Garnish with sliced fruit and mint leaves.

Which is your favorite? Have you tried other fruit combinations?

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