A nice-looking pitcher made of heavy acrylic. The infusion rod actually works.
Pouring a full pitcher and refilling are both a little awkward. It can be tricky to clean the skinny infusion rod with a sponge.
If you drink flavored water all the time, the Fruit Infusion pitcher isn’t a bad thing to have around. Is it any better than a pitcher with a strainer built into the lid? Not really—but it looks nice on the table.
Infusing beverages with aromatics is nothing new—a friend living with a family in Kerala once described how cardamom and fennel seeds infused overnight in the daily drinking water—and cucumber- or lemon-flavored water is now common in American homes. That’s why Prodyne’s Fruit Infusion pitcher seems pretty handy. It has at its core a so-called infusion rod to contain fruit slices, seeds, leaves, and spices—no more free-floating fruit, and nothing to scoop out of your glass (or worse, to pick out of your mouth).
The thick acrylic pitcher holds 93 fluid ounces (2.9 quarts, or just under 12 cups). It’s free of BPA and has a handsome modern shape that looks good on the table. Not counting the lid, the pitcher is 9 1/2 inches tall. The central infusion rod is made of the same clear, heavy-duty plastic, pierced with four rows of slits to let the liquid flow in while keeping the aromatics neatly contained in the core. Each slit measures 5/8 inch long and 1/16 inch high—small enough to hold back most leaves, citrus seeds, and spices. The infusion rod screws easily into the lid, which has a partial flange that fits neatly onto the pitcher. And though the pitcher holds an impressive amount of liquid, it doesn’t take up too much space in the fridge. It’s recommended that you don’t throw the Fruit Infusion parts in the dishwasher.
Performance is pretty straightforward here: lemons or cukes in the infusion rod, water or iced tea to cover, done. But we did focus on one feature we had a question about: Would small bits of spices escape through the slits in the infusion rod? We made mulled cider to see. We also decided to try an idea we read on Fruit Infusion’s packaging: that you can fill the core with aromatics and go on emptying and refilling the pitcher for up to 10 days without refreshing the core. We set up a batch of lime and mint infusion to see.
Mulled cider: We made a half batch of the recipe on CHOW, packing spices into the infusion rod and heating the apple cider in a pot on the stove. We poured the hot cider into the pitcher and let it steep for five minutes. The result: success! Even small peppercorns and cloves stayed in the infusion core, and the cider had steeped sufficiently to have a lovely spice flavor.
Lime and mint infusion: Into the rod we poked a couple of handfuls of fresh mint leaves and three quartered limes. Then we filled the pitcher with water, popped it into the fridge, and waited. We took a taste every day, adding more water to keep the level consistent. By day seven, the mint was starting to turn brown. The limes still looked OK, but the water tasted muddy. And by day ten—well, let’s just say the stuff in the infusion rod made us think of our garden composter, and the water smelled like a sour wine cork. Our takeaway: Five days is probably the max for infusions involving herbs and other produce.
General stuff: Our ten-day experiment aside, the Fruit Infusion seemed awkward only in the emptying and filling. Since the liquid capacity is so large and the spout relatively small, pouring when full was a little unwieldy (it glugged a lot). And refilling without changing the aromatics was slightly tricky, too, since we had to pour around the infusion rod.
Photos by Chris Rochelle