Fruit, Vegetable & Herb Infused Water: Trisha Shirey

cucumber and herb infused water Central Texas GardenerGardeners know that adequate water intake is vital for staying healthy. Our bodies are about 60 percent water and each of our body systems depends on water to perform properly – our skin, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems all require adequate water intake.

Dehydration can lead to increased muscle soreness after a day in the garden. Energy drinks are full of sugar and salt that most of us don’t really need to consume.

Men need about 13 cups of water daily and women about 9 cups. Fruit, herb and vegetable flavored water can make it more pleasurable to meet your daily water needs and they are very simple to make. Children could participate in the process of making flavored water and they may be more apt to drink water if they are helping to pick the herbs and make the beverages.

Crush freshly picked herbs to release their essential oils and cover them with water immediately. Add fruits of your choice and allow the mix to sit in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours to allow the flavors to infuse into the water. No sugar is needed, although you could add a bit of stevia to the mix if you wish.
Feel free to use either fresh or frozen unsweetened fruits. If the citrus fruit that I am using is not homegrown or organic I remove their peels. This is also a good way to use up that last bit of melon or the last few berry leftovers.
lemon mint and pineapple sage flavored water Central Texas Gardener

I often strain the water from the flavoring agents and add a second round of water to the pitcher. You will get some nutrients from the herbs and fruits that are added to your water but it this really more about making water more flavorful and pleasurable so that we consume more of it. The possible combinations are endless.

Here are some ideas for flavored water to get you started:
• Cucumber and orange slices
• Frozen sweet cherries with lime slices
• Lemongrass leaves with ginger slices or grated ginger
• Watermelon chunks with fresh basil leaves – Key lime or cinnamon basil are great for this one
• Apple slices with 1-2 cinnamon sticks
• Rose petals from organic roses with blackberries or blueberries
• Pineapple chunks, ginger and orange slices
• Strawberries with mint or basil
• Orange slices and 1-2 cardamom seeds, crushed
• Mango chunks and pineapple sage flowers
• Thai lime leaves and pineapple chunks
• Lemon slices and spearmint

Use coconut water instead of tap water to provide extra electrolytes when you need them.