If you to look in our freezer, you might think that there are some weird hoarding issues going on. There are plastic bags filled with all kinds of random leftover bits of all kinds – cheese rinds to thicken soups and sauces, veggie scraps for broth, bones to make stock. I really hate letting things go to waste and try the best I can to get the most use out everything. I’m not sure where there this comes from, but you’d think I grew up in the depression.
Recently, I found myself with a bunch of fruit scraps – a bunch of strawberry tops, apples peels and pieces, and some ginger peels. I found myself wondering if I might not be able to make something out of these things that would otherwise be trash. I use the same types of scraps from veggies make stock, so why not do it with fruit. Then I realized that I’ve seen this exact thing done in Colombia. They make a fruit tea called Aromática out of leftover fruit, so I decided to do the same.
I put all of the scraps into a pot, filled the pot with water, brought it to a boil, and then allowed it to simmer on the stove until the liquid had reduced by about half. To make sure I extracted as much flavor as possible out of the fruit, I allowed everything to soak overnight. In the morning, I added more water and allowed it to reduce again. I’m sure one round would have sufficed, but by the time I was done, there was no color left in that fruit – it was all in the liquid in the pot. After I allowed the liquid to cool, I strained in and transferred it to a bottle. My experiment had yielded a beautiful deep pink elixir.
When I tried the liquid, it had all the fruity flavor with a little spicy, herbal flavor from the ginger that reminded me a little of bitters. Obviously I had to make a cocktail. Because of the ginger, the resulting cocktail reminded me a little of a Dark and Stormy, but the fruity flavor from the apples and strawberries made it taste like summer, so I’m calling this mix a Summer Storm.
1 ounce fruit elixir (see above)
2 ounces rum (vodka also works well)
Pour fruit elixir and rum into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top off glass with ginger ale and a splash of lime juice.
I’ve also been flavoring lemon-lime seltzer or ginger ale with the fruit elixir for a refreshing non-alcoholic summer drink.
I really liked the results of this experiment and the possibilities for flavor combos are endless! It looks like my freezer is gaining a new scraps bag.
If you have interesting ways of reusing and recycling items around the kitchen, I'd love to hear about them.
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