Kiwi, pineapple and lime sharbat (drink mix). Make and store your own fresh fruit drink mix with lots of easy tips. Get ready for summer!
Here are a few tips for making perfect sharbat at home:
1. Use mineral water or filtered/boiled water to make squashes. Don’t use direct tap water. It may have bacteria and contaminants you do not know about and hence cannot treat them.
2. Pick ripe, but not overripe fruits. They have the maximum flavor.
Choose tart fruits, or pair your sweet fruits with tart ones and include lemon or limes.
The general rule of thumb or proportions for a squash are 1 kilo fruit (or 1 liter concentrated juice) to 1 kilo of sugar. I used about 900 gms of fruit (2 pounds) and 800 gms of sugar, because any more sugar would have made it too sweet. You have to keep the squash slightly on the tart side so that when you dilute it with water the tartness does not disappear.
3. The fruit flavors can get slightly subdued because of the cooking process, so it is a good idea to use a complementary essence/extract to bring up the flavors. Like pineapple extract in pineapple sharbat, orange in orange sharbat, rose extract in rose sharbat, etc. If you don’t have anything, citrus always works. Keep lemon or lime extracts handy. Or i’ll give you a nice tip here. Grate in the zest of the lemon or lime while boiling the fruits so all the flavor and essential oils will get into the boiling water. That’s what I did today and didn’t need to use extra flavoring.
4. Preservatives: If you want to make squash that lasts for up to an year, you will have to use chemical preservatives. Potassium metabisulfate and/or sodium benzoate used in a combination with citric acid work best. If you are going to use up your squash within 1-3 months and always store them in the refrigerator, you don’t need to use the preservatives. The sugar, lime juice and citric acid act as natural preservatives. But if you are using the preservatives, you will have to wait for upto 10 days before using the squash. And during these 10 days remember to shake the bottles at least once everyday. If you have added the preservatives, you don’t have to store the squash in the refrigerator. I don’t know if citric acid is available in American grocery stores, but you can find it in all Indian groceries. It is a white crystalline substance.
5. The following recipe is just one of the ways to make the sharbat. There are two alternatives. One is steaming the fruits and pureeing them and following the recipe given here. You may have to adjust the quantity of water and will end up with a very concentrated sharbat. Second one is juicing the fruits first, filtering and then cooking the juice with sugar. You can follow whichever one you like.
6. Sterilize the bottles you plan to use beforehand. You should have the bottles ready so that you are able to pour in the hot juice. This is just about the only trick I follow.
7. The squashes can be used in so many ways. These will make fabulous toppings for ice creams, cereals or can be used as dessert sauces. Or come up with a boozy drink for grown ups.
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