Bottled fruit is handy. For a quick fruit pudding, fruit flavoured yogurt or jazzing up the muesli, a jar of bottled fruit makes a great homemade fast food. But the average family, if there is such a thing, doesn’t eat their weight in bottled fruit each year like they used to. Tastes change, the world is no longer black and white and we are spoilt for choice on the food front. Breakfast has moved on from weet bix or kornies and dessert is no longer crumble or custard. My own house is no exception, so although I still do a few jars of bottled fruit each summer, I also scan around for new ways to use the fruit coming in from our orchard.
As well as dehydrating fruit, in recent summers I’ve been experimenting with fruit cordials. Some of you might remember last summer’s Women’s Institute Plum Cordial which went down very well. This summer I’ve made another version of this with lemons which is even better and I’ve used the bounty from a little white fleshed peach tree to make this White Peach Iced Tea Cordial which is just gorgeous.
I’ve always liked the idea of making my own drinks for flavour, health and economy. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed the rise in “healthy” drinks on the market in recent years. Drinks marketed as natural, refreshing, energy rich, organic, vitamin enriched, fruits of the sun in a bottle etc. As we’ve demonised mainstream fizzy soda drinks, these so-called health beverages have jumped up to take their place – but look again folks. Don’t be fooled by the green wrapping – some of these drinks have the same sugar content as the ones they are supposed to replace. I bet you’d be surprised to know that Phoenix Apple & Feijoa has the same sugar content per 100mls that a can of Coke has. Same goes for a bottle of All Good Blood Orange. Who knew?
Peach Iced Tea is another favourite with my niece and a 500ml bottle of this contains 7 teaspoons of sugar, not as much as Coke, but still more than the recommended total daily allowance for an adult. So my recipe for homemade White Peach Iced Tea cordial delivers a lovely peachy drink with a lot less sugar. If you made it at kid strength 1:5 (strong) you’d still be getting 40% less sugar and a pleasant adult strength mix of 1:10 is 80% less sugar than the peach iced tea you will get from the supermarket. I’ve put a shot of it into my water bottle today and it is really lovely.
RECIPE – makes approx 3 liters of cordial concentrate
- Put 3kg peaches in a large heavy bottomed pan and cover with water.
- Add the zest of 4 lemons.
- Cook the peaches and zest on a medium heat until they are completely mushy.
- Strain the peaches overnight through cotton cheesecloth.
- For every 1 LTR. of juice add 500 grams of sugar
- juice of 4 lemons
- 35 grams of powdered citric acid
- 200 mls strong black tea
- Bring to the boil
- Cool and bottle in clean screw top bottles
- Store in the refrigerator
- You can also freeze in plastic containers and thaw as required.