Farm Fresh Italian Sodas and a Sad Farewell

It is with a heavy heart that I begin this post. I lost a dear friend today. My hot pink berry colander.

AUGH! I was headed down to the garden to pick berries for this recipe, when somehow I dropped my little metal berry colander for no apparent reason, and it just so happened to land on this random hunk of cement paver that is on the side of our house. Snap, Crackle, Pop. I was so upset! I still am! I love that little colander. It was a present from my mom, and it has so many uses! The worst part is, I was trying to compose a sentence about the merits of a berry colander and why everyone should get one when BAM! Colander down. If it had landed LITERALLY ONE INCH to the left, all would have been fine. Hubbins says I can get a new one, but it just won’t be the same. Farewell old friend. *sniffle sniffle*

Ok, colander funeral out of the way, today we’re making Italian Sodas!! Yum!! They are super easy to make, and you’ll wonder why you never did it before! All you need is a few simple ingredients to make a deliciously fancy looking beverage.

First, the fruit. We’ve been making these out of our garden grow berries, raspberry, or raspberry mixed with boysenberry. Oh man boysenberries are good. This was all the berries I could find today:

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Not very many, but you only need one cup of fruit, so I rounded it out with a peach from Trader Joe’s. You could use blueberries or strawberries, or OOH blackberries, which I will be doing when foraging season starts in just a couple weeks! Cherries… nectarines.. pretty much any fruit can be syrup. If it’s a good jam, go for it.

Mix one part fruit, one part sugar, one part water. I used one cup each. Simmer over low heat, mashing the fruit as you go. Berries break down much quicker than the peach did, so your cook time will be variable. Just make sure your fruit breaks down pretty well and your sugar is all dissolved, and don’t burn it! When it looks sufficiently cooked down, strain through a mesh seive (or layers of cheesecloth if you don’t have a sieve). I mushed the last of the fruit bits to make sure all of the syrup is out.

Once your syrup is done, let it cool. My 3 cups of starting ingredients made 1.5 cups syrup. Fill your desired glass with ice cubes. Add some syrup, more for a stronger flavor, less for a light flavor. One batch of the syrup make two sodas each for me and Hubbins, so we use just over 1/3 of a cup syrup. Add about the same amount of club soda. Top with a splash of heavy cream.  Stir to combine. Top with some whipped cream if desired. That’s it! Enjoy!!!

Oh and you really should get a berry colander, like this one, because they’re super handy for a lot of things. But you should probably NOT drop it on cement and break it. Just a tip.

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