I knew that had to be a way to harness all the goodness left in a watermelon after my guys were done with it. This is what a watermelon looks like at our house when they’ve eaten their fill….
Right? They don’t want to pick through the seeds and get the rest of the goodness out, just the center please. And they usually pull one out at a time when I can’t seem to get let go of something I’m doing to help them eat it. But regardless, I’m the one that cleans up the mess of a good juicy watermelon, cold or room temperature by the time I get to it.
What to do with leftover watermelon??
Make watermelon infused water. It is delicious. The full flavor of a watermelon in a glass.
Infused water is the process of adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your water, then letting the water absorb the ingredients’ flavor the water. In addition to providing a delicious flavor with a wide range of combination options, you also recive the nutrients from the produce and herbs, which further improves how healthy your water is. Infused water is easy to do, but there are a few things you should consider first. Here are some tips to keep in mind when infusing water with fruit.
Use Quality Drinking Water
Filtered water is always best. Filtered water is cleaner. Filtered water will go a long way to improve the overall quality and flavor of your infused water.
Only use room temperature or cold water. Avoid warm or hot water, since it can cause your produce to fall apart at a rapid rate, which reduces the level of nutrients ending up in your water.
Use Organic Fruit
If at all possible, try to select organic fruits and vegetables. These can often be found in the produce of your supermarket, but a better option might be to get them from a weekly CSA, farmer’s market, or contacting local farmers directly. This allows you to get fresh fruits and veggies that you know were grown locally without added fertilizers and other chemicals. Organic produce does tend to provide a better flavor for infused water. However, the most important part is having healthy water with your favorite fruits and veggies!
Prepping Your Fruit
After selecting the fruit you want to use for your infused water, prep them before putting them into the pitcher. You should always rinse the fruits and vegetables to make sure you leave no chemicals lurking behind. Even if you bought organic fruit, it is still a good idea to rinse them and make sure they are clean. If you are using herbs, you want to crush them with a muddler this will help to release the oils. The exception is when the herb is leafy, such as with mint or basil.
Most fruits and vegetables need to be cut at least in half before being put in the pitcher so that they can release their flavors. Hard fruits and vegetables like cucumber and apples need to be cut into thin slices since they can take longer to release flavor to the water. With berries and citrus fruit, they are softer, so just cutting them in half or quarters should be fine.
A Pitcher Made Especially for Infusing Water!
Okay, are you ready to start putting your infused water together? Before you add in the water, make sure you have the right container. While you can technically use anything, a glass pitcher is usually recommended. However, regardless of which way you go, make sure it is BPA-free and food-safe. Many plastic pitchers are not ideal and won’t keep the water fresh, but in the end it is really up to you. There are also pitchers and cups used especially for infusing. They typically have a long and narrow section in the middle where you put your herbs and fruit, with holes or slots so the flavor can be released. You can use these, but they aren’t necessary.
My absolute favorite is the 24 oz Infusion Pro. What makes it unique is the way it holds the fruit in the bottom of the infuser water bottle, allowing water to acquire more taste. The unique strainer prevents seeds, pulp or ice from clogging the drinking spout. Again, my pick for personal use.
For the family a larger Glass Carafe holds 64oz and has a nice strainer for serving. The lid on this water pitcher is lead-free and made from food stainless steel 304, prevents from bacteria settling.
How Long to Soak the Produce
When making infused water, you will add the produce and herbs first, then add your room temperature or cold water on top. You then want to let the water infuse so that you can get good flavors and nutrients from the fruits and vegetables being used. If you are leaving it out on the counter, this is usually done in about 2 hours. Otherwise, wait 4-6 hours if keeping it in the refrigerator for the infusing process. If you leave it overnight, it will be super flavorful.
When the Water Should Be Enjoyed
The ideal time to drink infused water is within 24-48 hours after the infusing process is complete. It is usually best to drink it the same day, but at least try to drink it within the first couple days. Waiting 3 days is okay, but don’t leave it for longer than that. Make sure you are not leaving the fruits and vegetables in the water for this long though. They should be removed and only the water should remain in the pitcher for this long. Citrus fruits will remain fresher for longer, while melons are going to get soft and mushy quickly.
Also keep in mind that if you drink the infused water the same day, you can usually refill it 2-3 times with the produce in the pitcher or cup and still get good flavor from it.