Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Cooler 2: Strawberry - Pineapple Agua Fresca




Pinterest is overflowing with Agua Frescas. So much so, that I was finally tempted to try one, even though fruit juices are not exactly "my thing".

Sid, like any other 5 year old, is a total sucker for fruit juice and punches. The summer vacations are on and in addition to the outdoor activities, we are spending a lot of time in the kitchen together. Between my steadily rising blood sugar and Sam's increasing paunch, we are trying to keep the cookies, cupcakes and brownies to a minimum. Agua Fresca seemed a relatively less guilty indulgence for the family.








Even before I became a diabetic, I had always preferred whole fruit to fruit juices. I found them too sweet for my taste, even the "no added sugar" ones. But Agua Fresca are different. They are just pureed fruit and water and are so light and refreshingly summery. The squirt of lime/lemon juice adds to the freshness and the hint of sweetness is not overpowering at all.

I like using Agave Nectar instead of sugar because of its low Glycemic Index. Agave is also a lot sweeter than sugar and you end up using a lot less, for the same amount of sweetness.





Strawberry - Pineapple seems to be the flavor this summer! I see it every where; in sorbets; in granitas; in smoothies; in slushies etc.

And why not! They taste incredible together.

And remember the primary and secondary colors that you learnt in preschool? Well, it works for fruits too. The luscious red strawberries and sunny yellow pineapples did result in a delicious orange hued Agua Fresca!


Recipe Snapshot: Strawberry Pineapple Agua Fresca

Serves: 6 serving
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Ripe Strawberries - 1.5 cups (approx), roughly chopped
Pineapple - 1.5 cups (approx), cut into small chunks

Lime /Lemon juice - 2 tbsp (I used the juice of half a lemon)

Agave Nectar (or honey or sugar) - 3 - 4 tbsp (more or less, depends on the sweetness of the fruits)

Cold Water - 1+3 cups

A pinch of salt

Lemon slices and mint leaves for garnish

What I did:
1. Combine the chopped strawberries, pineapple chunks and 1 cup of water in a blender and blend into a smooth puree.

2. Pour the mixture through a small mesh strainer or cheese cloth (I prefer the cheese cloth) into a large bowl or pitcher. Discard the seeds and the pulp caught on the cheesecloth. Or you may freeze the pulp for some other use.

3. Add your lime/lemon juice and the rest of the water (3 cups) to the bowl or pitcher and mix well.

4. Add a pinch of salt. It helps to bring out the flavor of the fruit.

5. Add the sweetener of choice and mix well. I used Agave Nectar. Honey, sugar, simple syrup or even sugar substitute can also be used. The amount of sweetener will also depend on the sweetness of the fruit. I started with 2 tablespoon of agave and increased by 2 tsp till I reached my desired sweetness. I ended up using a little more than 3 tablespoon of agave nectar.


6. Chill it in the fridge for at least two to four hours before serving.

7. Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves. Sliced or finely chopped strawberries or pineapple can also be added for texture.

Notes/Tip: Seltzer or sparkling water or flavored water can be added instead of regular water for a interesting twist.

Personally I do not like filtering the pulp from the juice. But for Agua Fresca, its worth making that extra step of straining (double straining for clearer liquid) the pulp from the liquid. It makes the juice more potent, flavor wise.

Diabetic Platter:
Devoid of fiber and with a added sweetener, this Agua Fresca is certainly not an ideal diabetic thirst quencher. As with any indulgent recipe, moderation is the way to go.

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