Sunday, 4 July 2010

Cooling Off

by: Danelle at My Total Perspective Vortex

Two things that cost us a lot of money when it gets hot at the farm: Popsicles and beverage. When we were newly married my husband got so sick from dehydration and exhaustion that he was admitted to the Emergency Room and administered fluids for 4 hours. After that experience I made it my job to keep everyone working at our home in the heat hydrated and taking breaks when necessary. I kept Pedialite frozen pops on hand for immediate heatstroke treatment. Those can cost 10$ a box. Gatorade has basically the same stuff but more HFCS. Ugh. Neither has nutrition, they are just a quick fix.

Now that we have kids who will play play play until they collapse even if it is 106 degrees F outside with a heat index of 10 degrees higher and humidity to boot, I have a different arsenal to battle the dreaded dehydration monster. Our farm provides what we need and it is not expensive (unless you count the stained clothes, but that's just part of farm life anyway!)

There are two things that we now consume: Mint tea and fruit puree Popsicles.

Brewing mint tea concentrate; stock pot full of water, food processed Spearmint leaves, bring to a boil then cover and turn off, let sit for 2-3 hours, then add 1/2 cup of raw turbinado sugar for every 2 gallons. Then I put it in freezer safe pint jars and freeze. It is really strong, so when the time comes I take 1 frozen pint in a pitcher and pour over that cold water to fill...still strong so I serve over a glass full of ice. It is really not at all like "tea" but rather minty ice water. Very refreshing with the added nutritional bonus. I think that the Spearmint vs Peppermint makes the tea, as Spearmint has a much lower menthol content and is not as strong. I'm not sure I'd like it with Peppermint. I have not tried chocolate mint or lemon mint. They added bonus over sports drinks is the folic acid content (vit B9) and natural potassium and lots of other essential nutrients! Mint tea is packed full of natural, easy to digest, goodness!

I dried the remaining mint from that harvest. The dried mint gets stuffed into mason jars with a few grains of rice and used all winter long for hot tea and seasoning. With the next harvest I plan on making mint extracts for cookies.

I've been making so many Popsicles. The kids gobble them and the good kind with no HFCS are expensive and not much selection at our local grocery. Why would I pay 5$ for 6 Popsicles made out of strawberry puree when I just harvested 60 lbs of strawberries and put them up in my own freezer? It just seemed so ridiculous. So I've been using frozen juices and better yet pure unsugared fruit purees. The favourite right now is Watermelon pops. Watermelon in a blender= most yummy dripless stainless Popsicle EVER. No extra sugar so the kids can eat as much as they want. I had to order more moulds because of the freeze time. They eat them so fast. So I will keep a total of 20 pops in a freeze cycle. I have also made these with yogurt and fruit, actual juice (like apple cider or fresh squeezed orange juice or lemonade made with honey or raw sugar).