It is essential to keep our bodies hydrated all year round. However, it’s especially important to do so during the summer months. The high temperatures put us at risk of dehydration. We need to stay hydrated in order for our body to function properly and optimally. It is recommended to drink water throughout the day, and never wait until we get thirsty. In addition to water, some other alternatives include lemon water, coconut water, and zero-calorie seltzer.
You can always make your own iced green tea or Hibiscus Flower tea. My suggestion to try out something different is Horchata. Besides being delicious, it is also nutritious. With the exception of sugar which you can replace with your favorite calorie-free sweetener, horchata provides carbohydrates and proteins. Keep in mind that water should be your number one choice of hydration and other drinks should be consumed in moderation.
Horchata is a very popular rice drink. Almost each and every country in Latin America has its own version of it. Basically it consists of soaking uncooked rice – amaranth is also used – with other ingredients such as peanuts, morro, pumpkin and sesame seeds in water, blend it all together and pass it through a sieve or strainer.
In Honduras, horchata is prepared year-round and is especially made for birthday celebrations or large crowds due to its yielding rate.
In contrast to Mexican horchata―very popular at Mexican restaurants―that uses almonds and milk, Honduran or Salvadoran horchata is predominantly made with peanuts and water. Also, a huge difference is the use of morro seeds in the Honduran or Salvadoran version. Morro seeds are the seeds of the morro fruit. Unfortunately, the seeds are not available in the United States. Instead, you can find ‘morro powder’ where the seeds have been ground up. This product can be purchased online, or at Latino grocery stores that carry Honduran or Salvadoran foods. The rest of the ingredients in horchata are always toasted to bring out their flavor and aroma. The rice makes the drink have a milky texture and seeds and nuts give it a deliciously nutty aroma.
Ingredients Yields: about 1 gallon
2 cups, long-grain, uncooked rice
½ cup, dried morro seeds, toasted
¼ cup unsalted, unsweetened peanuts, toasted
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 gallon of water
Cane sugar or your favorite artificial sweetener to taste
Wash the rice under running cold water and place in a large glass container along with the rest of the ingredients with exception of the sugar. Add ½ gallon of water, cover with a lid and soak for at least 6 hours or overnight (refrigerated).
Once the rice, nuts and seeds have soaked, add the rest of the water and blend it all together on high. You would need to do this in batches, making sure your stir the mixture well before it goes into the blender.
Pass each batch of blended mixture through a strainer (the finer the better), pressing the mixture down with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Add more water if the mixture is too thick and sweeten with your sweetener of preference. Add lime zest and serve chilled.
Suellen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in the Rochester, NY area. Connect with her at suellenpinedaRDN@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @Suellen_Pineda