DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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12 September 2012

Natural raspberry cordial from scratch

I love making our drinks from scratch. In summer I always have a few concoctions ready and waiting in the fridge, along with cold water and ice cubes. Whoever visits is offered "tea, coffee, water or cordial?" In the midst of summer, most of our visitors choose the cordial.  We're lucky to have a prolific lemon tree and when I'm organised in winter, when the main lemon season is here, I strip the tree and freeze several bottles of pure lemon juice. In spring and summer, it is used to make lemon cordial.


This year I didn't have much time so we still have about 30 lemons on the tree and they'll be my source of lemon juice for the cordial in the next month. However, I've just made a raspberry cordial, mainly for Hanno because he's been feeling nauseated and poorly, but the cordial is so delicious, it's already part of our summer drink selection.


I bought a box of frozen raspberries from Aldi - they'd been marked down because of damaged packaging and I paid $3 for 500 grams. To make up the cordial, I defrosted the berries and made up a weak sugar syrup - two cups of sugar to five cups of water. I added the juice of one lemon, added some of the sugar syrup to the berries and blitzed them with a stick blender. Most people strain their berry cordials but I like to leave the fibre in, so when the berries were a thick mush, I added them to the syrup and mixed it well. The cordial is made by using a small amount of the raspberry concentrate and diluting it with cold water; serve with ice. It's also a delicious spritz made with sparkling mineral water.


Raspberry cordial kills stomach bugs.


I still have half a bottle of elder cordial left in the fridge from last season. It's fine to drink and now it's warmer again, no doubt that will be finished off soon. Our elder tree is flowering beatifully at the moment so there'll be another elder cordial session coming up soon.

My other summer standby is ginger beer. It's a naturally fermented drink and I've just started one which will be ready for drinking in about ten days. It's fizzy and spicy and delicious served cold. It also contains all those probiotics so it's going to do Hanno some good after being on antibiotics these past couple of weeks.

When I was out at one of my events, I met a lady who gave me a recipe for alcoholic lemon wine. I'll be making that soon too and will let you know how it goes.

Making your own drinks will help you cut out all those preservatives, colourings and additives that are in almost all soft drinks and soda pop. There are many cordials to be made using fruit commonly grown in backyards and ginger beer is made using either fresh ginger or dried ginger spice you buy at the supermarket. And they're all quick and easy. If you haven't done this before, start by collecting glass bottles that have a good seal - so you'll be recycling as well. The sugar contained in the drink acts as a preservative as well as a sweetener, so your drinks will safely sit in the fridge over summer, if they last that long.

What drinks do you make from scratch?

42 comments:

  1. Rhonda, have you ever tried making cordial with honey before? Do you think it would work?

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    1. Hi Tanya. I haven't used honey in cordials but there is no reason why you couldn't. Choose a mild honey otherwise the honey taste might mask the fruit taste. Honey is much sweeter than sugar so use half the amount. Oh, and I would dissolve the honey in some of the water you use before mixing it in. Good luck, love.

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  2. I love homemade raspberry cordial but I always strain the bits out of it too...i'll try it without straining next time. Thanks for this tip

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  3. Poor Hanno. He might want to try ginger tablets (sold under the name Blackmores Travelcalm) as they are extremely effective for nausea.

    have a wonderful day, Madeleine

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  4. Hope Hanno feels well again soon. I usually make ginger beer from scratch but i have been making Limoncello from scratch as well. Now i'm keen to try the raspberry cordial.

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  5. So sorry that Hanno is still feeling out of sorts. I am sure that your cordial will help though - I didn't know that about raspberries. I don't make cordial as I am diabetic and don't eat sugar. I have lately really enjoyed different kinds of tea though and dried some of my rosella "petals" which I mix with grated ginger. I am sure that is full of all sorts of goodness. It sure tastes wonderful.

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    1. We love rosella cordial and tea here. I did grow rosella for a number of years but failed to save the seeds one year and haven't grown it since. I'll have to get on to it again.

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  6. Dear Rhonda ... I notice that it was 2:56am when you posted your blog. Does that mean you you aren't sleeping well? Oh, Rhonda, if so, I wish you well and that you put some strategy in place to allow you good and beneficial rest. We know you are taking excellent care of Hanno, but you must look after yourself, too. Be kind to yourself, Rhonda. Take it somewhat easy and set a slower pace after the recent traumatic experience both Hanno and you have been through. Maybe you should have a siesta today. Go on , do it ;-) Go on do it today ... it wouldn't be an indulgence. Just allow yourself some 'downtime' to keep your battery charged. Gratitude and very best wishes always from someone who has never commented before but is inspired and encouraged by your every 'post'. - Charmaine

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  7. I just finished up a nice batch of strawberry cordial last week. The other morning I made pancakes for my kids, but we were out of maple syrup. I poured some of the raspberry syrup on top instead, and they loved it as a topping. I've also used it to top some sponge cakes before. It's a little sweet but a little goes a long way.

    Thanks for the reminder about ginger beer - I haven't made any in a while and I think I'll have to get some ginger root next time we're at the shop. Is there any particular way you store ginger? I've heard you can freeze them but I don't know if that's just a rumor.

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    1. Csilla, ginger freezes very well. I wrap it in parchment paper and then in a freezer bag. Make sure it's unpeeled.

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  8. Incidentally, I also love adding some cordial syrup to iced tea. (Regular hot brewed tea that I've cooled down.) Served over ice it is delicious and a dead ringer for those expensive, unhealthy jarred beverages they sell at the shops or even at fast food chains. And it couldn't be simpler to do. My family especially enjoys mint tea and raspberry, or earl gray and peach together. Might be blasphemous for the strict tea drinkers out there, but we're less picky about our tea in America. (Outside of the South, that is, lol.)

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  9. My oldest daughter loves to make her own lemonade and we are often treated to it during the summer months. I do love the sound of the raspberry cordial I know it would be a huge hit here thank you for the recipe.

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  10. Hi Rhonda - what a pity that Aldi frozen fruits come from China. I stopped buying them a long time ago because of this.

    The cordial does look lovely though.

    regards, Patrice

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    Replies
    1. Patrice, it says "imported" fruit on the box. When I asked they told me they were from New Zealand. Where are you living and where did you hear they were from China?

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    2. It is common practice for China to get fresh food produce into Australia by routing it through New Zealand.

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    3. Patrice and Tanya, how do you know that. I'm not saying you're wrong but I'd like to know your source. Can you provide me with some links so I can read it myself?

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    4. Hi Rhonda, originally I saw a news story on ABC (Landline?)about 2 years ago but I can't seem to find the story now. Here is the link to a similar story from SMH
      http://www.smh.com.au/business/supermarket-food-labels-mislead-shoppers-20111225-1p9ld.html
      There is also a much touted story by Today Tonight but I am reluctant to site them as factual.
      NZ has a large seafood export market incl health preparations and fish oils which are primarily exported to the Chinese market. They are very keen to foster good trade relations (naturally as are we all).
      There have been some food processors who have recently closed and moved operation to NZ too like Heinz sauce. Here in Tasmania we are only too well aware what has happened to the frozen veg market especially in peas, carrots, broccoli and potatoes. Farmers here last year were getting the same price for peas/tonne that they were 15years ago. Where once they grew food now they grow pyrethrum crops and pharmaceutical opium poppies.

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  11. How do you keep the cordial from going bad? Do you freeze it?
    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. The sugar preserves the cordial for months.

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  12. Thanks for that simple recipe Rhonda. I'm going to give it a go as my kids found out that their much loved apple juice is made from apple juice concentrate from overseas. They're not happy (sweet little ecowarriers that they are) and have declared we are not to buy it anymore! So some homemade - not fizzy - drinks are called for!
    BTW, I had a ginger beer plant going from your recipe all last summer - nearly time to get it going again now as it was much loved. We have some alcoholic ginger beer in the fermenter at the moment for grown ups :) And I'd love that lemon wine recipe once you've tried it.
    Take care and I hope the raspberry cordial helps Hanno.

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    1. What great kids, Tracey! I hope they enjoy the cordial. I'll make sure to pass on the wine recipe when I test it out. :- )

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    2. Mountain fresh I think it's called is 100% Aussie!!! Took me about 15 minutes to find an Aussie juice for my daughter as when it says from local and imported products the local part of it is the water they reconstitute it with!!!!

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  13. We've made the lemon cordial here many times, as well as a lemon/lime version. It's so delicious!

    I'll have to try raspberry cordial .. although I'll have a hard time saving some from the children after they've done their foraging. :)

    Our thoughts are with you both, hoping Hanno gets well again soon and you get some R&R in the process.

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  14. Every year I pick the cherries on our trees and use them to make a cherry pie and a batch of cherry liqueur. This sees us through to the following year with some to give away as gifts.

    Sara.

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  15. I won't buy anything that comes from New Zealand any more, as most of their frozen food comes from China and they repackage it saying from NZ....

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  16. Awesome recipes - thanks. Today I am making lemon cordial and lemon butter and soaking the peels to make spray and wipe lemon cleaner. The last time I made lemon cordial it actually went moldy after a week or so in the fridge - I probably did not clean the bottles enough - but your idea of freeezing the juice is the answer. I can just make a quick bottle each week out of the frozen juice. Cheers, Wendy

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  17. I like to make rhubarb cordial in the summer and rose hip syrup in the autumn. Lemon in the winter and Elderflower in the spring. Next year the raspberry patch should be yielding enough of a glut for me to try the cordial.

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    1. Hi Tanya, Can you please post your rhubarb cordial recipe here? Would love to give that a go...

      Thanks
      Regan

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    2. Hi Regan,

      the link for the recipe is here
      http://suburbanjubilee.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/rhubarb-cordial.html
      It is a real summertime favourite here.

      Enjoy

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  18. Lemon cordial down here Rhonda, lemons from the Father in Law's tree , I use a little less sugar than the recipe suggests....I have three bottles in the fridge for now, and I froze another full bottle of just juice to be made up when this lot goes.........dont see the point of spending all that money on cordial for the kids...its pretty expensive....when we can make it for hardly anything and its so much better for you............would love to give the raspberry cordial a go too..........

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  19. What a timely post, Rhonda! It was only yesterday I was thinking of making raspberry cordial, so our kids could have a better alternative for 'fizz' on our homemade pizza nights (the only time they are allowed to have it).

    I hadn't had a chance to put my hands on a recipe when this popped up in my Google Reader. I've made a batch and can see myself making more soon! I might try a blueberry one next, as I bought a lot of berries last time they were half price (it's a shame the McCain ones come from Chile).

    I don't always have a chance to reply, but I just wanted to say I still really love your blog. Please keep up the great work. You are such an inspiration for me (a SAHM of three. I've been home FT nearly 10 years now).

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  20. Rhonda do you think it would work with strawberries? There are so many, and so cheap at the moment in SEQ? cheers Wendy

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  21. My mother used to make "cherry cordial" when a friend of hers gave her the sour cherries from his tree. In the US "cordial" invariably means alcoholic, and hers was cherries, sugar, and grain alcohol, and the cherries from the bottom of the jar made quite a ripping side dish for beef. I see now that you don't mean the same thing...

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  22. This info about the healthy properties of raspberry and blackcurrant is so interesting. And I also looked up your ginger drink recipe - I think I may try it! Thank you.

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  23. For the stomach issue--we use a bit of raw unfiltered honey for stomach ailments and it works wonders! Hubby came home from work yesterday and said he had a stomach upset and I dosed him with about 1/2 teaspoon and he was fine in a few minutes.

    In the USA we call lemon cordial lemonade and it is a favorite at our house. We are heading into winter soon so we are thinking hot drinks.

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  24. Oh no! I just returned from a long visit to my parents house to hear about Hanno's accident! I'm sending love and prayers for a speedy recovery and a more settled stomach. Take care and get lots of rest! - Yvette

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  25. Lemon, orange or lime cordial, depending on what's around and needing to be used up! I also love to make iced rosehip and mint tea when it's hot.

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  26. That was the best recipe for raspberry cordial I have tried. So quick and easy. I had raspberries frozen from last summer and this cordial tastes like summer coming on again - I am hoping soon.

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  27. Hi Rhonda

    Just made my first batch, and it is delish, very refreshing. So easy and quick to make, no stopping me now, will be making other cordials in the near future.

    Thanks

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  28. I love your lemon cordial recipe so definately going to try the raspberry. I am fructose free so I substitute with dextrose (glucose) and it works a treat.

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  29. Hi Rhonda, just checking whether I need to boil the sugar syrup for the raspberry cordial or just mix the sugar and water. I've just made it without boiling it and it turned out great. The kids love it and I might try it with the chooks too, as you advised. Thanks heaps, Belinda

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    1. You did fine love. You just need to heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.

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