I finally found a use for the glass apple cider jug that my husband, in a strange reversal of roles, insisted we keep last fall: I made homemade flavored water.
It might not sound all that exciting, but water is pretty much the only beverage I consume aside from a cup or two of coffee and, when I'm not pregnant, wine. It can get kind of boring.
I was inspired by a random blog post I found while searching for a basic recipe for post-Easter ham and beans.
(I know, I know, who really needs a recipe for ham and beans? Or flavored water, for that matter? Lets just say I was more in search of guidance than step-by-step instruction.)
My husband laughed when I told him about my newest endeavor and went on a rant about Pinterest, which was a logical if incorrect assumption as to the source of my ambition.
When I began chopping up the cucumber, lime and strawberries, he insisted it was a waste of fruit. But he's a guy -- I wouldn't expect him to get excited about unfermented flavored water.
I threw my chopped produce in the jug with a handful (or two?) of fresh mint leaves, added a whole bunch of ice and then filled it with water.
The blog post I read said to let it chill for 10 minutes, which gave me just enough time to pop it in the fridge and then pour myself a glass before leaving for work.
Not two minutes down the road, I took a sip and immediately phoned my husband just to tell him how awesome it was.
Later that night, he sent me a text: "Your water is actually a little better than water."
I tried the water out on my daughter the next day, because I assume water and milk get boring for her, too. She took one sip and handed her cup back to me. "Milk."
I guess not.
But I learned a few things from this experiment. While my research indicated my ingredients would be good for a couple days' worth of water, strawberries start to look nasty after sitting in water for two days. I felt totally comfortable munching on the random cucumber that fell into my glass, but I wouldn't consider eating anything else in there.
Limes also get more potent the longer they sit. So on day one there was a mere hint of lime; on day two, it was almost too much -- and I only used one small lime for a one-gallon jug.
I also threw together a couple of smaller batches using some frozen fruit I had handy -- sliced peaches. I added fresh strawberries and a few mint leaves. The flavor was more subtle and didn't have that refreshing cucumber finish, but it was still tasty.
I look forward to more experimenting this summer, with berries and melons and herbs -- oh my!
Even if it wasn't a big hit with the whole family, at least I found a fun way to add some variety to my ever-increasing water intake.
And my husband should at least be happy I'm getting use out of that jug.
Katie McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515.