We’ve been quiet around Burbex recently. Rachel had nasal surgery last week, so we haven’t been up to any large projects. To keep you entertained if you’re bored in the mean time, here are a few fun pictures and small projects to keep you going:

Here you can see two of our syrups we made for soda. The brown color is the pineapple mint, which we talked about in another post, and is from the really fun cookbook, “Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it”. The pink syrup (which is almost gone!) is strawberry. This was an adaptation of the Strawberry Black Pepper syrup from the same cookbook.

We also made a small batch of mulberry jam last night, which can also be seen in the picture above. We have a mulberry tree in our back yard, but this is the first year we’ve been proactive enough to actually harvest some of the berries before the birds ate them all. Mulberries look and taste a little like blackberries, except instead of growing on an uncontrollable vine, they grow on a funny looking tree:

 

 

We’re also in the middle of a big project that is a part of our long, ongoing yard renovation:

Eventually all of the sod will be removed, and we will have a garden here under the cottonwood tree. You can also see from the state of our grass (dead!) how hot and dry it has been here in Colorado. You can also see were we have previously started the sod removal in this garden and never finished…

And last, but not least, we welcomed a new member of our menagerie here at Burbex:

 

This is Kazumi. He’s a nearly 2 year old retired Bengal. He’s settling in and bringing a little equilibrium to our wild household by giving Sora someone to chase around.

 

 

Sorry about the long absence. Our household manage to contrive to have company or to be on vacation for nearly every weekend in the month of May. As a result we got almost nothing crafty or home-related done for the entire month. So to feed your withdrawals, here’s a quick look at carbonating your own homemade soda.

The first thing you need is a flavored simple syrup. We made a pineapple mint syrup by macerating pineapple with sugar overnight and then cooking the syrup with mint. We had also made a blueberry lemon syrup through a similar method. Once you have your syrup, you want to funnel it into a clean glass jar.

This shows just the syrup in the jar. You want to dilute the syrup 1:2 with water, so your soda isn’t overly sweet. I had about 3/4 C syrup, so I added about 1 1/2 C water.

This is with the water added. As you can see, we didn’t have enough syrup to make a full bottle of liquid. You can leave the rest as open air space, it will not hurt the soda. Once you’ve done that, you want to add a TINY pinch of active dry yeast. This will react with the sugars and cause the carbonation. The next part is patience. It has to sit in a room temperature place for at least 24 hours, and up to 3 days. The yeast will keep reacting, so you shouldn’t leave it longer than that. We learned this the hard way. We left ours about 4 days, and it was kind of off the radar. Rachel went down to the kitchen, heard a funny hissing noise, and not thinking, opened the blueberry over the sink. She then spent the rest of the morning cleaning up blueberry soda off the ceiling, walls and floors. So really, don’t leave it longer than 3 days.

Once your three days are up, you can pop your soda in the fridge. This will slow down the yeast reaction, but not stop it entirely, so you still need to drink the soda you’ve made within a few days. The amount shown above is probably 2-3 standard glasses.

Also, if you want to look fancy, but not mess with your own carbonation, you can always make your syrup and add it to carbonated water. This is actually the method we use much more often as we usually have soda water around, and it’s less likely to make a mess if you forget about it.