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Quench your thirst with a fruity and frozen treat

By Melissa d'Arabian, Associated Press
Associated Press
Fresh fruit takes center stage in Agua Fresca. Frozen watermelon cubes bring texture.

Balmy weather calls for ice-cold sweet treats; fruity drinks are a natural part of the summertime poolside landscape. But those drinks are often loaded with sugar, boasting 40 or more grams in even a reasonably sized drink.

Worse, the "fruitiness" is often from flavored syrup instead of the actual fruit, which likely translates into high-fructose corn syrup and food dyes. Even "natural" frozen fruit drinks often have a bunch of added sugars. (Remember: White sugar is natural. It doesn't mean your body needs a ton extra.)

The good news is that making your own fruity drinks is incredibly easy. I grew up in Tucson, Ariz., drinking "aguas frescas," which translates into "fresh waters." Mexican aguas frescas are made from fresh fruit blended or mashed into cold water and ice.

Living near the border, we would peel fragrant mangoes and scoop the chunky sweet flesh into a blender with a cup of water, ice, a splash of lime juice and a little sugar and blend it all into a slushy treat that defined hot Arizona summers for me.

Now that I have four daughters of my own, I whip up my updated version of the agua fresca of my childhood. I blend a cup of almost any summer fruit cut into cubes with a cup of cold water, a cup of ice and the secret to a great icy texture: a cup of frozen watermelon cubes.

The frozen watermelon blends up icy and thick and gives the drink body that doesn't melt away as quickly as ice. And, the blended frozen watermelon helps keep the agua fresca from separating while you sip. Plus, watermelon mixes easily with all the other summer fruits, allowing them actually to be the star of the drink.

I skip the white sugar altogether, squeezing in a little orange juice instead of the traditional lime juice. It gives the drink just enough tang and a tiny touch of sweetness.