During a recent stay at the new Saguaro Palm Springs, we encountered an unusual ice water add-in: fiery jalapeño peppers! Water infused with chile peppers might seem odd, or dangerously overpowering, but we found it pleasantly subtle and refreshing. In addition to adding festive color, the jalapeños imparted a hint of spice that was welcome on a sunny day (see the spicy food in hot weather principle). Granted, Palm Springs is warmer than most parts of the country this time of year, but you don't have to wait until summer to try this out. Jalapeños are also known to relieve headaches and congestion from allergies and colds. Or you could serve this during a Mexican-inspired meal.
We recommend making jalapeño water with whole chiles; at the Saguaro, they used about 3 red and green peppers to a gallon. If you're a true spice fiend (or especially congested), you could try sliced and seeded peppers. Cucumber and/or lime would be nice additions, too. Refrigerate and allow the water to infuse for at least an hour before serving.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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