Summer juice

We had a party a couple of weeks ago, and we served this agua fresca, and we liked it!  It’s quick and easy, it’s cool and refreshing, and it’s made from lemon juice and celery.  I’ve made it several times since the party, and it is just right to celebrate the first weekend of summer.

I found the recipe on Cocina al Natural, which has recently morphed into Cocina y Comparte (which means Cook and Share – the site still features recipes and videos by Sonia Ortiz, plus many more uploaded by contributors).

Following the tradition established by Kara’s Winter Juice and Spring Juice, we’re calling this Summer Juice (in Spanish, it is Agua de Apio, or Celery Water).  It’s the perfect thing for a warm day – don’t let the celery scare you… this is just right to cool your tongue if your menu trends toward spicy like ours did.

Summer Juice with Lemon and Celery

  • 4 lemons
  • 2 cups sliced celery (2-3 ribs)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • Sparkling water or club soda and ice

Juice the lemons, removing the zest first to save for another purpose if desired.  When you squeeze the lemons it is fine if some of the pulp gets mixed in, but pick out the seeds.  You should have about a cup of lemon juice.  Whiz the juice in the blender with the celery and 2 cups water until the celery is finely pureed, then pour through a fine sieve into a pitcher.  Save the ground up celery (see below).

Stir in the agave nectar until well-blended.  Pour over ice and add sparkling water or club soda (or simply dilute to taste with regular water if you don’t want bubbles – equal parts juice and water or use more juice if you want a stronger taste).

Fortify as desired.

Remember that ground up celery?  Here’s a nice little appetizer.  Squeeze the excess liquid out of the celery and chill it in a little bowl.  Take some flour tortillas, brush them on both sides with melted butter, and cut them into chip-sized pieces.  Bake on a parchment-lined sheet at 400 F until lightly browned and crisp, keeping an eye on them and turning after about five minutes.   Cool and store in a zip bag until time to serve.

Put the chips out on a plate alongside a little dish of cream cheese, the bowl of celery puree, and some kind of spicy pickled peppers – I highly recommend Candied Jalapeños.

Happy summer!

Tami

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