Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Hey, hey, Health Seekers! If you have followed me for even a few seconds, you'll quickly learn I am the hydration queen. I am always carting a bottle of infused goodness wherever I go and sharing the health benefits of water with anyone who'll listen. And for good reason.
Infused water is the bomb, an easy process of adding fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your water, then letting these ingredients flavour and infuse the water with nutrients. Think of it as DIY vitamin water without the fancy price tag or hidden sugars of commercial brands!
In addition to providing subtle flavour with a wide range of combination options, many trace minerals and vitamins seep from the produce and herbs, to make a super healthy drink.
Some recipes with specific ingredients have been proven to help with gut health, boosting the metabolism, releasing cellulite, weight loss, appetite control and improving mood and brain function. Honestly, infused water is so super duper easy to do, but there are a few things you should know first.
Types of Water to Use
The first thing you should know about making infused water is that filtered water is always best. Filtered water is cleaner, so this is really going to improve the overall quality and flavour of your infusions. Since not everyone has access to enough filtered water to fill infused water pitchers every time, tap water is okay when necessary, but do try to get filtered water if at all possible.
When choosing your water, you should only use room temperature or cold water. Avoid warm or hot water with some recipes, since it can cause the produce to fall apart at a rapid rate, which reduces how many nutrients are going to end up in your water.
Choose Organic When Possible
You know me, go organic. Whenever possible, choose organic fruits, herbs and vegetables. These can often be found in the produce section of your local grocer, but a better option is the farmer’s markets, or contacting local organic farmers directly. This allows you to buy fresh fruits and veggies that you know were grown locally without added fertilizers and other chemicals. Organic produce also does tends to provide a better flavour for infused water. However, the most important part is having healthy water with your favorite fruits and veggies, so if you can’t use organic, don’t worry too much about it!
How to Prep the Ingredients
Like any meal prep, taking time to prepare your infusions goes a long way in reminding you to drink more water. After you select the ingredients you want to use, you'll need to take a few minutes to prep them before adding them into your water bottle.
Always rinse the fruits, herbs and vegetables to wash off any wax and agricultural chemicals. Even if you buy produce from organic farmers, it is still a good idea to rinse and make sure the ingredients are clean and free of bugs before use. If you are using fresh herbs, you'll want to crush them with a muddler since this will help to release the oils. The exception is when the herb is leafy, such as with mint or basil.
Most fruits and vegetables need to be cut at least in half before being put in the pitcher so that they can release their flavors. Hard fruits and vegetables like cucumber and apples need to be cut into thin slices since they can take longer to release their flavour and nutrients to the water. With berries and citrus fruit, which are softer, just cutting them in half or quarters should be fine.
What to Make Your Infused Water In
By this point, its time to start putting your infused water recipes together---the fun part! Before you add anything, make sure you have the right container. While you can technically use anything, a glass pitcher or mason jar is usually recommended. Regardless of which way you go, just make sure it is BPA-free and food-safe. Many plastic pitchers are not ideal and won’t keep the water fresh, but in the end it is really up to you. If you are using citrus, be aware the acidity can also affect plastic tumblers, leaching toxic chemicals into the water.
As a rule, I always advise clients to use glass. You could also a pitcher and cup used especially for infusing. They typically have a long and narrow section in the middle where you put your herbs and fruit, with holes or slots so the flavor can be released. I found a few Amazon for reasonable prices, but shop locally to you if this is of interest.
How Long to Soak the Produce
When making infused water, add the produce and herbs first, then add your room temperature or cold water on top. The exception is if you are making lemon water. Go here to find out why.
You'll want to let your infusion soak all that fresh goodness up so that you can get most nutrients from the fruits and vegetables used. If you are leaving your infusion out on the kitchen bench, this is usually done in about 2 hours. Otherwise, wait 4-6 hours if keeping it in the refrigerator for the infusing process. If you leave it overnight, it will be even more flavourful.
When the Water Should Be Enjoyed
The ideal time to drink infused water is within 24-48 hours after the infusing process is complete. It is usually best to drink homemade infusions the same day, but at least try to drink it within the first couple days. Waiting 3 days is okay, but don’t leave it for longer than that as some fruits and produce will begin to break down and can ferment. Produce should ideally be removed and only the water should remain in the pitcher for this long. Citrus fruits will remain fresher for longer, while melons and berries go soft, waterlogged and mushy rather quickly.
Also keep in mind that if you drink the infused water the same day, you can usually refill it 2-3 times with the produce in the same pitcher or cup and still get plenty of nutrients and good flavour from it.