AGUA FRESCA: Agua de mandarina
As the weather starts to get warmer, I’ve gotten an itch for making aguas frescas. This happens to me just about every year. Toward the end of the winter, I always seem to fall into a rut in the kitchen as I wait for spring to arrive. And like clockwork, as soon as we get our first day of warm weather, I head to the store looking for fresh fruits to make aguas frescas. This year was no exception, and the first fruit I spotted was a large bag of mandarinas, mandarin oranges.
I love mandarin oranges both because of the refreshing, sweet juice they produce and their portability as a vitamin-packed snack. In fact, I’ve been carrying two mandarin oranges my purse at all times for the last few weeks so that I always have a healthy snack at the ready.
But I’ve also got some cherished memories of the early days of hanging out with my cuñada, when she used to take me out for aguas frescas and where we almost always ended up with agua de mandarina, one of her favorites—and consequently, now, one of my favorites too.
This is an incredibly simple recipe, but one I’ve been asked for time and again by friends. It’s perfect for serving with any meal, and any gathering—large or small.
A few notes: my husband likes his agua de mandarina to be a little sweeter, but I prefer mine to be more natural and without sugar. My advice: try it without sugar first and perhaps leave out the lime juice. If you feel like it’s not sweet enough for your liking, you can mix about 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/4 cup of warm water to get it to dissolve, and then mix it with the remaining 1-1/2 cups of cold water.
I also like to use a handheld citrus press for this recipe because I found that my electric juicer doesn’t always extract all the juice due to the small size of the mandarin oranges.
AGUA DE MANDARINA
RECETA | RECIPE
- 20-25 mandarin oranges (should yield about 2 to 2-1/4 cups of juice)
- 1 mandarin orange, sliced thinly to float in the top of the pitcher for decoration
- 1 lime (optional)
- 1-3/4 cups of cold water (or dilute juice more to taste)
Juice the mandarin oranges. If you want to add the optional lime juice or any sugar, add it before you mix the mandarin orange juice with the cold water. Stir to mix well in a pitcher. Add thin mandarin orange slices to float on the top of the pitcher. If you don’t serve it immediately, chill in the refrigerator and then stir before serving, as juice may naturally settle. Consume within 2-3 days.
Yields about 4 cups.
- Do you have any fond memories of drinking agua de mandarina? Tell me in the comments below.