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.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!