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Deliciously Organic: Raspberry-Strawberry Coolers

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raspberry-Strawberry Coolers

Are you addicted to soda? If you're like most of my friends, the answer is a reluctant yes.  It's astonishing how many of us are addicted to these sweet, bubbly drinks.  Who wouldn't want to sip them all day?  An ice cold soda on a hot day is pretty close to taste perfection, but unfortunately it's not very nourishing for the body.  As you probably know, sodas today generally consist of High Fructose Corn Syrup, carbonated water, caffeine, and flavorings.

"Pure fructose contains no enzymes, vitamins, or minerals and robs the body of its micronutrient treasures in order to assimilate itself for physiological use . . . Research indicates that this free fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium. Among other consequences, HFCS has been implicated in elevated blood cholesterol levels and the creation of blood clots. It has been found to inhibit the action of white blood cells so that they are unable to defend the body against harmful foreign invaders . . . Because it is metabolized by the liver, fructose does not cause the pancreas to release insulin the way it normally does. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. This may be one of the reasons Americans continue to get fatter. Fructose raises serum triglycerides significantly." (Bill Sanda, The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Most people I know realize we shouldn't drink so much soda, but what are the alternatives?  I try to drink water for thirst, but occasionally crave something effervescent.  My favorite soda substitutes are these coolers homemade from berries, lemon, and vanilla bean.  While they don't provide the caffeine of colas, they deliver the cold sweet flavor and fizz we crave. 

Kombucha stands as another excellent alternative.  Kombucha is a fermented drink made from a kombucha mushroom that results in a bubbly drink full of probiotics.  You can find my favorite brand, Synergy, at most health food stores.  Synergy combines their brewed kombucha with fresh juices for a sweet, fabulous combination.

If you want to kick your soda habit, I recommend drinking water first when you're thirsty.  Then, replace your first soda of the day with a drink like the one below or kombucha.  Remember, slow changes make the difference.  You can do it!

Raspberry-Strawberry Cooler
You can use frozen and thawed berries if you can't find fresh ones.
Serves 4

2 cups raspberries
2 cups strawberries
1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 vanilla bean (split, seeds scraped, pod reserved; or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/4 cup honey

4 cups seltzer

Place raspberries, strawberries, lemon, vanilla bean, and honey in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Cook until berries have released most of their juices, about 12 minutes.

Strain mixture through a fine sieve, pressing gently with the back of a spoon.  Discard the solids.  Cool completely.  Mixture will keep for one week in the refrigerator.

To serve: Pour 1/4 cup syrup into 4 ice-filled glasses. Top each with 1 cup seltzer. Serve with lemon wedges.


Blogger Emily said...

Perfect timing! My parents are coming and my mom's been told by her doctor to cut out the soda. She hates water, so I'm making this today for her!

May 21, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

What a beautiful and refreshingly light summer drink!

May 21, 2010 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

I drink soda maybe 3 times a year at best...1. because I was raised to drink water instead and 2. I don't like the way it makes me belch! But...of course....out of those 3 days I really do enjoy a cool, bubbly soda. There's something fun about getting that bubbly feeling in your throat. I definitely love your alternative recipe and hope to make it soon!


May 21, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Esi said...

I don't think I have tried using honey in a drink before. Love the idea!

May 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I too have posted on the disaster that traditional soda is to mankind. I'll choose your berry cooler over that junk any day :)

May 21, 2010 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams said...

Fizzy and fabulous. How I'd love a glass right now.

May 21, 2010 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have never thought of making my own soda before probablly because I don't drink a lot of soda. As a kid mom encouraged us to drink water and the habit just stuck. This looks delicious and perfect for my tropical weather.

May 21, 2010 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] said...

Your blog is beautiful! Definitely adding you to my blogroll. I'm all about organic. Thanks for more inspiration : )

May 22, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Punctuation Mark said...

very nice post... i am not into sodas and hate when the family visits because they leave tons of them in my fridge

May 23, 2010 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Sharon Harvey said...

I live in Charleston,SC where it gets swelteringly hot in the spring and summer months, and I love that this drink keeps you hydrated (because of the seltzer) yet is tasty and beautiful enough to serve at a party!

May 28, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

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