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Old June 23rd 19, 04:39 AM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
Joy Beeson
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Posts: 1,484
Default AG: My first batch of switchel

"My first" makes me think of George and her first mouse. She lost it
in her own belly fur and frantically frisked herself.

Friday, 21 June 2019

It's been months or years since I had leg cramps, but I woke up from
my nap after today's ride with a doozy. I started to throw one leg
out of bed, the calf cramped up, I grabbed my foot to stretch the
gastrocnemius, that touched the other leg off, and things went back
and forth for a while. I even got cramps in the thighs. It stopped
when I finally managed to stand up.

So I opened a can of tonic, added a generous squirt of lime juice, and
reflected that I've thrown sweat-soaked clothing into the washer after
every ride of late -- it must be time to start making switchel.

Traditionally, switchel is diluted molasses, often tarted up with
vinegar and ginger. In New England, they added oatmeal.

Some day I'm actually going to put in molasses. I'm pretty sure there
is half a bottle of it in the freezer.

So far I have in the saucepan:

A quarter cup of the syrup off bread-and-butter pickles.
A stalk of rubarb, sliced thin.
One cup of water.
A tablespoon of frozen cranberries for color (the rhubarb is green).
A tablespoon of dried ginger -- the store where I bought fresh ginger
last year is no more (whimper).
A quarter cup of steel-cut oats. I went to the freezer for brown
rice, saw the oats, and decided to go traditional.

I think half a teaspoon of Lite Salt (equal parts of potassium
chloride and sodium chloride) will finish it.

The package says that the oats will soak up most of the cup of water.
The cranberries will also soak up some. (I'd like to know how
juice-drink manufacturers manage to get "juice" from cranberries.
Surely it's a water extract!) The rhubarb should cook out some juice,
but last time I boiled some, it didn't.

I have saved a 24-oz honey bottle to carry switchel concentrate in.
Honey weighs twelve pounds to the gallon. Water weighs eight pounds
to the gallon. Two thirds of twenty-four is sixteen. That bottle
doesn't *look* like a pint.

I added one cup of water. That should make half a bottle. I'll
probably add some honey while it's hot enough to dissolve it, and if
the rubarb isn't sour enough, a squirt of lemon or lime.

The residue in the strainer, with butter and maple syrup, will be my
bedtime snack.


It made eleven ounces of concentrate. I added enough honey to make it
twelve. The porridge required neither butter nor sweetener.

The cranberries imparted no color at all, but looked nice in my


Saturday, 22 June 2019

It farmers' markets day! /stan frieberg

I poured the switchel concentrate into the honey bottle, then rinsed
the measuring jar it had cooled in with a cup of water and poured it
into my translucent water bottle twice. Then I added enough
concentrate to impart a slightly-starchy flavor and put the
concentrate in the fridge. (I was planning to get home pretty soon
after finishing the first bottle, and there are few places to get more
water on the farmers' markets loop. Also, the room-temperature
concentrate would have melted my ice.)

There wasn't the slightest trace of sour, so I added a few hearty
squirts of an inferior lime juice that I bought yesterday. It's "from
concentrate" but I don't think they used much concentrate; one has to
come pretty close to drinking it straight to detect any lime flavor,
when it's tasted straight, the bitter conceals the sour. At least
having to put in lots each time means that the 4.6 fl oz/133 ml bottle
won't last very long. Then I can buy better juice in a less-expensive

I filled the bottle with ice cubes, which were pretty much melted by
the time I ate breakfast and got dressed, and put it in the cage.

A little starch in the water gets it out of the stomach faster, and a
little tartness in the water gets it into the mouth faster. I had
only half a bottle of water left when I got home about two hours after
I left.

I topped the half-full bottle off and left the empty bottle on the
counter before I went back to pick up lunch for two. I thought that I
might want the empty cage for the drink that comes with the special,
but I put it into my insulated pannier before bungeeing the foam box
of sandwich on top.

It's been years since Sweet Dreams switched from giving you the drink
in a cup to letting you select from a display of bottles and cans, but
old habits die hard. Also, they might switch back without warning.

It was a pretty good sandwich. We saved the can of fizzwater for
later, as I'd hit some bumps on the way home.

Joy Beeson
joy beeson at comcast dot net


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