Delicious Drinks from Unlikely Ingredients
By “Awake!” correspondent in Guyana
WHEN food is in abundance, waste is common. But when prices are high or supplies are short, some housewives learn to be resourceful. In Guyana many women do not even throw away the peel of the potato. They use the skins of potato, pineapple, plantain and other items to make beverages. Seeds of fruits such as papaw are also used to produce delicious drinks.
These beverages are very easy to make, and are nonalcoholic. Their widespread use in Guyana springs from the fact that an almost endless variety can be produced. They are served as thirst quenchers and refreshers, particularly on a warm day. Their tastes are quite varied and each one has its own characteristics.
Are flavorings used at all? Yes. Cinnamon and clove, among others, may be added to improve taste. Experience has shown that only very small quantities of these flavorings are needed.
Developing the art of making these drinks is largely a matter of trial and error. How so? The housewife merely sets peels or skins in some water, and after a few days she adds some sugar. Should it taste good, she experiments with it further.
After a Guyanese housewife finds good recipes, according to taste, color and length of time involved in preparation, she may pass on the information to others. Repeated experiments with respect to different fruits lead to a long list of homemade drinks of various blends, colors and tastes. So fruits formerly picked only for eating are, in addition, processed for producing beverages.
For the potato beverage the ingredients used are skin or peel of 4 to 6 potatoes, 1/2 gallon of water, clove and sugar. These are mixed together and left for three days before straining.
A particularly delicious drink is the one made from the pineapple peel. It is simple to prepare. Ingredients: (1) peel of one pineapple; (2) 4 glasses of boiling water; (3) sugar to taste and two cloves; (4) a piece of dried orange peel, if desired. Method: The peelings, cloves and orange peel are put in a jug, and boiling water is added. It is covered and left for twenty-four hours, after which the mixture is strained and sweetened. It should be used at once or bottled and kept for one or two days. When pineapples are plentiful, some of the pulp may be chopped and used with the peel.
A similar method may be adopted in using the pods of green peas and the skins or peels of guava and plantain. The green-pea beverage has the following ingredients: (1) 4 handfuls of green-pea pods; (2) 4 pints of water; (3) sugar to taste and a few cloves; (4) 1 level teaspoon of cinnamon; (5) 1 piece of dried orange peel; (6) a few drops of almond or pineapple essence. Method: Wash green-pea pods, place in a jar and add the water, sugar, spice and cloves, and dried orange peel. Leave it for three days. Strain and add the essence and ice, then serve.
A delicious papaw drink is made out of these ingredients: (1) Seeds taken from a yellow papaw; (2) 3 pints of water or more; (3) sugar to taste and a few cloves. Method: Put ingredients into a covered bottle and leave it for three days. Strain and serve with ice. Use a similar method for mango beverage.
There are obviously advantages from converting these apparent waste products to active, useful ingredients for beverages. For one thing, waste is conserved and money is thus saved. Production is inexpensive and almost labor free. There is the additional satisfaction the industrious housewife enjoys in developing her skill. Slight variation in processing can lead to a blend of different tastes and colors. Peels and seeds may seem to be unlikely ingredients, but they can produce delicious drinks.