I’ve been neglecting aguas frescas recently. But last week the garden yielded a bumper crop of pomegranates (granadas). The insects are arriving for their share. Snakes in every Eden.

If you’ve ever tackled a pomegranate, with its tough outer skin and its white membrane that cocoons each individual seed, you know that it’s not the easiest of fruits to deal with. But if all you want is juice, and if you are lucky enough to have a hand operated Mexican orange juice squeezer, it’s just dandy for pomegranate juice. Here’s Emilia cutting up the pomegranates and squeezing them.

I freeze lots of the juice to use in cooking or for making aguas in the dead of winter. But some I pour into a pitcher, add three or four times the amount of water and enough sugar to take the edge off the tartness. The result is what my husband calls, with deadly accuracy, your fluorescent drink. It’s also one of the loveliest in color and in taste. I could drink it all year long.

In the States you can get bottled pomegranate juice. You can get it in Costco in Mexico too. Dilute this. It’s not quite so lovely, the flavor does not have the immediacy, but it’s cheap, available year round, and rouses haunting echoes of the real thing.

And pomegranates jump start us into the Eurasian origins of agua fresca. More tomorrow.

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