Last week, we walked into one of our favorite restaurants in Hutchinson, a little hole-in-the-wall called El Rodeo that serves up tons of amazing Mexican food.
I have explored all over their menu, and I have yet to find something I didn’t like. I’m especially a sucker for their chorizo and potato fried tacos, which are crispy and perfectly seasoned. My mouth is watering just thinking about them right now.
This visit, my eye was drawn to a large container of pretty yellow liquid sitting next to the ever-present and always-tempting container of horchata (now there’s a recipe I need to try at home, too).
“Pineapple water,” I was told when wondering what it was.
I immediately ordered a big glass, and I was not even slightly disappointed, so of course, I researched pineapple water, or agua de piña.
An article by Gilda Valdez Carbonaro explains that aguas frescas (fresh waters) are popular in Mexico from spring through early fall and are made with a variety of fruits, seeds and other fresh produce (horchata, a rice-based drink, is considered an agua fresca, too).
If you’re not familiar, don’t think of it as a smoothie or as just a normal fruit juice. It’s in a league of its own, and it’s amazing.
The recipe I decided to use was from Douglas Cullen on the blog “Mexican Food Journal.” I changed nothing about this recipe, because it was literally three ingredients—and it was awesome. You can find his original post at https://mexicanfoodjournal.com/pineapple-water/amp/.
Agua de Piña
- 1 ripe fresh pineapple
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- You will want to make this in two batches, because it will overflow your blender otherwise.
- Begin by cutting your pineapple into chunks. The best way to slice a pineapple, in my experience, is to cut the top and bottom off of it. Then cut it into quarters. Slice out the little bit of core on the edge of each quarter. Then slice your knife down through the fruit but not through the skin. Start by slicing it in half lengthwise and then do the same going the other direction, cutting the fruit into about one-inch chunks.
- Now, carefully run your knife between the fruit and the skin, and it should easily come off in perfect-sized chunks. If any of the green bits come away with the fruit, trim it off.
- Combine half of the pineapple, water and sugar in a blender and blend until everything is smooth. Repeat with the second half.
- Pour the mixture into a pitcher or jug through a fine strainer (I had to keep jostling the contents of mine, because it was getting clogged up as it strained).
- Serve at room temperature or out of the fridge. No ice needed.
This is an extremely satisfying drink, and while there is added sugar, it doesn’t hold a candle to drinking a pop, a glass of Kool-aid or even a lot of fruit juices you can buy.
As a side note, if you’re nervous about buying fresh pineapple, the goal is to find one that gives just a little when you press on it, and the best rule about ripe pineapple is that the better it smells, the riper it is.
I was pretty sad when the last glass of agua de piña left our fridge last week, and I suspect there may be a couple more batches in our future this summer.
It also pairs great with a couple fried chorizo and potato tacos, which come to think of it, will likely be in my future as well.
This piece first appeared in print on June 20, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.