"Agua fresca," a typical Mexican drink, literally translates to "fresh (cold) water." However, this is not exactly an accurate description; in reality, it is a refreshing drink made from fresh, seasonal fruit. In Mexico, this drink can be purchased from restaurants, street stalls and market vendors; but this delightful drink can also be concocted at home with your child. Make this nutritious and appealing treat with him for a festive, no-cook lesson that also mixes in some Mexican culture.
What You Do:
- Have your child choose a single fruit that is in season, or a mix of fruit. Some popular agua fresca flavors include cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries and mango. If frozen fruits are your only option, try frozen strawberries or a mix of berries.
- Chop the fruit into chunks. Have your child toss the fruit into the blender until the blender cup is about three quarters full. Invite your child to add some cold water and a small amount of sugar to the blender. Remind him that it is easy to add more of either ingredient to the drink, but it is impossible to remove the sugar or water if he adds too much at the beginning.
- Have your child pulse the blender to break up the fruit, and then ask him to blend the concoction more until it is liquefied.
- Have him try a small sample to see if he wants to add more water or sugar. Make sure he adds sugar one small bit at a time to avoid too sweet of a concoction.
- Pour agua fresca over ice if your child prefers it cold. Add to the bright colors of agua fresca by using neon straws, drink charms, swizzle sticks or a slice of lime or strawberry to the rim of the glass. Consider getting even more experimental by adding a shot of seltzer or a sprig of mint.
Deepen the impact of this cooking lesson by sharing a lesson about agua fresca. Making seasonal fruit juices in Mexico is a part of daily life. In Mexico, people may pick fruit from their trees and plants, or go to neighborhood markets to find the freshest fruits of the day. Some unique agua fresca flavors in Mexico include jamaica, which is hibiscus flower, and tuna, which is the prickly fruit that grows on cactus. You can also make this lesson an introduction to the Spanish language by teaching names of various fruits in Spanish.
Serena Makofsky has a multiple subjects teaching credential with an emphasis in cross-cultural instruction. She taught in inner city classrooms for many years. She also writes curriculum for English language learners.