Saturday, 10 August 2013

How to Make Frugal Fruit Fizz

Simple, Delicious and Ever so Slightly Alcoholic

It's the time of year when we find fruit and berries aplenty. The orchard fruits may not quite be ready for harvesting but many of us have accumulated a glut of rhubarb, raspberries, currants and even strawberries so we need to preserve what we can for the winter months.

My poor gooseberry bushes succumbed to the nasty little Sawfly caterpillars, so the berries I did have were added to blackcurrants to make jam. All of the above can be used to make jam and jelly but it's nice to bottle up something with a bit of fizz for the festive season.
 


WHAT WE NEED
  • A clean bucket
  • 1kg berries or fruit
  • 1kg sugar
  • Lemon (or lemon juice)
  • Small cup of vinegar
  • 5 litres of water
  • Suitable bottles - screw top fizzy drinks bottles work fine
Sterilise the bucket as best you can - I rinse everything with boiling water before using it. Rinse the fruit and place all of it in the bucket along with the lemon (washed and sliced, not peeled) or lemon juice, sugar and vinegar.

I prefer to boil my water before adding it, but many people don't bother doing this. Pour the water over the fruit and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. You'll find that most of the fruit floats but it doesn't take long for the colour to begin flowing. This one looks a rich red, as it's made up of rhubarb, blackcurrants and raspberries.
My bucket of choice this year is one that came with a resealable lid and originally contained 50 seed/fat balls for the wild birds. (These are also ideal for holding laundry 'gloop'.)

Cover your bucket with a tea towel or similar to protect the contents from flies, dust etc and then sit it aside for a few days to infuse. I give mine a stir each morning. The resulting liquid can be bottled from as early as day three.
 
Sterilise your bottles as you would jam jars, I like to rinse mine out with boiling water then dry them in the oven - a job best done after having finished cooking dinner so you don't need to go to the expense of heating the oven specially.

Again I use the boiling water method to clean a large jug, sieve and funnel, then decant the fruit mix from the bucket through the sieve and into the jug. From here, it gets poured into the bottles via the funnel lined with a coffee filter, before sealing the bottles. These should then be sat somewhere cool and safe, where the process of natural fermentation can work its magic.
 
Your fizz should be good to drink after as little as ten days but it keeps much longer, in my experience, as we have only just finished last year's batch. You do need to keep releasing excess pressure from bottles if you want to ferment this to a more potent alcoholic beverage and please do remember that it is mildly alcoholic and not a soft drink for children, despite how the final product tastes.
 
This time around, I am reusing my recycled clip-top bottles, of which I now have five, and screw top fizzy drinks bottles for any surplus.
 
You can also make this drink using elderflowers, red clover, honeysuckle blossom or virtually any other fruit or edible flowers, just adapt the amounts accordingly. For example, only use about a dozen strongly scented elderflower heads or quarter of a bucket of red clover heads. (I have never actually weighed flowers when using them.)

You can also use a mixture of elderflower and red clover or any combination of mixed fruit and flowers you prefer. Having tried several different combination, There still hasn't been one that wasn't agreeable - they all tasted lovely, especially chilled and shared with friends.
 
I shall update this post as my champagne-style fizz gets fizzing.
 
Frugaldom.

2 comments:

  1. Hello - I just found your blog via Frugal Queen, and this looks like something I'd love to try! Could you estimate how much lemon juice and vinegar I should use? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Quinn, thanks for stopping by for a read. I normally would use one or two fresh lemons but had none this time round, so added about 50mls of lemon juice - I didn't measure it, sorry. Likewise with the vinegar, but I'd reckon on about 100mls of that. There's nothing refined about the recipe, it's safe enough to guess amounts. I did weigh the fruit, as per photo, and it was 1.02kg at start. Hope this helps and you enjoy making your first batch. If you look at the links at bottom of the blog, there's a link to 'homemade rhubarb champagne', which is also really good.

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