For this Lunes Latino we will be talking Latin non-alcoholic fruit drinks: Jugos, Gaseosas, Aguas Gaseosas, Aguas, Aguas Frescas, Refrescos, Licuados, Batidas, Zumos, Nectar, Preparados the list goes on (did I miss one?). These are some of the terms used around Latin America to refer to either natural fruit juice, soft drinks, smoothies and carbonated drinks. Because some of these are so similar but still their meaning can be different, I thought it would be good to try to explain them. Wish me luck!
- Refrescos are natural fruit juices mixed with water and sugar in Nicaragua but are carbonated soft drinks in the Dominican Republic.
- Aguas, or Aguas Frescas are natural fruit juices mixed with water and sugar in Mexico but Aguas (short from Aguas Gaseosas) are carbonated soft drinks in Guatemala.
- Aguas is also the term for water mixed with cereals like rice and oatmeal, in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
- Jugos are natural fruit juices mixed with water and sugar in Venezuela but are just the pure fruit juice in Mexico.
- Licuados, Batidas and Preparados are some of the terms used in various Latin American countries to refer to what we may call in English smoothies, fruit juices blended with milk and ice.
As you can see it is not easy to explain. I hope you got the gist of it, if not, let’s leave the confusion behind and let me tell you about my favorite fruit which I will make juice out of and will add some awesome green power to it to make it even better for you and me.
My favorite fruit: mango.
Every time I see mangoes at the farmers market for a good price, I jump on them and get as many as I can. I just love them. Mangoes transport me back to my childhood like no other food item does. As I sip through mango juice or take a bite into its flesh I get transported to the wonderful mango trees (yes, plural as in three mango trees) that are in my parents’ backyard where I grew up in the Dominican Republic. If mami didn’t have any mango juice ready, we would just peal and eat the fruit away with such fervor that the mango juices would run through our hands. Another fun way of having instant mango juice was to beat up the mango, make a hole at the top of it and suck as we squeeze the fruit. Oh, those were the days.
As you can see the apple (or should I say the mango?) does not fall far from the tree. Little L loves mangoes too. That’s my girl!
When I said I would add awesome green power to my fruit juice, I really meant it. Part of my healthy new year’s resolutions is to have more veggies but it is hard sometimes so I have looked at creative ways to do so. Cucumber has been a great ally for me. Its mild taste allows me to add it to any juice I make without altering the fruit taste, which makes me happy because cucumbers are really really good for our bodies. Look up the benefits of cucumber and you will be amazed.
The result is a refreshing and tasty, green colored juice that will satisfy your sweet and veggie needs. If you do not like the green color, you could peel the cucumber but why do that? Most of the nutritional value is right in the skin. So don’t be green with envy and just try this green refreshing drink. You will thank me; so, you’re welcome.
Mango Cucumber Juice
1 pound mango pulp
1 pound cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups of water
Honey to give it a fresh sweet taste (optional)
Add mango, cucumber, water and sugar (optional) in a blender. Once blended well, strain the juice using a fine mesh colander to avoid getting any fibers from the mango or rough skin bits from the cucumber.
Pour juice in a pitcher and serve with ice.
Garnish with cucumber or lime slices.