Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homemade Orangina

So for my birthday my mother-in-law got me a SODASTREAM!  I love seltzer water, and Jack loves soda, so it's already seeing heavy use.

In fact I took it with us this weekend when we went to visit Jeff and Katie (of NC Garden Gals) in Asheville.  While demonstrating the sodastream we talked about other stuff you could make using the sodastream, and Jeff and Katie brought up the possibility of making homemade Orangina...

What an AWESOME idea!  I can't believe I hadn't thought of it yet!  Orangina is one of Jack's favorite drinks, and I love it too.  Orangina is pretty pricey so we hardly ever buy it, though.

Well, after checking with the all-powerful Google I did in fact turn up several recipes for homemade Orangina.

In fact, all the recipes I found were different but they shared a common technique of combining sugar with citrus juice and/or peel, and simmering it down to make a syrup.  Then you add this syrup to seltzer water and BLAM - Orangina!

As it happens I bought a bag of tangerines just yesterday that were on sale, but when I ate the first one I discovered they were chock-full of seeds.  I try to get exclusively seedless oranges, so I was pretty disappointed.  However, these tangerines were perfect for juicing!

I took 4 tangerines and 2 lemons and used a vegetable peeler to get long fat stripes of zest.  Then I juiced them all, and combined the juice and zest in a sauce pan with 1/2 a cup of sugar.  I simmered this for about 20 minutes until it thickened, and strained it into a pint jar and stuck it in the fridge.

Now we just have to pull out the jar of Orangina-syrup and pour a few tablespoons into a glass of seltzer water for a delicious and refreshing (and way cheaper) drink!

UPDATE 1/14/14: I've found that when I boil the citrus peel in the simple syrup too long, the pectin in the peel causes the syrup to thicken.  This makes it hard to easily mix into your seltzer water!  So here's what I've been doing lately:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Juice & peel from 1 grapefruit
Juice & peel from 1 orange
Juice & peel from 1 lemon

Combine the water, sugar, and the citrus juice and bring it to a simmer.  Once it starts to simmer and the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat off and THEN add the citrus peel.  Let mixture sit until it cools (or at least 10 minutes), strain and pop in your fridge.  Add a few tablespoons to your seltzer water for easy homemade Orangina! 

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