Cho! The heat is on now. Don’t forget to stay hydrated while enjoying The Jewel. These blazing-bright days and steamy-still nights have me guzzling water by the gallon but I must admit, there’s only SO MUCH plain water a gyal can drink in a day. Typically by 3 or 4 in the afternoon I’m so stinking tired of drinking water that I start day dreaming about Happy Hour. Nothing quenches my thirst like an ice-cold Belikin but my waistline and my liver will thank me if I can refrain from daily indulgences (booo!). So what’s one to do when tired of the tap but steering clear of unhealthy sodas and beers? Make-your-own flavored WATA! Here are some DIY favorites (and a short list of their benefits too) to keep in the fridge:
I call this ‘spa water’ in my house because it makes me feel fancy and healthful like I’m at a spa. Ginger’s spice might not be to everyone’s taste so this can be made as strong or weak as you prefer. For just a hint of flavor you can peel and slice just a bit of ginger root and plop it in to your glass of water. To get the full effect of flavor and nutrients you’ll want to boil and steep the sliced ginger then cool and enjoy a refreshing sip with a kick. Ginger is jammed with antioxidants that combat free radicals so it may help reduce the harm all that Caribbean sunshine might do to your skin.
*Tip: To peel ginger use the edge of a small spoon to scrape the skin off, give it a rinse under the facet. To get the most punch out of your ginger, slice it thinly to expose as much surface area as you can. One palm-sized hunk of root will make a full teapot of ginger water.
You may know it as Lemongrass but here in Belize it is called Fevergrass- same same. Many people grow lemongrass in their yard ornamentally or for herbal remedies, research supports that lemongrass repels mosquitoes! I love the fresh lemon-y smell of boiled lemongrass, it permeates the whole house and I might make a pot even if I didn’t enjoy drinking it… but of course I do! Easy to make, just snip a handful of the grass’s stalks and rinse off any yard dust. Toss the grass in a teapot of water and bring to a quick boil. Remove from heat and enjoy warm or cold for a clean, healing beverage that has anti-inflammatory properties, may reduce fever and improve blood sugar levels.
We have pineapples aplenty in Belize and if you buy one to eat, don’t throw away the skins. You can make a lovely infused water with those scraps. Pineapples are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and help keep your bones strong. Don’t waste the nutrient-dense peel; boil and steep for a power-packed drink that tastes slightly sweet. When you cut you pineapple, reserve the skin scraps and boil them in a pot of water. Drain off the infused water and serve chilled- so delicious!
*Tip: Be sure to wash your fruit really well to eliminate dirt and potential pesticides. I find a vigorous scrub under warm running water does the trick before I start slicing but if you want to be extra safe about contaminants then you could do a vinegar soak/ rinse.