Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Refreshing Herb Water to Drink

I have written about my garden off and on.  I want to share here one of the simplest ways I use my garden every day during the warmer months.  I love the smell and taste of fresh herbs.  Many of them are easy to grow.  I have a huge 'bush' of lemon mint that I started last year.  I also have lemon thyme also from last year, and lemon verbena, which did not survive the winter so this one was planted about 5 weeks ago.   You may notice a theme in the plants that I picked.  I also have cinnamon basil and lavender, newly planted this year. 
Every morning I go out to my garden and pick 2 bunches of mint and 3 sprigs of thyme.  Later in the season, I will vary which herbs I use, but right now I am giving the newer plants time to grow before I start using them.  I take my fresh picked herbs into the kitchen, and crush them a little to release their essence, then put them in a 64 oz. container of fresh water.  I add 2 teaspoons of xylitol, which is a natural sugar which is actually good for you.
I put the lid on the container and shake it.  I let it sit awhile to let the xylitol melt and the herbs to infuse into the water.  I leave the bottle on the counter, because I don't like cold (refrigerated) water.  After about 15 minutes, it is ready to drink.  I fill up my water bottle, trying not to let too many pieces of herb into the bottle (if some gets in, that is okay, I will munch on the bits of herb when they enter my mouth while drinking).  The herbs give the water a light herby taste, varying with the chosen herbs.  It is very refreshing, and encourages me to drink more water throughout the day.  When my water bottle is getting empty, I fill it up again with herb water from the 64 oz container.  At the end of the day, I throw the herbs into the sink disposal and grind them up to make my kitchen smell good.  The next morning, I make a fresh batch of herb water.
I have never been much of a pop drinker, and I never acquired the coffee habit that so much of the civilized world has. I mostly drink herbal tea or water, so this herb water is just my 'cup of tea'. It is very healthy to drink.  It likely has some vitamin/mineral/etc. content, though I can't tell you what or how much.  I can tell you that there is nothing in it that is unhealthy.  The xylitol adds the only calories, and very few, at that (10 per teaspoon, I believe, so a total of 20 in the whole bottle). Some people do have gastrointestinal issues with large quantities of xylitol, but this is not a large quantity.  No caffeine, no alcohol, no artificial sugars or additives.  Mint is very easy to grow, in fact, if you are not careful, it likes to take over garden areas.  You can use it alone, or with other herbs.  If you don't want to or can't grow your own herbs for some reason, you can still enjoy this herb water by buying herbs at your local store or farmer's market.  Happy sipping!    

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