Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Drink More Water!

Herb and Infused Waters!

Do you and your family drink enough of plain, clear, unadorned water (no sugar, chemical flavorings etc.)?  I am talking water here, not ice tea, coffee, or juice (although 100% any juice is great with a meal).

Caffeine is an absolute no-no as a source of the water your body needs to balance salt, process food, moisturize your skin, and keep the "plumbing" working well.  Caffeine, in case you do not know this yet - is a diuretic - meaning it causes your body to jettison fluids - fast, decreasing the time the water is in your body to do the things it needs.  The general recommendation still remains at about 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day -- that is 2 quarts of water.  More if it is hot -- hikers, workers and just plain folks can lose up to 2 quarts of liquid in sweat per HOUR, particularly if it is hot.

There is a reason restaurants put a slice of lemon or even mint in the water they serve - it tastes better, but more important it "tastes" like it is more refreshing and thirsty quenching.

Everyone, every where, at any time of year, needs to drink plenty of fresh, pure water.  Most tap water is just fine - if it tastes okay to begin with.  It just may need a little flavor enhancement, and if it looks pretty in a jar or pitcher, you will drink more.

Put some herbs, fruits, vegetables and edible flowers to work to make a beautiful to-look-at and satisfying-to-drink pitcher or jug of flavored water.

General Ideas:  You are just flavoring the water, not making a juice.  If using a pretty clear pitcher, use edible flowers and flowering herbs to make a "picture" at the front of the pitcher.

Technique: You are going to fill the pitched with ice first, in layers, allowing you to place herbs and other edibles attractively, then fill up with water. Let sit for 1 hour before serving.  It will be icy cold and refreshing.

1.  Decide what flavors you want.

Example:  mint and lemon or lime; or, substitute some or all of the mint with basil; cucumber slices and a bit of rosemary; any combination of lemon flavored herbs; if you like a kick, try cinnamon or Thai basil; or other anise flavored herbs. Try some parsley or celery leaves (not a lot, just a little).

Basic Ratio:
1 gallon of water/ice combined
1/4-1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced (or 1-2 stalks of celery, parsley, or ½ cup of berries
3  5-inch sprigs of herb
half of lemon, lime or orange thinly sliced (or 5-7 kumquats or limequat either cut in two and seeded, or seeded and thinly sliced)
5 - 10 edible flowers or petals

Really, what smells and tastes good to you will work.

2.  Fill pitcher 1/3 full of ice and place ingredients against the glass, using the ice to hold them in position. Place some on top of the ice, repeat 2 more times, finishing with a layer of the ingredients on top.  Fill with water, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy.  The cucumber waters will only last for about 8 or so hours.  Other waters can be refrigerated and will last about 24 hours.


It is important to remember you are not trying for a juice taste, but merely a hint of freshness provided by the ingredients.

— Cucumber, rosemary, lemon, lime or orange, Edible Flowers: whole pansies, Dianthus or calendula petals — very pretty if you take the zest of the citrus in one long spiral and wind it around the herb sprig

In a container place 1/3 of ice, and decoratively arrange 1/3 of cucumber, Rosemary and citrus (and flowers if available) between ice and container wall, repeat until container is filled to top. Top off with water. Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.

Other Herb Waters or Ices:
— Lemon or lime, fresh Mint, celery or parsley pieces and flowering Lime Basil sprigs.
— Any berries and Basil, Rosemary or Thyme (berries will give the water a slight blush color - pretty)
— Freeze any of these combinations in ring mold with edible flowers for punch
— Large piece of Lemon Grass or Lemon Verbena, bruised slightly and frozen into tall cup of ice, un-mold into clear pitcher containing lemonade
__Fill glasses with frozen cubes of watermelon and then add the herb water - drink the water and eat the frozen fruit - double the pleasure!

Optional: Floral herbs such as lavender and rose scented geranium, used in small quantities can give a distinctive scent to the water.

A delicious and attractive way to keep hydrated!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady