It's that time of year when we're seeing triple digits by lunchtime and I only want to eat and drink things that are cold, preferably frozen. So I share with you the perfect summertime refresher that my friend, Jennifer, introduced me to at her house. You combine fresh pineapple juice with mint and ice and sometimes Jen adds fresh ginger to give it another layer of flavor.
This one is a little bit fussy — you purée fresh pineapple and then have to press it through a sieve to remove the pulp, unless you have a juicer. But it doesn't take long and gives you the ultimate smooth essence of pineapple.
I drink piña agua fresca all the time at our favorite neighborhood Mexican joint. It's really good. But theirs doesn't include the mint. Fresh mint somehow makes the pineapple flavor even more somehow. For a little different spin, I like it with the ginger too. But as much as I love ginger, it's warming to me, so I usually make this in the blazing summer with just mint. Try it both ways and see what you like.
Note that you can prep the pineapple juice and combine it with the mint a little ahead of time and stash it in the fridge. But don't blend it with the ice until you're ready to serve it. You want these icy for the utimate slushie refreshment.
I haven't tried this, but I'm guessing a little shot of rum in here would be pretty tasty too.
Pineapple Mint Slushie
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped
approximately 1/4 cup sugar or agave syrup, to taste
1/2 cup fresh spearmint leaves
1-2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger, optional
5 cups ice cubes
In a blender, purée the pineapple.
Pour a little of the purée at a time into a seive placed over a bowl. Press it through the sieve with a spoon.
When all of the purée has been run through the sieve, discard the pulp, and return the juice to the blender. Add the sugar/agave and mint. Keep in mind that you may need more or less sweetener depending on the ripeness of your pineapple. Taste to decide. But don't skip it altogether. The little bit of extra sweetness really brings out the flavor of the pineapple. It's flat without it. Whiz together in the blender until the mint is incorporated.
If serving immediately, add the ice cubes and blend completely until smooth. Serve in chilled glasses.
If not serving immediately, refrigerate the pineapple-mint mixture until ready to add the ice and serve.
You're not likely to have any extra since folks will probably be asking for seconds. But in case you do, you can pour the excess into popsicle molds and freeze them for later.
Serves 4-6, depending on serving size.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2004.