Pass the Switchel… and Cheers!

Switched on to Switchel!

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What is Switchel you may ask? I have to admit that I only discovered this wonderful drink a couple of months ago but it has fast become a favourite. Switchel has quite a few nicknames including Haymaker’s Punch, Ginger-water and Swizzy. One might call it a fermented drink, but it is so simple to make and falls into the “fermented” category only because one of the main ingredients used to make it, is Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother), and you do leave it to “brew” for at least 12-24 hours in the fridge. The story goes that it may have originated in the Caribbean, or perhaps from an ancient Greek medicinal elixir, but wherever its origins, by the 18th century, “haymaker’s punch” was guzzled down by American farmers during long work days to keep cool and stay hydrated in the heat. Perhaps the first ever electrolyte sports drink LOL!

The beauty of switchel is that you can make it so many different ways, alter the amount of any of the ingredients to suit your taste, so there is sure to be a recipe that works for you and your family!

The basic ingredients include Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh grated or sliced ginger, a natural sweeter (I use raw honey and a little maple syrup), lime (optional), and filtered water. Apparently in the original recipes from the West Indies they used Molasses to sweeten their brew, so if you like molasses – then go for it! I happen not to like the flavour of molasses so you won’t find it in my elixir!

What a power packed list of ingredredients!

Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs): A great natural source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as beneficial bacteria and acids. While many people don’t love the strong flavor of vinegar by itself, it is perfect in this recipe when balanced with ginger, honey and lime. ACV balances your body’s pH levels and, as a liver and lymphatic tonic, detoxes your body. Not bad eh? I have written a post just on the benefits of ACV (Braggs) so if you want more info click here.

On a personal note: If you live in Canada, this (click HERE) is the best place I have found to purchase Braggs products, and a plethera of other organic, health conscious products.  I would very much appreciate a referral should you purchase through them, just indicate inthepink as the referral code and many thanks, this helps to keep my website going!

Honey: A versatile natural remedy in my house that I use on a daily basis. Raw honey is a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that makes it a nutrient powerhouse with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It is often recommended for digestive health and there is some evidence that it may benefit the skin when taken internally.

On a personal note: If you live in Canada, this (click HERE) is the best place I have found to purchase raw honey, and a plethera of other organic, health conscious products. (oh and – when asked who referred you, I would very much appreciate you naming “inthepink” to help keep my website going.  Thanks!) 

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is one of the top natural sweeteners. When used in moderation, it is an excellent alternative to cane sugar. Maple syrup affects blood sugar levels less than regular table sugar and includes trace antioxidants, manganese, zinc and other minerals that regular sugar lacks. Because maple syrup is made from tree sap, it’s also much less processed than refined cane sugar. It also steers clear of many of sugar’s harmful effects.

Ginger: This root is packed with health benefits. A powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant due to the presence of an oil called gingerol. It has a long history of use as a remedy for digestive problems, easing bloating symptoms, nausea and illness. In this recipe, it adds both flavor and a slight spicy balance to the sweetness of the honey. Ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, soothing upset tummies and. It also boosts your immune system, helping it fight off disease and breaking down the accumulation of toxins in the body.

Lime: Lime juice can be added for flavor, but it is also a good source of Vitamin C. (I sometimes add a few drops of Young Living Lime Essential Oil (you can buy it here) in place of lime juice).

Variations you can try:

 Use Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is good for skin and hair. It is a great natural source of Iron, B6, Potassium, Selenium and copper, and often helpful for people who suffer from anemia and have trouble absorbing other sources of iron. It is considered diabetes-friendly (having the lowest-glycemic option for a sweetener) and unlike refined sweeteners, it maintains many of the nutrients of the sugar cane.
An idea for pregnant Mums, when extra nutrients and iron are needed, molasses could be added for a nutrition boost.

Use Maple Syrup: maple syrup can be used in place of honey in this recipe as well.

 Use Lemon or Herbs: For flavor, you can use lemon in place of the lime if you prefer (but the lime is optional and I sometimes omit it completely). You can also add other herbs besides just ginger. Try Basil, Lemon Thyme and Rosemary.

Seltzer Water: Though regular water is traditionally used in this recipe, seltzer water can give it natural fizz and make it even more refreshing. Since it is typically “aged” overnight in the fridge, I recommend using regular water in the recipe, but only using half as much and then adding the additional as seltzer water when serving. (I actually always make the main brew stronger, with less water, and add water each time have a glass. I need to make it less often that way.)

Cinnamon: If you prefer more of an apple-cider flavor, add a few organic cinnamon sticks to the overnight soak in the fridge.

On a personal note: If you live in Canada, this (click HERE) is the best place I have found to purchase organic cinnamon, and a plethera of other organic, health conscious products.  I would very much appreciate a referral should you purchase through them, just indicate inthepink as the referral code and many thanks, this helps to keep my website going!

So here goes… recipe time!

When you are making Switchel for the first time, I would suggest making a small batch and if you like what you taste, then go bigger. If not, then keep switching out the ingredients until you find the perfect blend for you. You have to start somewhere, so here is a basic recipe:

Classic Switchel

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (may want to start with 2), and I only use Braggs
  • 4 tablespoons raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger; or as much as you want really, you can also add in extra slices
  • 4 cups filtered water (or 2 cups water to steep and then add 2 cups seltzer water)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large jar with a lid.
  • Shake to combine.
  • Refrigerate and let steep for 12 to 24 hours. Strain.

Stir well before serving.

When you find a version of the recipe you like, then you can bring out the big guns and make a large batch.

Here is my recipe:

I use a whole mass of ginger, which I grate.  Some people prefer to thinly slice but I find the flavour fuller when grated:IMG_1006.jpg

I have a large iced tea jug that has a section I can put the grated ginger in, I fill with filtered water, add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, about 1/2 cup of raw honey, and sometimes a chug of maple syrup.  I really don’t measure, I go by taste.  As I mentioned before, I make my solution strong so I can dilute with water for every serving.

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Ta Da.. the finished product!

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Stick it in the fridge overnight and you are ready to go. You can remove the ginger if you like, I like a nice strong ginger flavour so I leave mine in the jug.

I tend to drink a glass after dinner and find it really helps with digestion.

On a personal note: Because I drink this every day, I found that I was grating a lot of ginger on a cheese grater, soooooooo…. I decided to try “grating” it in my Vitamix blender, and it worked out incredibly well.  I put chunks of ginger into the blender, added filtered water to about 3/4 and then pulsed a few times and the ginger was chopped into tiny pieces and the filtered water became part of the switchel.  I don’t think a regular blender would work, but if you have a Vitamix try it out, just remember not to blend too much, you need to keep the ginger to a “grated” consistency so you can strain and remove the bits.

I hope you give Switchel a try, you will be surprised how yummy it is!  I would love to hear your feedback, how you liked it, how you tweaked the recipe etc. Comment below 🙂

 

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