Summer is right around the corner, and the weather this weekend has been so delightful. One of our favorite refreshing drinks is Cucumber Water. To flavor drinking water, add subtly aromatic slices of English cucumber (which are virtually seedless) instead of the usual lemon wedges. Float the thin rounds in a pitcher of chilled water. Garnish each glass with cucumber, too.
Yield: Serves 8
1 medium cucumber, scrubbed well
2 quarts spring water
Remove strips of cucumber skin, creating 1/2-inch-wide alternating bands of peeled and bare cucumber. Trim and discard ends. Halve cucumber lengthwise; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Combine cucumber and water in large pitcher; steep for 1 hour, and serve over ice.
Health Tip: Cucumbers contain vitamin C and caffeic acid, two antioxidant nutrients that can help protect the skin from sun damage. Vitamin C boosts collagen and elastin, which helps keep skin looking vibrant while caffeic acid protects skin cells from UV radiation. Cucumbers also have natural anti-inflammatory properties and help to prevent water retention. Cucumbers also contain silica, an essential component of healthy connective tissue.