Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cherry Ginger Brew

I canned a lot of cherries when they were in season this past year, but didn't really think about how I might use them.  I didn't consider the fact that aside from eating them fresh or dried, I don't typically use cherries.  I rarely make fruit pies because I don't really dig fruit pies that much and I havn't mastered the gluten free pie crust yet.  So i'm sitting on about 7 pints of cherries and before I know it cherry season will be upon us once again.

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!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I am so impressed!!! Your cherry ginger brew looks so lovely in the bottles! You know, you could send a bottle my way, perhaps?!

Lily Girl said...

I have a quick question. Once you've achieved the desired carbonation point how do you stop the process? Is refridgeration sufficient, or do you actually have to drink the whole batch right away? I want to make some, and I want to use glass instead of plastic bottles, but obviously exploding glass would be both dangerous and a giant mess!

Liz said...

We just put them in the fridge and it settles the carbonation a touch and stops the fermentation enough so they don't explode. Make sure you use strong glass bottles that are intended for carbonated drinks and you should be fine. Good luck!