Recently I have been on a new drive in my life to become more self sufficient and sustainable. Part of that has been implementing changes in my diet, and more recently how I conduct myself as a consumer.
Part of that is trying to reduce waste in my day to day life. After all, why put stuff in landfill if its within my power to do differently.
Recently my shop bought orange squash ran out. Leading then to the 1st experiment in my (wannabe) zero waste lifestyle. I recycled the old plastic bottle and pulled two used glass bottles out of my recycling instead. I then sterilised them and begun.
(To sterilise first wash your bottles and then place in a clean oven preheated to 120 degrees for ten to 15 mins. Making sure to remove the rubber seals).
-Clean containers. Glass is ideal as it is non toxic and is not made with copious amounts of oil a'la plastic.
- 500ml of water
- 2 Pans
- 40g of citric acid (Can buy from the chemist). The box is recyclable, but sadly the plastic is not, so if you intend to make this again, try to buy it in bulk.
- 300g of sugar. Packaging is recyclable.
- 10 oranges. Any will do, but be aware organic ones are neither waxed to make them shiny, not have been sprayed with chemical preservatives. If that is something you care about, then organic is the way to go.
- 4 Lemons. (See above description for oranges).
1) Put the 500ml of water onto boil, with a lid so as to reduce energy consumption. While you wait for it to boil, zest all of the oranges and lemon skins. Try and avoid getting too much of the undercoat of the skin zested along with the peel.
2) Once the water is boiled reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the 300g of sugar slowly, and add the 40 grams of citric acid. It should all be dissolved after stirring.
3) Once the sugar and citric acid is dissolved, reduce to a very low simmer and leave for 10 mins.
4) During that time, have fun and squeeze some oranges and lemons. (I was shocked at just how much juice comes out of them. I don't have a juicer, so I found the best method was to turn a glass upside down in a pan. Squeeze the half slice first to soften it up. Press it over the upturned end of the glass. Moving the fruit around to pop all the little juice sacks. And then give it one final scrunch to get the last of the liquid out.
(If possible recycle the orange and lemon peels in a composter. They will be quite high in moisture content so to stop the compost from smelling, add some dry media to it, either dry soil, or old newspaper).
5) Once the sugary water has simmered for a while, add the zest and leave for another 5 mins. Then leave the solution to cool down to room temperature.
6) Combine all of the juice and the sugar water together in a large pan. (There is quite a lot of liquid at this point, so it needs to be a big pan. I would estimate nearly 2 Litres of liquid once combined.
7) At this point you can either blend the little bits of orange into the mixture, or strain it. Or both. That entirely depends on how much you want your orange squash to be full of bits. Finally decant the squash into the cleaned containers and refrigerate.
At this point it is advised you keep the squash for a week before using it, to acquaint itself. Once that is done it should be good to go.
Due to the high acidity and sugar levels of the cordial. I imagine it will preserve itself for quite a while, especially if you made sure to sterilise the jars/bottles. But I cant vouch for how long it will stay good as I am yet to find out myself. I would maybe freeze one for safe keeping just in case.
The recommended dilution is about 1 part cordial to 8 parts water. So it should last you quite a long time before you have to think about making another batch.
Other things to bear in mind include...
The overall cost was about £5.00
That created 2 litres of quite concentrated squash. So it probably balances out price wise compared to buying the shop bought Robinsons or other brands. With the added benefit however, of knowing 100% what is in it. Its healthier, tastier and most importantly much much better for the environment. (Even if you take into account the transport of oranges from warmer climes such as spain).
I hope you all have a chance to try it and enjoy it.
All the best