Enjoy Safe Infused Water
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With the hot summer months still here, a refreshing treat can be getting some infused water to help replenish us after being out in the sun, exercising, or working in the yard or garden. For years we have heard, “Re-Think Your Drink,” “Drink More Water,” but many of us are still not fans of drinking plain water.
The latest trend is to infuse our water with flavors from fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Combining two or more flavors in our water can make it more interesting and fun to drink, even for our pickiest family members. You just need enough to give flavor to the water without overpowering the taste buds like mixing water and juice can do.
The best flavor is created by allowing the produce to sit in the water for several hours before serving. Many recipes are available for infused water, but the one thing we tend to forget when making infused waters is that we need to make sure that we are not creating an unsafe drink. Keep the water at or below 41°F. Temperature is the only reliable way to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Here are a few other tips for making sure our infused water is safe as well as refreshing.
- Buy good quality, unbruised produce. Bruised spots can introduce unwanted bacteria as well as flavor.
- Wash hands thoroughly before preparing
- Rinse produce before adding it to water.
- Use clean knives, prep surfaces, and containers while preparing produce.
- Keep the water at or below 41°F. You can do this by adding ice and checking the temperature with a food thermometer to make sure it stays in the safe temperature zone.
- If water is staying out of the refrigerator, allow it to sit out at room temperature for no more than 4 hours. This is only safe if the temperature started at or below 41°F. Remember tap water is usually not at or below 41°F, so you need to cool it.
- Throw out remaining infused water after 4 hours.
- Wash and sanitize the container before making a new infusion.
Try some of these combinations for a refreshing drink with a hint of flavor.