Want a drink with refreshing, crisp, light flavor, several health benefits, no added sugar, and incredibly low calories, you really need to try infused water. The best way to think of infused water is like a cold-brewed tea, but with fresh fruit and herbs instead of tea leaves, and nothing dried or preserved. You make it by quite literally throwing chunks of fruit and herbs into cold water and letting the flavor seep out of the fresh ingredients into the water. This is generally done with some kind of infuser or filter that gives you clean, clear, tinted water mostly free from chunks and debris, but nonetheless infused with the “essence” of the fresh ingredients.
How Do You Do it?
You’ll want to procure an infuser specifically for this purpose; there are many ways to go, but most involve either a tank of water where you let the fruit and herbs foat about freely, with a filter on the nozzle to keep the water clean and clear, or a mesh infuser that you fill with the ingredients and immerse in the water, allowing the goodness to seep into the water while the chunks stay put and don’t float about. You can also find water bottled with an infuser core that allows you to toss in the fresh ingredients and let it infuse on the go, resulting in a tasty, nutritious bottle of goodness to sip while you’re out and about.
You generally want to let the water infuse for 1-2 hours at room temperature or 3-4 hours in the fridge for best results. After four hours, you’ll want to remove fruits from the water and refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Consider that you’re putting fresh fruit into infused water, and while you’re not getting certain benefits of eating fruits and veggies whole, like fiber content and consuming all the vitamins and minerals, not just some, infusions do create not only tasty, but vitamin-rich drinks. While supplements are useful and encouraged to make sure you get 100% daily value of all essential nutrients regardless of diet, consuming them in food and drink is generally best for maximum absorption, meaning infusions have an advantage over supplements in that regard.
Not to mention that infused water simply encourages you to drink more water. If you get tired of drinking plain water and have a hard time reminding yourself to do so consistently, infused water can help you get over that mental block with a low-calorie, no added sugar watery drink option.
Cucumber Lemon Cilantro Water (Makes Three quarts)
- Half a lemon
- 6+ sprigs of cilantro
- 2 inches of a cucumber
Cut off the top of the lemon, cut both the lemon and cucumber into ¼ inch slices. Break the stems and bruise the leaves of cilantro, and layer everything in the infusion core of an infusion pitcher. Infuse for three hours in three quarts of cold water.
Grapefruit Rosemary Water (Makes two 32 oz servings)
- One grapefruit
- One sprig of rosemary (fresh is vastly preferable to dried)
Cut off the ends of the grapefruit and remove the rind, then cut it into horizontal slices against the grain. Put all ingredients in one container and fill with 64 oz cold water, or split up this amount into multiple servings for friends or to save for later. Infuse for four hours.
Cucumber Jalapeño Mint Water (Makes one 32 oz serving)
- 3 inches of a cucumber, sliced
- ½ of a jalapeño, de-seeded
- 1 sprig of mint
Combine ingredients in a container and cover with 32 oz cold water, and infuse for 4-24 hours in a refrigerator, the longer the infusion, the stronger the flavor.