Watermelon and aloe vera juice

In Mexico, as well as other countries in Latin America, aloe gel (also sometimes referred to as aloe crystal) is used externally for a variety of skin ailments as well as consumed for its curative health benefits, especially for stomach and digestive ailments. Aloe gel or crystal comes from the meat of the leaf, and is easy and inexpensive to extract yourself at home. In Spanish, aloe vera is called “sábila” or “áloe,” and is sometimes misspelled as “sávila.” In Mexico, it’s most commonly referred to as “sábila.”

Aloe vera juice is said to help maintain healthy digestion, and can also help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce acne eruptions, as well as many other health benefits, and is a good addition for those who are conscious of an alkaline diet.

Watermelon aloe vera juice recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com (jugo de sandía y sábila)

My Tío Eduardo swears by homemade aloe vera juice for digestive ailments. Homemade aloe juice is both easy and inexpensive to make—a single large aloe vera leaf in the produce section of most grocery stores in the U.S. should cost between 99 cents and $2 or $3. If a single leaf is $3 or more, it should be very large and heavy, otherwise check another store for a better price. Most Mexican or Latin American markets will carry them. Aloe leaves available in grocery stores are typically about 4-4.5 inches wide at the base, 22-24 inches long and about 1 inch thick.

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Agua fresca de melón verde y pepino

Aguas frescas are a staple in most Mexican and Mexican-American homes, mine included. The best aguas frescas are made with ingredients that are in season because they’re easiest to get, typically cost less because they are more abundant, and have the best flavor because they’re at their peak growing season. Honeydew melon—also known as melón verde—is in season typically from May to October, with the peak from May to August, but we’ve been seeing a lot of this melon in the grocery stores in Southern California since mid-March. This honeydew and cucumber agua fresca recipe is light and refreshing for warm spring and summer days. You can also opt to serve it straight as a juice with breakfast—just run through a juicer or powerful blender and leave out the water and optional sugar.

Honeydew melon and cucumber agua fresca recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com… 

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Mexican-Style Carrot Juice With Lime and Chile

I’ve been on a healthy homemade juice kick since we returned from Mexico in January. I’ve always loved carrot juice and whenever we vacation at the beaches in Mexico, I always order carrot juice with my breakfast if it’s available. Drinking carrot juice before getting sun, as well as after, can also help you hold onto a tan for a bit longer. (But don’t forget to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.) Carrot juice is high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which aids in tissue and bone development, benefits eyesight, boosts your immune system to help stave off colds, and helps heal dry, flaky skin. Carrot juice is rich in other minerals too, thanks to carrots being a root vegetable, and folates, which are a safe, natural provider of folic acid (and why you’re likely to see pregnant women drinking it). It’s packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, B complex and also has a low glycemic load, making it a healthy and safe drink for diabetics. What’s not to love about carrot juice?

Mexican-style carrot juice with lime and chili-lime salt (Tajín) recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com

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Spiced Pear Margaritas

National Margarita Day is February 22 and National Tequila Day is July 24, but who really needs a holiday to celebrate one of Mexico’s most famous libations? This spiced pear margarita recipe has a cinnamon-infused kick and gets a sweet, molasses-like depth from piloncillo.

There are two great things about this recipe: First, it can be served cold or hot, depending what kind of climate you live in and whether you’re suffering through a brutal winter or not. Serving it hot is just like having a fruit-infused tequila hot toddy! And second, the spiced pear puree will keep in an airtight container (I recommend a glass jar) in the refrigerator for up to a week, and the recipe can be easily doubled if you want to make it in advance for a party or just enjoy a few cocktails during the week.

This margarita recipe calls for Bosc pears, which have brown skin and sweet flesh. They’re in season from September through April. If you can’t find Bosc pears, you can substitute Bartlett pears, which also are sweet and juicy, and in season from August through February.

spiced pear margarita recipe… 

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Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate

Día de los Muertos is the perfect time of year for Mexican hot chocolate. This recipe is a twist on the classic plain chocolate caliente; it’s spiced with chile guajillo, which lends a mildly spicy flavor and an earthy and fruity bouquet to this traditional beverage.

Spicy Mexican hot chocolate

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Prickly pear frozen margarita

Grocery stores are typically overflowing with prickly pears—known as tunas rojas in Spanish—in August and September. You can eat them plain, use them to make agua fresca de tuna roja, watermelon and prickly pear paletas, prickly pear sorbet or even margaritas! There are so many possibilities.

prickly pear frozen margarita

Prickly pears are full of pectin, which makes them ideal for jelly and jam-making. The pectin produces a syrupy consistency that’s also perfect for blending with ice to make a frozen margarita. I’m serving this margarita for our Mexican Independence Day celebration. It’s a sophisticated representation of the Mexican flag: red from the prickly pears, white from the tequila blanco and green from the lime.

¡Viva México!… 

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