Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Refreshing Carbonation: Ginger-Lemon Effervescence

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Dear Lentils,

Did you choose to give something up for Lent?  Perhaps you, like many others, chose sugar as your sacrifice of choice.

Or perhaps you just don't want refined, processed sugars in your diet - we're all the better for that!

I chose to give up sugar for Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter, although it wasn't really with a spiritual intent in mind (while we're being honest here!).  In truth, it seemed like a great excuse to talk myself into giving up the granules for forty days.

It's not so hard for me - virtually every food we buy is between one and three ingredients anyway, so it's easy to check foods as they come in the door; and we hardly incorporate sugar in our regular diet at this point, so I just wanted to see how I felt if I really ensured sugar truly didn't go past my lips for all of forty days - even though it meant freezing the beautiful, fat, gorgeous heart-shaped peanut butter cookies my dear friend made me for Valentine's Day!!!

The following recipe is a refreshing - and detoxifying - drink that you might enjoy in place of sodas or sweetened drinks.  I'm sure we all know the evils of soda here, but I myself love carbonation so I'm always eager to find new (and cheap) ways to enjoy seltzer!  We came up with this on a perfectly sunny morning when we were hungry for something cool and fizzy, but not the dead sugars that usually accompany such drinks.

This drink is even more fun, because it has health benefits!  Raw ginger is said to contain anti-inflammatory phenols, as well as an anti-inflammatory enzyme called zingibain.  Raw ginger also aids in fighting rhinoviruses that lead to cold and flu, and can help relieve the cold or flu if you've already contracted it; it can help with coughs, constipation, indigestion, menstrual cramps, laryngitis and sore throats.  Or do you suffer from motion sickness?  Research has found that ginger works just as well as motion sickness drugs.

The carbonation may help soothe pregnancy hiccups (it did for me!) and the ginger can help calm a queasy stomach during morning sickness.

My husband enjoys carbonated drinks as much as I do, and he was enjoying this sparkly beverage when I mentioned there was no sugar in it.  "Really?!" he said.

I got the same response from my friend - who loves sweets, and generally asks me to add a little sugar to the drinks I make.  "No sugar!?" she said.  She also gave up sugar for Lent, and is enjoying herself immensely!

A home carbonator makes this easy!

You can strain it all at once, or make individual servings. 
Ginger-Lemon Effervescence
Using lemon juice not from concentrate will make a visible difference in your drink: it's a little thicker, darker and more potent.  However, you can use any other lemon juice, or fresh-squeeze it yourself.  To serve, either carbonate the water yourself with a home carbonator, or use mineral water, club soda or seltzer.  Tonic water, which is not the same as club soda, has quinine dissolved in it which may not be what you want.  

Two knobs ginger root, peeled
12 ounces organic lemon juice, preferably not from concentrate
Optional: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon lime juice
Optional: Generous pinch of lemon zest for extra punch
Carbonated water

Shred the ginger on a lemon zester or another fine grater.  Scrape and pour all ingredients into a pint jar, cap it, and shake well.  (Maybe pulsing it in the Vitamix on high would extra-blend the flavors?)

Let sit overnight or for 24 hours, or use immediately if you just can't wait.

To use:  Pour liquid through a fine-mesh sieve.  I reserve the shredded ginger and use it again - this is up to you.  Bottle or re-jar the strained liquid.  Add approximately a tablespoon of the ginger-lemon concentrate to 20 ounces of water, or to taste.

Continuous serve:  Strain individual servings one at a time as desired, and keep topping off the jar with lemon juice as you go.  The ginger will go quite a distance, although the strength of flavor will be up to you.

Note: It's hard on your teeth to sip acidic, lemony drinks all day, so make sure you clean your teeth after enjoying this drink!

(This is the Sodastream we use) (affiliate link)

Take the bubbly to the park, to work, on the road or just have a few bottles available for quick drinking - I use old glass bottles to mix up a few ready-to-go drinks, and store them in the fridge! 

New wine in old skins? 

Mrs H

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