During the last few hot summer weeks, we need to remember that it’s incredibly important to keep hydrated. No one feels like turning on the hot oven and our entire way of preparing food shifts when temperatures rise. Rarely do we spend lengthy amounts of time in the kitchen or eat heavy foods. Our goal is to create light, cool dishes using fresh fruits and vegetables jam-packed with nutrients and fiber that are found easily in markets.When a breeze picks up, drinking homemade shakes and juices on your balcony or backyard is the best way to enjoy these tasty concoctions and light meals with friends and family members on summer evenings.A plethora of flavored carbonated waters are available in shops, but why pay exorbitant amounts of money and imbibe lots of chemicals when you can prepare a variety of delicious healthy homemade drinks at home? Below, I will provide you with stepby- step instructions for ways to prepare a number of fruit and cold tea drinks that will keep you hydrated and happy for the rest of this summer season.You’ll be surprised to discover that you probably already have most of the required ingredients sitting in your pantry. All you need to do is add a few herbs and spices and you’re on your way to concocting the most tantalizing cool drinks you’ve ever tasted.Everyone in the house will want to taste all the different drinks.I don’t add any sugar or artificial sweeteners to my drinks, and I recommend you do the same. I bet you’ll find that the fresh fruits will add enough sweetness all by themselves.In the recipes, you’ll see that I have listed how much sweetener could be added. I highly recommend not adding any more than these amounts, since that would negatively affect the taste of the drinks. Translated by Hannah Hochner.FOOD Pascale’s kitchenwww.pascalpr.co.il Ice-cold drinks for a hot summer night Lemon and mint drink A pitcher of lemon and mint is a staple in my fridge. This is a much healthier and tasty drink to keep on hand instead of continuously buying sweetened drinks at the grocery store. In my recipe, you squeeze lemon juice into the water, but you can also put an entire lemon – peel and all – in the blender and then add it to the drink.Makes 6 cups 6 to 8 Tbsp. sugar (according to taste.)You can cut this amount down considerably or substitute artificial sweeteners or honey instead) 4 large lemons 6 cups water Serving suggestion: 1 lemon, sliced thinly 1 orange, sliced thinly A handful of mint leaves A handful of lemon verbena or ¼ cup basil leaves Add the sugar to a wide pot. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot and mix well. Remove all the seeds and add the water. Mix until the sugar dissolves completely.Keep tasting until drink is exactly to your taste.Just before serving, add the lemon and orange slices, mint, lemon verbena or basil. Mix well, add some ice cubes and serve. TIPascale You can blend an entire lemon and add it to your drink. This will make your drink thicker and add a delicate touch of bitter lemon flavor.Wildberry drink Most stores these days carry tea bags from which you can make wildberry flavored herbal teas. You can use these as the base for this drink. If you’d like a stronger flavor, you can buy frozen berries, blend them and add them to your drink.Makes 6 to 8 cups 5 wildberry herbal tea bags 8 cups cold water ½ cup frozen wildberries ½ cup green and red grapes, halved 2 sprigs of lemon verbena 2 sprigs of thyme Put the tea bags in a pot and pour a cup of boiling water on top of them. Stir and let tea steep at least five minutes. Pour liquid into a large pitcher. Add the cold water.If you’d like to add sweetener, this is the time to do so. You can add sugar, honey or dietetic sweeteners. Mix well. Add the blended frozen fruit, grape halves, lemon verbena and thyme. Mix and wait five minutes before serving. You can also add ice cubes before serving.Mango, cinnamon and ginger drink This refreshing drink will surprise you and wake up your taste buds. You can serve it with pieces of mango, or blend the mango and mix it in.Makes 6 to 8 cups 2 regular tea bags or mango-ginger herbal tea bags 8 cups cold water 1 orange, sliced 1 ripe mango, cut into cubes 2 star anise 1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks 2 pieces of sugared ginger or 5 thin pieces of fresh ginger 4 tsp. sugar or 3 tsp. honey or artificial sweetener Sprig of lemon verbena or rosemary (optional) Place tea bags in a pot and pour a cup of boiling water on top. Stir and let steep for five minutes.Pour the liquid into a large pitcher and then add the cold water. If you’d like to add sugar, this is the time. Mix well and add the orange slices, mango cubes, anise stars, cinnamon sticks and sugared or fresh ginger pieces. If you’d like, you can add a sprig of lemon verbena or rosemary.Add a cup of ice cubes or crushed ice, wait five minutes and serve.Fresh fruit shake Makes 6 to 8 cups 2 tea bags or 5 peach herbal tea bags 8 cups cold water 1 ripe red plum cut into sections or sliced 1 peach cut into sections or sliced 1 cup green grapes ½ green or red apple, sliced ½ pear, sliced 2 tsp. sugar, honey, silan, or artificial sweetener (optional) ½ lemon, sliced thinly 1 cup lemon verbena or mint leaves 2 strips of lemon grass Put tea bags in a pot and add a cup of boiling water.Mix and let tea steep for at least five minutes.Pour the tea into a large pitcher and pour the cold water on top. If you’d like to add a little sugar, now is the time. Stir well and then add all the pieces of cut-up fruit. Mix and then add the lemon slices, lemon verbena, mint leaves, lemon grass.Stir well and store in the fridge until serving. Five minutes before serving, add ice cubes.TIPascale You can add cinnamon sticks and vanilla seeds to drink just before serving.