The Gospel of Cucumber Water

cuke-water

I don’t remember now who it was who first told me about cucumber water, or even when or where I first read something about it. I am grateful to whoever he/she/it was, as this summer I’ve been enjoying consecutive batches of this amazingly tasty and refreshing beverage.

How could something so refreshing, so tasty, so inexpensive, and – most importantly – so easy to make have escaped my notice for 67 years??? Up until recently, I relied almost exclusively on iced tea to get my often-thirsty self through Atlanta’s summers, with an occasional foray into homemade (or, more often, store-bought) lemonade or limeade.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing superior to a tall glass of perfectly made iced tea. (“Perfectly made” meaning, for me, chemically balanced: exactly the right amount of sugar combined with exactly the optimum number of lemon wedges. Woe be to the restaurant server who thinks I’m kidding when I order that absurdly overpriced $2.00 glass of sweet tea “with extra lemons, please,” or who later oblivously re-fills my glass without bringing me additional lemons.)

My life-long habit of drinking sweet iced tea virtually every day was further strengthened recently when I found out I could successfully replicate the iced tea recipes taught me by my sister Gayle (let the teabags steep in the boiled water for as long as you can – several hours instead of a few minutes) and by my friend Moondragon (who routinely brews his using half Lady Grey teabags, half regular).

Hence my chagrin at finding that, for the first summer ever, I’ve been alternating my habitual swilling of sweet iced tea with tumblers of chilled cucumber water.

The Internet abounds in variations of the basic cucumbers-submerged-in-water recipe. I’ve yet to try adding lemon slices and/or mint leaves, or mixing in some carbonated water along with the tap water. At some point I will probably experiment with each of those ideas.. Thus far, however, I’ve been extremely pleased with how wonderful the simplest ingredients – a third of a cucumber, sliced into a glass pitcher and covered with water, then refrigerated – has worked. And so cheap, too!

Incidentally, some of those numerous recipes on the Internet also trumpet the health benefits of cucumber water. (Example.) So that’s another piece of the Good News.

At any rate, for someone as maniacal about tea as I have always been (a daily early morning consumer, even in summer, of a favorite brand of hot tea as well as, at lunch or dinner, iced tea), this recent addition of chilled cucumber water to my daily beverage repertoire is nothing short of revolutionary. I’m especially glad that zero sugar is involved.

I think I’ve finally found a way to drink almost as much water as I’m always being warned I should consume every day. So, yay!

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