12 Refreshing Infused Water Ideas

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing.  

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing.

How to make it?

Well, it couldn’t be easier.

All you need is a jug of water and some fruit and/or herbs. Simply pop your herbs and fruit into the water (you might want to slice the big fruits like apples, lemons or grapefruits so the final flavour of the water is more intense) and then you just wait… Ideally you want to leave it to infuse overnight, up to 12 hours for best results but with a minimum infusing time of just 4 hours. When ready remove the fruit and herbs from the water, discard them and store the infused water in the fridge (for up to 3 days) ready to use.

For most people plain water can get a little boring especially if consumed regularly, but with the endless possibilities for infused water, everyone will find something they like and will enjoy.

I personally like the simple combo of lemon and mint – a few thick slices of lemon and a small handful of fresh mint left in the fridge overnight gives me an extremely refreshing drink in the morning.

With so many different fruits in season right now, I wanted to share with you some infused water ideas from other bloggers in the hope that they will inspire you to create your own infused water combos.

Blackberry Mint Infused Water

Cantaloupe Blueberry Infused Water

Dill, Melon, Lemon and Apple Detox Water

Fresh Mint Infused Water

Grapefruit Rosemary Water

Kiwi and Mint Infused Water

Lemon Ginger Water

Mojito Infused Detox Water

Orange Basil Infused Water

Pomegranate Lime Infused Water

Rose, Lemon & Strawberry Infused Water

Strawberry Lemon Infused Water

 

Which of those takes your fancy?

Which combo is your favourite?

 

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing. #infusedwater #water #summerdrink #fruitwater #recipe

How to Preserve Tomatoes for Winter

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Which one is best though?

Well, they all have their place in our kitchen and work best in different situations, so why not try all of them and decide which one suits your cooking style best?

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.Freezing

Freezing tomatoes is most likely the easiest and least time-consuming way of preserving them for later. So how to properly freeze tomatoes?

  • Carefully wash them in cold water.
  • Let them air dry, ideally by spreading them on a large sheet of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel… you can help them dry quicker by gently patting them all over with some extra kitchen roll.
  • Finally, spread them out on a large baking sheet and simply pop them into your freezer but make sure they are not touching each other.
  • After 12 hours or so, move your tomatoes from the baking sheet and pop into a freezer bag or an airtight container, label and put back to the freezer, ready for depths of winter! Simple.

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Canning

When you think about tomatoes in jars, the possibilities become endless, various flavours, sauces, ketchups and concentrates, but today we want to focus on the simplest ways of preserving them in jars.

  • Wash, peel and roughly chop your tomatoes.
  • Place them into earlier prepared (cleaned and sterilized) glass jars, filling up to the neck (you need to leave some space, at least 1cm at the top of the jar) and slightly squashing them down in order to get rid of any “dead space” and air bubbles. Secure the lid tightly.
  • Put a kitchen cloth at the bottom of the largest cooking pot you have so the glass jars will not touch saucepan directly, then place the jars into the saucepan and fill with cold water up to ¾ of the height of the jars. Bring it all slowly to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the jars are cooking find a couple of large bath towels or small blankets and fold one up and place on a shelf or worktop that is safe from knocks or curious kids. It needs to make room for all the jars to sit comfortably on it.
  • When the time is up, remove the jars from the boiling water with some oven gloves, turn upside down, and place on your folded towel. Cover completely with the second thick towel or blanket making sure there are no gaps you want them all snug in there. Allow to rest in this position until completely cool (it might take 24-36h).

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Drying

The drying process can be achieved by air drying, oven drying, dehydrating and my favourite sun drying! There is nothing better than the taste of sun dried tomatoes during the winter! So how do you sun dry tomatoes?

  • Wash and dry tomatoes.
  • Cut them into your desired size. I personally prefer drying cherry tomatoes and I just cut them in half.
  • Place them on a metal baking tray, skin side down, then cover with some cheesecloth, muslin or some sort of fly net… if needed you might want to construct some risers so the cloth doesn’t rest on your fruit directly.
  • Place in the full sun and watch them shrink!

Here, in temperatures around 30C, my tomatoes are ready within 3 days.

 

I hope you enjoyed this short guide to dealing with tomatoes. After drowning in cucumbers for a while, now we have an abundance of tomatoes and aubergines so more recipes and ideas will follow shortly, I am sure!

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

 

How to Decipher Pet Food Labels

Let’s be honest, most food labels, being human or for our pets, are not really designed for your average Jo… you really do need specialist detailed knowledge if you wish to fully understand what you or your pet are eating. Human food labelling is slowly getting better, the regulations are changing and some labels are becoming straight forward, but what about pet food? Not so fast to change, so how do you go about deciphering that?

Well, this is a good question. Unclear terms and tons of marketing babble can make it really hard to truly understand what’s inside the packet.

Recently, I came across an article “Calls for clearer labelling on pet food” by Dogs Monthly, which features an infographic by Data Label. There was a part which really made me think.

What is Meat Meal?

Well, apparently there is no official definition of it, but it seems to be a high concentrated lower grade protein powder obtained from rendering down parts of an animal, which cost a fraction of the whole animal…

Every time you read on your label dehydrated, powder, dried, meal, concentrated… this is not whole meat, those are parts of the animal which are either surplus requirements in the human food industry or are not intended for human consumption… doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Now here is another pet food labelling dilemma. Let’s say, I just bought a puppy and I want to buy a high protein dog food to help him grow up big and strong… I look at the labels, I study all the numbers and tables and pick the one which shows the highest amount of protein… sounds good, right? Well, not really… it’s maybe not the right choice or even a good choice because I have no idea what type of protein they are using… protein from the whole chicken does not equal proteins obtained from say chicken beaks or feet… yet looking at the labels I will never know which grade of protein is in the pack.

A lot of people think that naturally the more expensive the food, then the better quality it is… I personally strongly DO NOT agree with this! I think if this would be the truth then there would be no need for mystery labelling… I think the company would be proud to clearly state what’s in their food for everyone to understand without having a degree in deciphering mystery labels. Don’t ever underestimate what a fully funded marketing department can achieve.

If you hoped this post will give you an answer as to how to read pet labels, well, I am sorry I couldn’t help…

Pet food labelling shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be clear, simple and understandable to everyone, to all customers.

I hope one day this will become a reality!

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More on the topic:

The Science of Pet Food Labels

How to Read a Pet Food Label

Understanding Pet Food Labels

Leftover Herb Salsa Verde

Herb Salsa Verde is a green sauce, which you can make as chunky or smooth as you wish. It’s a great way to use up any leftover herbs or greens in the fridge and can accompany any meat or fish dish.

The recipe can be adapted by using any herbs depending on your own taste or what you are serving it with. There is no exact recipe, you can add as little or as much of each ingredient as you like, but you need to add enough olive oil to make it a sauce. You can also use a number of wild herbs such as wild garlic or sorrel.

Ingredients:

  • Handful of herbs
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Lemon juice / red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Optional: chopped capers, mustard or gherkins

Method:

Chop the herbs finely and put in a medium bowl.

Add each ingredient and stir in, tasting as you go.

Add olive oil and stir thoroughly to create a sauce-like texture.

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The recipe above comes from “Leftover Pie: 101 ways to reduce your food waste” a book by Anna Pitt and it was contributed by Sara Green, Derby Food Assembly.

“Leftover Pie” teaches people about the importance of food waste reduction and gives practical ideas and solutions to this major world problem. Tracing the history of food waste over the last 100 years, the book looks at how we have arrived at a food waste crisis point. Then, without beating ourselves up about it, Leftover Pie shares tips and recipes to help us tackle the problem and make the most of what we have.

For this moment you can purchase this book in kindle version only but the paperback is on its way.

Currently, Anna is running a special offer where you can pre-order a signed copy of the book for £10 only (regular price for the paperback is set for £12.99) – the author will make sure, the book arrives on the launch date of September 8th. But hurry as this offer ends very soon.

Do you have any “secret” recipes to use leftover food in your kitchen?

The Best Vegetables To Feed Your Dog For Optimal Health

* By Jeffery Roberts

Many people make the mistake of thinking that dogs are mostly carnivorous, and therefore do not need to eat vegetables. The truth is that vegetables, and some fruit, are an important part of your dog’s diet and a primary source of micronutrients.

The vitamins and nutrients in vegetables can help your pet live a longer and healthier life. Whether you are feeding a raw diet, and need to add in nutrients, or you are simply looking to supplement your pet’s current food regimen, these are the fruits and vegetables you should be focusing on:

Beets

Fresh, oven-roasted beets are a nutritional powerhouse for your dog. They contain B vitamins and are powerful detoxifiers due to their high antioxidant levels. They may help to reduce allergy sensitivities in your pet and reduce itching. They also fight inflammation and can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis in older pets. Be sure to not overfeed beets because they are naturally high in sugar, and never feed your pet beet greens. The greens contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in high amounts.

Carrots

Carrots are high in many nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin A, both of which support eyesight. Vitamin A is also important for the immune system and gives a boost to your dog’s skin and coat. Carrots can also help to improve dental health, acting as a natural toothbrush as your pet chews away. They are also low in calories, which makes them safe to use as treats on a regular basis.

Berries

Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may also help to prevent cancer. They also hinder the growth of bad bacteria and can help to fight infections. Berries are easy for dogs to digest and can be fed regularly in moderation.

Broccoli

Broccoli can be given to your dog either raw or cooked, and should be a regular part of your pet’s diet due to its nutrient-rich super powers! Broccoli helps with detoxification, maintaining skin and coat health and helps protect the heart. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity for your pet much like it does for humans, and is also high in fiber.

Kale

Kale helps to prevent heart disease, allergies, arthritis and urinary tract infections. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, including B vitamins that help maintain a healthy coat and nervous system. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, making it ideal for regular supplementation to your pet’s food.

Asparagus

Asparagus is another vitamin-packed vegetable that is non-toxic to dogs. Asparagus, unlike some other vegetables, is also high in minerals like copper, phosphorous and potassium. It is also high in B-vitamins and vitamin K. It is known to help with immune health, nervous system function and to help regulate blood sugar, making it great for dogs who are at risk of diabetes. Asparagus is tough when raw, so it is best served to your pup after lightly steaming it.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in vitamins like potassium and iron, and can also offer a great digestive aid for dogs. It can be served raw, cooked or even canned and can help promote regularity if your pet suffers from diarrhea or constipation. Some holistic vets will also recommend pumpkin to aid in weight loss for dogs, by replacing a portion of their regular food with a similar amount of canned pumpkin on a daily basis.

Sweet Potato

Like pumpkin, sweet potato is also a helpful vegetable for regulating your pet’s digestion and can have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Dogs also love its sweet flavor! They’re also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese. Sweet potatoes have become common in many reputable dog foods, so check your wet or dry food’s label before adding additional sweet potato to your dog’s diet.

Introducing your dog to new fruits and vegetables

Your dog has a much less varied diet than you do and is likely not accustomed to many new foods. A dog’s digestive tract also functions best with consistency, so practice awareness as you introduce more fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet. It is recommended to introduce each one separately, in small amounts, so that your dog can get acclimated and you can observe to see if it causes any upset to his unique digestion.

Conclusion

Fruit and vegetables provide important nutrients that boost your dog’s health and help to protect him from diseases like arthritis, diabetes and cancer. When introducing new fruits and veggies, start slow to give your pet time to get used to them. Before you know it, your pet will be loving his new diet and be healthier than ever!

 

About the author: Jeffery Roberts

Jeffery is a pet enthusiast and volunteer at his local pet shelter. His passion for animals started at an early age and through his work on becoming a veterinary student he understands and cares for pets of all species. Jeffery currently writes for The Happy Pooch and has 2 cats, a bird and a dog – Lucy.