If there’s one thing I hate, it’s drinking water. There, I said it. I just don’t really like the taste, it doesn’t seem refreshing, and it’s boring. But water can be transformed with fruits (and even some veggies) but that can get pricey. And buying flavored water can get pricey, too – plus there is that additive thing and the resulting container disposal. The answer? My Spa Water on a Budget.
For a while, flavored and spa waters were all the rage on Pinterest and Facebook. I kept seeing these gorgeous pics of pitchers full of fruit, glistening in the sun in frosty pitchers and loved the idea. The thought of the cost, though, just about made me gasp. It doesn’t take much to infuse flavor into your pitcher of water…and there’s a way to do it that costs nothing and prevents waste!
About Spa Water on a Budget:
What kind of miracle is that you might wonder? Well, I make my Spa Water on a Budget out of garbage. Yep, you heard right – Garbage! Stop, though, and think about it. Even the parts of fruits and veggies we don’t use, often for aesthetic reasons, peels, seeds, cores, trimmings, even hulls and stems of strawberries, have tremendous flavor.
I have a kind of unspoken rule: Never waste flavor. Which goes hand in hand with another of my rules: Never waste anything that can be put to good use. You pay for it, use it. And yes, all of those pieces and parts can still go in the recycle bin; just think of the Spa Water for those bits and pieces going on a quick trip side trip on the road to that bin!
These lightly infused, refreshing drinks are some of my favorite things; so simple, so easy and so fabulously frugal. So refreshing. Not necessarily “intensely” flavored, My Spa Water on a Budget is just a gorgeous hint of vegetable or fruit, possibly with a few herbs or spices thrown in the mix and maybe a tea bag or two, if you wish. (You may have seen me mention my Spa Water here or there on my blog pages because when I think about it, I like to share the idea.)
So while you’re at the cutting board and getting ready to send something down the disposal, into the garbage or out to the compost, ask yourself if it can’t make a pit stop on the way and give you just a bit more bang for your buck…be spontaneous and keep a jar or two in the fridge door for whenever you need a little pick-me-up.
Making Spa Water on a Budget:
You’ll want to make sure to wash or thoroughly rinse your whole fruit before cutting into it. Then just go to town and add all those parts and pieces to a pitcher or large mason jar, cover with water and refrigerate. The water begins to infuse almost immediately, but you might want to infuse overnight or for several days. And you might want to add in a tea bag or two for flavored iced tea.
What comes out is perhaps a bit horrifying…leached out of their vibrant colors, bloated and floating around in murky water – but don’t let that deter you! That just means the fruit and the water are getting intimate with one another – making an exchange so to speak. At my house, it also means my son is not very likely to touch it. Oh, if he only knew what he was missing. Shhhh – don’t tell – the kid eats me out of house and home as it is. I just want one thing for myself, just this one little thing…well, maybe I want chocolate for myself, too. So that’s two things, lol!
Strain your Spa Water on a Budget, pour over ice and enjoy. If you haven’t added a tea bag or two, you can still make hot or iced tea with the Spa Water. The amount of flavor you are going to get depends on how much vegetation is used and how long it has infused. If it is very flavorful, I add it to a pitcher and add additional water, if not, I just enjoy as is. Sometimes, when I strain my Spa Water into a glass, I’ll put the fruit back into the jar and add water for a second go around. Usually, I only do this if I infuse for one day and the fruit is a strongly flavored one, or I have a lot of it. Mangos and Pineapples come to mind.
Some of my favorite Spa Water on a Budget flavors: Cucumber, Mango Ginger or Mango Cardamom, Apple Spice, Strawberry, Rhubarb, Tomato Lime, Lemon Mint. Many are no more than “happy accidents” based on what I am cooking on any particular day.
How else can I prevent vegetable and fruit waste in addition to Spa Water on a Budget?:
I use items like celery stalk pieces, onion, garlic and carrot peelings and ends for My Best Chicken or Turkey Stock. They get thrown into a Ziploc bag and saved for the week. If I’m not making a stock during the week, it goes into the freezer. The resulting stock is more flavorful than the stock I make by cutting veggies, probably because things like peels have so much surface area.
Many items that I don’t feel will “taste good” or isn’t appealing or sometimes leftover, go in a container for my next day’s green smoothie. I call it my Big, Fat Green Smoothie on a Budget. I use an amazing amount of otherwise “wasted” food this way. And I get a lot of good fiber, vitamins, trace elements, etc. all at the same time.
Some items like beet or carrot tops get tossed in salads or even better, get used in my Carrot Top Pesto. Follow the recipe to make Pesto out of carrot tops or other veggie tops.
So, time to fess up – who else has marvelous ideas for the pieces, parts, and scraps of vegetables any sane person would toss? It doesn’t necessarily have to be food related – I’ve heard of people cleaning with baking soda and the remainder of a squeezed lemon.
I recently tried infusing water with my Instant Pot and didn’t care for the “cooked” fruit taste. I’m sticking with my old-fashioned method. I also recently picked up this cool pitcher with a built-in strainer in a lid. It fits right next to my milk in the door and it makes Spa Water on a Budget even easier. Plus the water seems “special” so I’m more likely to drink it.