Agua de Cuaresma

Agua (fresca) de Cuaresma -

Cuaresma (Lent) is upon us!  That means Meat-Free Fridays will be making a comeback to my Cocina during the next 40+ days.  Some of the recipes I'll be sharing this year for Lent are...Tortitas de Camaron and Capirotada (Traditional Mexican Bread Pudding).   But for this first Friday of Cuaresma, I'm going to share a traditional Agua Fresca recipe that is near and dear not only to my Hubby's heart, but also to the hearts of generations past of this fair pueblito we call home.

I first heard of Agua de Cuaresma a few years ago at a special town meeting, held in the heart of our town - El Jardin (the plaza/townsquare) - that discussed the customs and traditions of generations past.  I really enjoyed that town meeting, because it gave me a sense of what Yahualica was like all those years before I moved here, and how holidays (and religious observances) like Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), Christmas and Cuaresma were celebrated.  The memories shared painted such beautiful and vivid images of years past, that it saddened me to think that some of those customs and traditions were being lost and forgotten.

That's one of the main reasons I celebrate Lent with my family.  I want my kiddies to experience the same customs and traditions that were celebrated and cherished by Hubby and the generations before him.

Agua de Cuaresma was one of the lost traditions most mentioned during that town meeting.  I had never heard of Agua de Cuaresma until then, but I was curious to find out more, so I asked my suegra (mother-in-law) all about it when we got home.  She explained that it was a very refreshing Agua Fresca made with oranges, bananas, and lettuce leaves.  We planned to make it someday in the not-so-distant future for Lent, but sadly we never got around to making it.

My Hubby doesn't remember that town meeting, but he does remember drinking Agua de Cuaresma every year during Lent when he was growing up.  So today, I decided to surprise him by making it to enjoy with lunch.  All I had to go on recipe-wise was how my suegra explained it to me oh-so-many years ago.  I'm pretty sure I got it right, because Hubby paid me one of the nicest compliments by saying that my Agua de Cuaresma tasted just like the one his mom used to make.

Orange Banana Agua Fresca with Lettuce -

Agua de Cuaresma

  • 6 oranges, peeled and quartered
  • 8 cups of water 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 lettuce leaves, torn into large pieces
  • 2 to 3 oranges, sliced
  • 2 large bananas, sliced
  • Ice (optional) 

In a blender cup, puree the peeled oranges with 3 to 4 cups of water.  Strain into a 4-quart pitcher.  Pour in the remaining 4 to 5 cups of water; sweeten with sugar.  Add the torn lettuce leaves, the sliced oranges and bananas; stir gently.  Fill pitcher with 2 to 3 cups of ice.  Enjoy!!! 

Traditional Agua Fresca for Cuaresma (Lent) -

*In other parts of Mexico, Agua de Cuaresma is also made with beet juice, and is sometimes called Agua Santa (Holy Water).

For more delicious Cuaresma recipes, check out these recipes that are part of the Lenten Recipe Blog Hop hosted by Mama Latina Tips.


  1. looks yummy. Why lettuce?

  2. Hi Carrie! I have no idea why lettuce is used! I've asked around, but no one has been able to give me an answer. I think it's because lettuce is naturally cool and refreshing. And since the last weeks of Lent can be real scorchers, lettuce was used to help keep the beverage cool, back in the days before ice was so readily available. (But that's just what I think!)

  3. Wow, I've never heard of it and I'm totally intrigued by the lettuce.

  4. Victoria of Flavors of the SunFebruary 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    What fun! This is something completely new to me, and I love to be exposed to recipes or traditions I don't know about. I want to check around San Miguel to see if it was ever a tradition here. Thanks, Leslie.

  5. Betty Ann @Mango_QueenFebruary 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Perfect for 'cuaresma' or any time of the year. I love the flavors in this beverage. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I have never tried this type of agua fresca, Leslie - I need to, it sounds so incredibly refreshing!

  7. My Mom made it for us every cuaresma. I havent had it a while now though but I think I will try making it myself now... Really like all your recipes!