Clear water containers with fresh fruit and ice are beautiful. Strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, limes and even grapefruits add a splash of color to plain water. I have seen them in hotel lobbies, in restaurants and at buffets. These not only look inviting but they are hopefully reminding everyone to drink more water and avoid sugary soft drinks.
If you are making your own fruit-infused water there are several food safety considerations that I would encourage you to think about. First, make sure your container has been washed thoroughly and rinsed before it is used. Second, check the fruits and vegetables you plan to use to confirm they are free from spoilage. Then scrub them as if you were going to eat them. Do not just rinse them off. Third, all infused waters should be kept cold (at 41 degrees or below). The water can be kept in the refrigerator until ready to be used and it needs to be kept iced down during the serving time. The container should be covered so no foreign items are accidentally added.
If you make your own infused water, you can feel confident that you have followed all the food safety rules. If you decide to indulge in some infused water prepared in another establishment there are things you might want to consider. First, did the person preparing the ingredients follow all the food safety rules? Did the person use gloves to prepare the fruit, vegetables or herbs? Are there refillable water bottles being filled from the spout and is it possible that the “mouth” of the refillable bottle might touch the spout on the container?
These considerations should not discourage you from enjoying water as a fun treat but it is just a reminder that all foods have some simple food safety rules and we need to follow them. The information in this article is in part from Cheryle Jones Syracuse from Ohio State University.
Drinking water is very important especially in the summer months. To help prevent heat exhaustion, be sure to hydrate well before and during any physical activity.
Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at firstname.lastname@example.org