Monday, August 12, 2013

Blackberry Squash

Summer Blackberries are one of life's greatest pleasures. Juicy, sweet and messy, they can dye my fingers and mouth purple with bliss because I just can't stop once I start! Squash is a fruit drink popular in the UK. It's pretty much a fruit flavored syrup mixed with sparkling water and tastes like a fruity soda made with real fruit juice. Back in the olden days, they made squash with whatever fruit was on hand, sugar to preserve it, and then medicinal herbs and spices.

Any fruit at all will work with this simple recipe. If you like, blend it and strain it to remove seeds and create a syrupy texture. I personally like to eat a little bit of my squash. I added lemon verbena and fresh ginger to capture some of that olde time medicine, but any herbs or combinations will work great. Next time I am thinking of adding some mint leaves or sage to my squash! One ingredient on here that might seem strange and scientific is citric acid. It's actually a fairly common and inexpensive ingredient commonly used in packaged food and drink. It is just pure acid extracted from citrus fruit. It is easy to find at Indian markets, sometimes called lemon salt, or at health food stores. A tiny bit goes a long way as it pure sour! Capture summer in a glass: muddle some fruit, pour over some bubbles and savor the moment.

Blackberry Squash
Makes 2 glasses
Any fruit or combination of fruit works for this basic recipe. If you prefer, puree it in a blender and then strain out the seeds for a smoother, more classic squash.


About 1/2 cup ripe, juicy blackberries
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
about 1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 leaves lemon verbena, plus two more for garnish
Sparkling mineral water, as needed

Divide ingredients evenly between 2 glasses: blackberries, sugar, citric acid, ginger and 1 verbena leaf per glass. Reserve a few blackberries for garnish. Using a wooden pestle or long spoon, crush fruit and bruise verbena leaf until sugar is dissolved. Stir in sparkling water until well combined and add ice if desired. Garnish each glass with one verbena leaf and a blackberry. Serve immediately.

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