So I decided to blow a quart of them on making cherry-ginger soda. Check out this gorgeous color! It's one of my best soda creations!
Cherry Ginger Brew
2.5-3 oz. fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 quart of canned cherries in light syrup or juice
1 quart water
3 tsp. natural cherry extract (Frontier Co-op makes a good one)
2 quarts water, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon granulated champagne yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
In a big saucepan, combine ginger, brown sugar, cherries with juice, 1 quart of water, and the cherry extract and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and cool until only slightly warm.
Strain cooled cherry mixture into a larger container. We like to use a big food-grade bucket with a spigot at the bottom. Add 2 quarts of room temperature water. Using a tasting spoon, test the temperature of the cherry brew. It should be slightly warm only. Combine 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with the yeast and stir until dissolved. Add the yeast water to the cherry brew and stir or shake to thoroughly combine.
Dispense brew into sterilized glass bail-top bottles, leaving a few inches of headspace for carbonation. Pack away into a dark place for 36-48 hours. Be sure to carefully open one outdoors, pointing away from your face, after 36 hours. The carbonation depends on your yeast, sugar and temperature, so you should always check them sooner rather than later.
Hate to waste the leftover cherries and ginger? Me too!
Squeeze ALL liquid out and spread the cherries and ginger out on a baking sheet and bake at 200 for 60-90 minutes until dried. Add them to your homemade granola!