Cold Drinks
Juices from fruits are not only extremely tasty, but they are also a good source of vitamin C. Sometimes simply pressing fruit can create a good juice, but more often it is preferable to heat the fruit first. Doing so will both make juicing the fruit easier and deactivate the enzymes that cause fruit juice to lose its flavor.

Using only enough water to cover your fruit, smash it to release the juice and simmer just until it's soft (simmering for too long will cause it to lose flavor). Strain the yield through cheesecloth to remove any remaining solids or hairs. At this point, one could also use the juice to make jam or jelly.

Generally it is best to cool the juice and drink it fresh, but if this isn't practical, or you want to save some of your juice for the winter, you should pasteurize it to prevent it from fermenting (unless you want it to ferment, but that's a matter for a whole different field guide). To do this, heat your juice to 190 degrees Fahrenheit in a double boiler, stirring constantly (pasteurization will only be effective above 185 degrees). At this point, move the juice (still in the top of the double boiler) into a refrigerator. Once cool, you can bottle and freeze the juice. It should keep for up to a year.

Plants in this guide that can be made into cold drinks

Anacardiaceae - The Cashew Family
Smooth Sumac

Rub fruit cluster to bruise berries, then soak entire cluster in cold water until water is dark. Use cheesecloth to strain out hairs and berries.

Berberidaceae - The Barberry Family
Common Barberry

Sweetened juice is quite pleasant.

Japanese Barberry

Juice should be diluted, sweetened, and chilled.

Oxalidaceae - The Wood-Sorrel Family
Yellow Wood-Sorrel

Steep leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate. Add honey or sugar to taste.

Rosaceae - The Rose Family

The juice from the berries makes a sweet but tart drink.

Domestic Apple

Juice may need additional sweetening, but otherwise excellent.

Vitaceae - The Grape Family
Wild Grape

Juice may need to be sweetened more than that of domestic grapes.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.