Grapefruit, Beet, and Rosemary Agua Fresca

Grapefruit and beets go so well together – give this combo a try with this grapefruit, beet, and rosemary agua fresca! No juicer needed 😊.

Have you ever tried agua fresca? It translates to ‘fresh water’ and is a popular drink in Central America. There are numerous renditions with a variety of ingredients from fruits, to dried flowers, to nuts and seeds. Whatever ingredients you use, the process is the same: the ingredients are blended with water and sugar (or not, depending on your tastes and the ripeness of the fruit). I would be so bold as to say few things come as close as agua fresca for quenching thirst on a hot day!

The first time I had agua fresca was in Costa Rica. I was staying with a local and she made it daily with all kinds of tasty tropical fruit. The agua fresca was lightly strained, meaning there was some pulp, but not large pieces.

That is what I have emulated in this grapefruit, beet, and rosemary agua fresca. The trick is to pour the juice over a regular strainer, not a fine strainer. Of course, how well this works will depend on your kitchen equipment. I used a mesh strainer (note: not my fine mesh strainer, I would call is regular – is there a better term?). This left small pieces of pulp which enables you to get more fiber and nutrients. If you are pulp-averse, use a fine strainer, and if you dig pulp or hate to waste it, you do not have to strain it at all. If you go the no-strain route, do remove any grapefruit seeds.

Look for beets that are small for this recipe. I personally think smaller beets at this time of year are better for use in raw recipes, such as this agua fresca, because they are less likely to be woody and tend to be sweeter. For as hard as they seem, small beets blend up whole surprisingly easily and without much pulp leftover.

It’s important to pick ripe grapefruits because they have the most juice and sweetness. Give them a gentle squeeze. They should give to pressure, but not feel mushy. They should def bounce back from this gentle squeeze. Another good indicator of ripeness feeling heavy for their size.

The rosemary is optional, so leave it out if you do not like it. The agua fresca is delicious without it, but I could not resist adding rosemary since I had some on hand and it is just. so. fall. I am a sucker for the season, what can I say 😋? If you skip the rosemary, try any other herb: mint and ginger come to mind.


Grapefruit, Beet, and Rosemary Agua Fresca

Servings: makes about 9 cups

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 small-medium beets (about 8 ounces altogether, give or take)
  • 4 large ruby red grapefruits
  • 1-2 tbsp. rosemary leaves, plus some sprigs for garnish (optional)*
  • 3 tbsp. honey (or other sweetener of choice, more or less to taste)**

How-to:

  1. Chop off any beet greens, if attached, and save for another purpose. Rinse and scrub beets well to remove dirt. 
  2. Put beets, rosemary leaves, and honey in a high powered blender with 1 cup of water. Blend on high until smooth. This will make about 2 cups of beet juice.
  3. With hands or a citrus juicer, squeeze all juice from the grapefruits. You should have about 3.5 cups of grapefruit juice. 
  4. Pour the beet juice and grapefruit juice over a strainer with holes the size of your choosing (see comments above; optional).
  5. Add 3.5 cups of water (this is a 1:1 ratio to the amount of grapefruit juice as the beet juice was already diluted in the blending process).  Adjust to taste. 
  6. Serve over ice. Will keep for 3 days in the fridge. 

Notes:

*I suggest starting with 1 tbsp. then taste the completed juice (everything combined and diluted). If you then want more rosemary flavor, scoop up a half a cup and blend with another tbsp. of rosemary. I ended up adding a total of 2 tbsp. because I like the flavor, but if you are sensitive to it, too much rosemary can taste medicinal. 

**The above is also a good tactic for the honey! This way you can customize it perfectly – start with less because you can always add more.

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