Drinking plain water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. You may hydrate with flavor through high moisture foods and tasty liquids. There are so many wonderful and nutritious ways to stay hydrated! Watermelon, strawberries, and cucumbers are at the top of the list for water content.
Watermelon, Strawberries, and Cucumbers
Fresh watermelon contains 92% water by weight! Perhaps having the highest water content of all fruits, it provides an abundance of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C.1 Keep diced melon in the refrigerator for a handy snack. Fresh strawberries contain 91% water, a close second to watermelon, for a tasty way to hydrate. They also provide potassium, other minerals and vitamins. Citrus fruits are about 89%,then raspberries and blueberries weigh in at 96% water.2
Peeled cucumbers contain 97% water. With the peeling intact they are an amazing 95% water. This vegetable tops the chart for water content along with celery and zucchini weighing in at 95% water.3 Juicing these tasty vegetables with a carrot or two is incredibly nutritious!
When you are looking for ideas for staying hydrated in the summer heat keep these three tasty options in mind. Having a bowl of diced watermelon or fresh berries is always a treat. Lightly salted cucumbers are a favorite hydrating snack at our home. Keep a large tray of chopped fresh vegetables handy. Who takes the time to cut vegetables when they are super hungry? But, if they are already prepared ahead of time, it is so easy to grab a snack. Thinking and planning ahead saves time and also encourages our families to eat healthier and keep hydrated.
Fresh Fruit or Vegetables in Water
Did you ever try sliced fruit or vegetables in a glass of water? Everyone has seen the classic slice of lemon, right? Why not try adding any type of fruit, and a pinch of stevia for extra sweetness. Also try cucumber slices, or other vegetables and see how you like this! No need to spend money on flavored drinks; with a little time and effort, you can make them right at home.
Essential Oils in Water
Another wonderful hint for tasty hydration is adding essential oils to warm or cold water. Combining cinnamon together with orange is at the top of my list! A drop or two of lemon, orange, tangerine, or grapefruit in a glass of water adds zesty tang. Compared to buying flavored water, this is a huge savings and tastes so much better!
One way to evenly distribute an essential oil throughout the drinking water is to mix it with some liquid stevia and shake it well. This disperses the EO and adds a bit of sweetness to the drink. After purchasing a small bottle of plain liquid stevia, add your favorite EO and keep it handy for a quick drink. Rotate between your favorite flavors and never become tired of having the same flavor over again and again. Experiment with making your own blends, yum!
Fresh squeezed orange juice is delightful, but when fresh oranges aren’t in season, orange essential oil is a tasty alternative! Orange is noted for its calming and antidepressant qualities, bringing cheerfulness when inhaled. It can also help relieve stress, aid in digestion, and encourage metabolic detoxification. Having an upset stomach? Settle it down with orange and tangerine essential oils. Needing assistance with lymphatic drainage, try orange and lemon EOs.
Grapefruit oil is also commonly used for cleansing toxins from the body. Like other citrus oils, it has an inspiring scent that increases energy, elevates mood, and combats stress. Grapefruit oil’s natural purifying properties make it a popular alternative to harsh, chemical-laden household and body care products. It is also rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damaging free radicals.
Drying Herbs for Tea
Growing and drying herbs for tea is a healthy option for hydrating with flavor. I use an Excalibur dehydrator for quickly drying the herbs I’ve grown. Years ago, I hung herbs to dry, but I noticed the quicker they dry, the better the flavor. Following is a simple outline for harvesting and drying herbs.
- Harvest herbs before they reach the flowering stage for peak flavor. They tend to become bitter after this stage of development.
- Pick herbs after the morning dew has dried, but before the heat of the day for the freshest flavor.
- After picking, rinse herbs and pat dry, if necessary. Herbs grown indoors may not need washing.
- Remove and discard any discolored or diseased leaves. Then strip the rest from the stem. For herbs with tiny stems this is not necessary.
- Spread the leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, avoiding overlapping as much as possible, but it does occur.
- Dry herbs at the lowest temperature. Check in about two hours. If not dry, continue checking each hour. Thicker leaves may take 6-8 hours.
- Remove completely dried herbs and place them in glass jars. Herbs stored in plastic bags may pick up the plastic smell.
- If possible, seal the jar airtight (with a Foodsaver). Otherwise, tightly screw the lid on the jar, label, and date. Store in a cool, dark area.
- When making tea, boil purified water, remove from heat, and add dried leaves. Steep for at least 10 minutes, strain, and enjoy!
- For the best flavor, use dried herbs in 6-12 months.
Excalibur’s adjustable thermostat lets you take advantage of Hyperwave™ Fluctuation (changing heat through the drying cycle) for faster, better, safer dried foods. As the temperature fluctuates up, the surface moisture evaporates. Then, as the temperature fluctuates down the inner moisture moves to the drier surface. The food temperature stays LOW enough to keep the enzymes active, and the air temperature gets high enough to dry food fast, overcoming yeast, mold, and bacteria growth and spoilage.
The fan, heating element, and thermostat are in the back of the tray style dehydrators, while inefficient stackable style dehydrators only have air rising up from the bottom of a tall unit. With an Excalibur style, cool air is drawn in, heated, and distributed evenly over each tray. This exclusive design helps the food dry faster, retain more nutrients, taste and look better, without tray rotation.
FREE SHIPPING on all Excalibur units when ordered through our site. You’ll find a nice dehydrator that fits your needs!
1-3 Nutrient facts: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov