Horchata: Healthy Homemade Easy Recipe
- 8 cups of water
- 2 cups brown rice
- ¼ whole oats*
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup cane sugar *optional
- Ground cinnamon for serving
- In a large pot add four cups of water. Turn off the heat as soon as it starts boiling. Add the rice and cover. (If you are using oats, add them to the boiling water as well). Let the rice soak for at least four hours to overnight.
- Meanwhile, boil the other four cups of water with the sugar and cinnamon.
- When the rice is ready, strain it and blend with the cinnamon and sugar water.
- Taste for sweetness and adjust by adding one by one tablespoons of sugar.
- Strain through a fine sieve or a cheese cloth if needed into a pitcher.
- Serve with ice and top with ground cinnamon.
Yes it is true, in every Mexican house there was always, in the fridge, a big pitcher full of “agua fresca.” And in every meal, it was very common to have healthy homemade hibiscus flowers, melon, watermelon, horchata as a beverage to drink during meals. And I’m talking in past tense because sodas and fake water flavorings are taking over this tradition. Instead of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that give us life and protect us from getting sick, some families are drinking sodas and non-natural fruit drinks. Sodas and this type of juices are filled with sugar and other ingredients that can have a harmful effect over our health. Sugar, especially processed white sugar, is very addictive and damaging. It affects our livers, makes our skin dull, and causes skin disorders, among other things.
The saddest part for me is that kids, probably the same age as mine, won’t even know what they missed out on. “Paletas” and “aguas frescas” are made the same way, pureeing fruit with water and some type of sweetener, a natural one and in much lower amounts than what is found in sodas. I remember, as a kid, getting back from school to a perfectly set table and large glasses filled with a very colorful and fruity drink. But the best surprise was when that liquid was white; I have always loved horchata. Now as a grownup and mom, I make it at home, but I like to kick it up a notch nutritionally speaking by adding other ingredients and using brown rice. Sometimes I add oats, other times cashews, but here is the traditional recipe, the recipe I grew up with. My kids love it and a lot of times help to prepare it. I love to give them this kind of beverages because it gives me peace of mind nutritionally and culturally speaking.