Mix-Up Your Fourth of July

July 2, 2014 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

Give switchel a try and bring something new to the picnic table.
Last week, the PBS Food Extracts e-newsletter appeared in my inbox as it does each and every Friday, and the top stories this time inspired me to shake things up a bit this July 4th. Most of us plan to have hot dogs and s’mores this weekend, but PBS Food has gathered a bunch of less traditional food and drink recipes that are perfect for a summer barbecue.

Glasses filled with switchel and fresh strawberries

Switchel from “Around the Farm Table”

I’ll admit it was the picture of a strawberry-topped cake that got me to click through to the recipes, but when I dove into the list I was delighted to also see a few recipes from Around the Farm Table, which premiered on WPT las fall and recently debuted on the PBS Food website.

Featured are recipes for rhubarb jam pie and switchel. For the uninitiated, switchel is a potent drink with a vinegar and water base. A bit of raw ginger gives it extra zing while honey and fresh fruit provide a hint of sweetness. Farmers used to drink switchel, also known as haymaker’s punch, during long hot days in the field. In a way, it’s the original sports drink.

If you like a real strong ginger beer or kombucha, you might consider mixing up a batch of switchel  – though it certainly won’t please anyone looking for a sweet glass of lemonade. Check out this recipe and find a ton of other ideas for your July 4th weekend – including grilled pineapple margaritas and strawberry rhubarb sorbet – from PBS Food.

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