Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body relies on water to function properly. Staying hydrated is essential, as even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Everyone has heard of the 8 by 8 rule – that is, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. While other liquids count toward this total, water is best because there isn’t any added sugars, calories or artificial flavoring.
Infusing water with fruits and herbs is a great way to spruce up boring, tasteless water so you can get your recommended daily water intake without any of the downsides of other flavored drinks. You can experiment with any combination of fruits & herbs that you like, but before I get into my favorite infused waters here are a couple helpful tips to keep in mind when you’re making your own infused water:
Every year EWG releases their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, where they rank pesticide contamination of 48 popular fruits and vegetables. They base their results on over 35,000 samples of produce. The fruits and veggies are tested for pesticides even after they have been thoroughly washed or peeled. Some of the fruits rated highest for pesticides in 2017 are:
It’s important when you’re choosing ingredients for your water to choose organic produce, especially if the fruit is on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list of produce. That way you won’t have any unwanted pesticides or chemicals getting into your infusion.
Glass Over Plastic
Prepping infusions in glass containers is best. There have been numerous studies that have found plastic bottles release small amounts of chemicals into the liquids they contain over time. Glass containers are easy to clean and don’t leave a plastic-y aftertaste that many plastic containers tend to produce. I like to prep my infusions in glass mason jars and secure with a lid while it sits in the fridge.
Prepping Your Ingredients
Soft fruits like lemons and strawberries can be sliced however you’d like – thin, thick, halved, quartered – because their flavors release easily and quickly. The harder the fruit, the thinner you should slice it, so that there is more surface area exposed to the water which allows the fruit to release it’s flavors.
Leafy herbs like mint and basil should be crushed or crumpled a bit to release the oils in the leaves. Ginger root and rosemary can be muddled with a wooden spoon before adding to the water to speed up the infusing process.
Soft fruits flavor water very quickly, you won’t need more than an hour of soak time to get an infusion going. Apples, ginger - those sorts of ingredients will require and overnight soak to get full results.
After about four hours, unpeeled citrus will start to make your water taste bitter. You can either peel the citrus before adding, or just strain the citrus out and keep the water in the fridge until you’re ready to drink.
My Favorite Infusion Combinations:
- Raspberry, lemon & muddled rosemary
- Cucumber, lime & crushed mint
- Orange & blueberry
- Strawberry & kiwi