Making Low-calorie, Refreshing Citrus Coolers
A tasty, fresh citrus drink tastes delightful, quenches the thirst, and helps keep a healthy electrolyte balance. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, tangelos, and pummelos are citrus fruits, but oranges and lemons are used in making the Summer Citrus Cooler recipe.
Summer Citrus Cooler: A Quick Beverage Recipe
Cooling, refreshing, and low-calorie, this drink provides quick energy upon arising in the morning or for mid-afternoon blood-sugar drops and is a perfect cooler for those hot summer days. Fresh, hand-squeezed oranges, lemons, and a fruit-based herbal tea are the ingredients,or you can use an electric juicer. This recipe makes about four, 8-ounce servings.
- 4 Navel oranges, large, seeded and juiced
- 1 lemon, medium, seeded and juiced
- 3 3/4 cups water, pure or filtered, room temperature
- 2 T stevia, powdered form
- 2 bags fruit-flavored herbal tea
- Using a hand or electric juicer, juice the Navel oranges and lemon. Seeds may be removed either prior to or after juicing. A paring knife works well prior to juicing; otherwise, a small spoon works well if a medium-holed strainer is unavailable after juicing. Manually taking out seeds with the spoon also allows more pulp to remain in the juice.
- Steep the tea in the water at least 8 minutes.
- Mix all ingredients together in a small pitcher.
- Drink at room temperature or refrigerate, as desired.
A Demonstration With One Type of Manual Juicer
The Nutrients of Oranges and Lemons
Nutrient (per 100 g)
Oranges around the world come in over 600 varieties. Valencia and California Navel, which also grows in Florida, are the most common in American grocery markets. The Hamilton Orange, native to Florida, may be dark yellow to light orange in color, is seedless and good for juicing. Valencias originated in Valencia, Spain, with possibly an earlier origination in China. Lesser known varieties include the Blood Orange from Italy and the Cleopatra Mandarin of India.
Purdue.edu lists 22 most widely used varieties of lemons: Armstrong, Avon, Bearss, Berna, Eureka, Femminello Ovale, Genoa, Harvey, Interdonato, Lisbon, Meyer, Montecello, Nepali Oblong, Perrine, Ponderosa, Rosenberger, Rough Lemon, Santa Teresa, Sweet Lemon, and Villafranca. Some lemon varieties appear striped with green and yellow or white sections running from top to bottom (end to end).
Herbal Tea Varieties
Several companies provide fruit-flavored, herbal teas that work well for this recipe. Teavana makes Berry Kiwi Colada and Pomegranate Cranberry Crush. Celestial Seasonings has Cranberry Apple Zinger and Raspberry Zinger. Herbal Sage carries Family Health Tea with Elderberry and Ginger Hibiscus Organic Tea. Wild Raspberry Hibiscus Herbal Tea by Stash compliments the citrus juices. Any tart-flavored berry combined with a mild, sweet spice like ginger or cinnamon as part of the herbal tea blend suits this Summer Cooler recipe.
Stevia, a Non-caloric Herbal Sweetener
Stevia is a plant most commonly found in South America. The plant's leaves contain 30-45 times the sweetness of ordinary table sugar.The compounds in the stevia leaf that account for the plant's sweetness resist heat, are pH stable, and do not ferment.
Stevia has been researched since the 1970s when the scare of carcinogens were associated with cyclamate and saccharin. In Japan, stevia makes up about 40% of the sweeteners consumed. Today China is the greatest exporter of one of stevia's sweetening compounds, stevioside (a combination of glucose and steviol). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves stevia as a dietary supplement but not as a "food additive," due to questionable effects on kidneys, heart, and reproduction in spite of the fact the Japanese have continued to use it without any known side effects. One minor "side effect" is that heavy consumption can leave a bitter taste in the mouth from the aglycones, nonsweetening ingredients that are found with glucose. The FDA does approve the less refined version of sterioside, rebiana.
A Word About Water
Next to air, water is the most important aspect in body maintenance. The physical body typically contains about 75 percent H2O. Seven days without water replenishment can result in severe dehydration and death. About one-half ounce of water for every pound of body weight is necessary to prevent dehydration.
Water primarily serves as a coolant, with the powers of dissolving food molecules and keeping the transport of waste efficient in the metabollic process. Chlorinated and fluoridated water contribute nothing to these important functions. The best type of water for the greatest benefit is pure, distilled water. Rain water was used by many native people, but today air pollution makes rain water less desirable. Natural spring water or filtered water rank secondary to distilled in performance. For the best flavor when steeping tea, distilled water is recommended.
Now It's Your Turn
The Summer Citrus Cooler is just one recipe for making a refreshing citrus cooler. Try different blends of sweet and tangy citrus fruits mixed with your favorite sweetener and a berry herbal tea blend. You can use the proportions from this recipe. Be creative and enjoy!
Credits and Resources
http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/00013/id49.htm (Information on Orange Varieties)
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lemon.html#Varieties (Lemon Varieties)
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/lemons-provide-vitamin-c-like-oranges-do-3508.html (Jessica Brusso on Lemon-Orange Nutrients)