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Switchel: a natural version of a sports drink  RSS feed

 
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Elaine Sheff of Green Path Herb School has a medicinal switchel she wrote about here:



http://greenpathherbschool.com/herbal-switchels/

I'm thinking about trying a modified/quickie version of this for a workshop dinner tonight!

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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At the Rocket Oven Pizza Party, folks asked for the Switchel recipe. While I recommend reading through the links and the comments in the first page (this is page two of the thread) for more tips and info, here is the simple way I made the Switchel that was served.

First, I use these handy, glass two-quart pitchers (whose square shapes are very friendly in a crowded refrigerator) Amazon link to Bistro Glass Pitcher.

So, in the 2-quart pitcher, add:
  • one cup organic maple syrup (we get ours at Costco)
  • one cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • one healthy splash organic ginger juice - any were from a teaspoon or a tablespoon or so, or to taste (Amazon link)
  • fill rest of pitcher with water

  • That's it!

    I some times prefer honey instead of maple syrup, but then the Switchel would not be vegan friendly, and some times the honey is a bit more work to dissolve in the water, especially if the water is nice and cold. For a crowd, maple syrup is quicker!
     
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    i find it so awesome that so many regions have their own version of this same drink. I drank this in Japan when I was young (ACV, honey, lemonade) and mixed up a recipe of it recently and had one of those blast-from-the-past moments.

    Our local version would use sugarcane juice, which is full of minerals (it`s hard to store, so the local whole molasses may be a good substitute. It`s only boiled, no other refining). I made some strawberry vinegar last year and this seems like the perfect way to use it.

    the honey thing is interesting- I brew beer and generally use dextrose or table sugar as the primer (to get the beer to carbonate in secondary fermentation). Honey is hard for me to get so I generally don`t use it and prefer molasses, but a few years ago I had a special beer I was making and I used an unusual local honey as the primer (bracatinga honey, the bees harvest secretions from honeydew kind of insects, it is rare and very special, with an interesting flavor https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/bracatinga-honeydew-honey/ ). The beer carbonated just fine but to a lesser extent, but at a low concentration (don`t remember the numbers but it would have been no more than 3% by volume, i assume). I rememeber thinking afterward that honey might not have been the smartest idea for a fermentation!
     
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    Recently watched a Townsends video on making 18th century Switchel. He gives a recipe and alternatives along with some history. The Romans made it with honey, and apparently during the 1700's rum was a possible ingredient.

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Lucretia, I loved hearing the history and all the different names for Switchel - thank you for posting that video!

    I think the version I make has a higher proportion of vinegar to the sweetener and the water. Once, I tried to sub blackstrap molasses for the full amount of maple syrup or honey in my version and it was horrible! I use molasses so rarely, I didn't even think of the lighter versions, as he talks about in the video. Even with a lighter molasses, I think the lower ratio of molasses to water would still be required.

    Interesting that powdered ginger was so common back then. I haven't tried Switchel with powdered ginger - only fresh minced or the bottled ginger juice.

     
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