Recipe: Agua fresca with strawberry and jamaica flowers

Total time: 20 minutes, plus steeping and macerating time

Servings: Makes 2 1/2 quarts

Note: Adapted from Anthony Medina of La Taquiza

2 cups dried hibiscus (jamaica) flowers -- available in well-stocked Latin markets

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup sugar

1. Combine the hibiscus flowers with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then allow to steep for about 2 hours. Strain and reserve the hibiscus water.

2. Place the strawberries in a large bowl, toss with the sugar and macerate for 30 minutes.

3. In a blender, purée the strawberries (and any syrup) with the hibiscus water; this may need to be done in batches.

4. Strain the mixture with a standard sieve into a large pitcher; stir in 2 quarts water. Adjust consistency as desired with additional water; add more sugar if desired to sweeten. Serve over ice. This will keep for 2 days, refrigerated.

Each 8-ounce serving: 75 calories; 0 protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 1 mg. sodium.

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