Prepare strawberries for serving by rinsing with caps still attached under a gentle spray of cool water; pat dry with a paper towel. Wash, hull, and slice the berries just before you plan to use them.
In a large bowl, place the strawberries, sugar, and one (1) cup of water. Mash the strawberries slightly and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to macerate for approximately 4 hours.
After macerating the strawberries, remove strawberry mixture from the refrigerator and place in a blender. Process the strawberry mixture until liquefied and smooth.
Pour the pureed strawberry liquid through a wire mesh strainer set over a large bowl; strain the mixture, discarding the pulp and seeds. Add the remaining 7 cups of water and mix well.
NOTE: Traditionally an authentic aqua frescas are made without blenders and done by simply mashing the fruit with a fork or masher before adding the water and sweetener.
Chill at least 30 minutes (several hours are better) before serving. Serve with or without ice cubes.
As a decorative touch, add slices or chunks of strawberries just before serving.
Makes 8 cups.
* Naturally the best strawberries are the ones you pick yourself from your local strawberry fields or purchase from your local produce stands and/or Farmers' markets. In the stores, always choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season (they are sweeter and juicier than those that are bred for shipment). When purchasing berries from the grocery store, shop with your nose. Always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright, and fresh looking with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps (stems). The caps should be bright green, fresh looking, and fully attached.
** The amount of sweetener needed will vary depending on the sweetness of the fruit you are using. Some strawberries may not require any sugar. Sugar substitutes may be used to reduce calories further.
Strawberry Agua Fresca Recipe: https://whatscookingamerica.net/beverage/strawberryaguafresca.htm