Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Homemade Soda

Sometimes we like to drink soda, but we don't like the associated price tag, or all the crap that's stuffed in it, removing it from the "food" category. So I have just been making my own. I make an assortment of syrups from the "trash" of my cooking, and then mix it with club soda (which we pay $0.79 for a 3-litre bottle; after I save up, I will be buying this for us instead). You can make your soda as strongly or weakly flavoured as you like, and the varieties achieved are outstanding.

You start by making a simple syrup base (1:1 sugar:water, brought to a boil and allowed to boil for another minute). Then you can do it two ways, once the simple syrup is made. One is to simmer the additive in the syrup for a while, such as with orange peels or lemon peels (to make candied peel at the same time, thereby further reducing waste). The other is just to remove the syrup from heat, stir in the additive and let it infuse for a while (I go 30 minutes to 4 hours). Then I strain it into a jar and keep it in the fridge. In most cases, it only costs you the sugar, really, since you're generally just using the bits of fruits and herbs you'd normally throw away anyway.

Some examples:

Apple syrup: I use just the cores and peels and infuse for an hour.

Ginger syrup: Peel the ginger with a spoon (reduces lost flesh), then slice thinly. Simmer the ginger in the syrup for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and let infuse for 4 hours. I mainly use this syrup for when we're sick. Don't throw the ginger away! Roll it in sugar and put it on a baking sheet. Bake on the very lowest heat your oven can do until it's completely dried (like dehydrating anything in your oven, really). Voila, crystallised ginger, AND syrup!

Lemon-Lime (similar to 7-up, though not exactly the same) syrup: equal parts lime and lemon peel, simmer in syrup for 15 minutes then allow to infuse for an hour. If you removed the pith first, roll the peel in sugar and dry for candied peel!

Orange soda: Same as the lemon-lime, but just orange. Again, a great opportunity for candied peel!

Kumquat soda: Cut the kumquats in half, simmer as above w/ the other citrus, but you can do this for even longer if you'd like. Then let it infuse as above. This results in glacee kumquats which I've discovered a disturbing fondness for. This is P's favourite of the sodas.

Honeydew: After I cut the melon, I always find there's a decent amount of flesh remaining on the peel. So I cut the peel into pieces and make the syrup. Except I do actually throw the peel away (I suppose you could eat it?).

Mint: Just do infusion; this is one of my favourites. It's such a refreshing treat!

Strawberry: I just use the tops when I cut them off, and I don't actually bother to take the leaves off. Just infuse on this one.

Pineapple: Use the core; simmer then infuse.

Kiwi: Using the peels that have bits of flesh remaining on them.

Etc. I also keep basic simple syrup around for mixing iced teas and the like. Enjoy! These syrups will all keep for a really long time in the fridge, should they last long enough to worry about it.

2 comments:

  1. wow... this is so creative of you... thanks for sharing... :)

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  2. Great ideas! Thanks for posting this.

    ReplyDelete