Strawberry aguas frescas

by Amy Scattergood on March 21, 2009

strawberries2

Another amazing thing to do with fresh ripe Camarosas or Chandlers or Gaviotas is to make a batch of aguas frescas with them.  I didn’t know what these were (aguas frescas, not strawberries) before I moved to Southern California, but I quickly learned to order them–fresh fruit aguas frescas, horchata, jamaica and tamarindo–at restaurants and taco stands and farmers market food stalls.  And when I wrote a story about them for the Times (click here for the link), I learned how to make them too. Isabel loves horchata, but my favorite is either watermelon or cucumber spiked with jalapeno or strawberry.  Made with jamaica, this is a family recipe from Anthony Medina, who owns the taqueria La Taquiza, down by USC.  Here’s his adapted recipe:

ANTHONY MEDINA’S STRAWBERRY AGUA FRESCA

2 cups dried hibiscus (jamaica) flowers

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup sugar

1. Combine the hibiscus flowers with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then allow to steep for about 2 hours. Strain and reserve the hibiscus water.

2. Place the strawberries in a large bowl, toss with the sugar and macerate for 30 minutes. In a blender, puree the strawberries (and any syrup) with the hibiscus water; this may need to be done in batches.

3. Strain the mixture with a standard sieve into a large pitcher; stir in 2 quarts water. Adjust consistency as desired with additional water; add more sugar if desired to sweeten. Serve over ice.

Makes 2½ quarts.

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