March 25, 2014
This season we are looking at ways to reduce our overall fruit consumption for garnishes in our cocktails. The first way to do that is to stop using imported fruit. We are not saying that we suddenly need to turn vast tracts of Essex into orange groves. All we need to do is ask ourselves if we really do need to have a lime or lemon wedge in a G&T? Are there any other alternatives? We think there are.
In 2011 the UK consumed 100 thousand tonnes of lemons and limes. That makes it the 6th largest consumer in the EU. In 2010 we imported over 20 thousand tonnes of limes that is equivalent to 17 Million Euros.
Most of these limes come from far flung places like Brazil or Mexico, so you have the air miles to consider and try and offset.
We have done a lot of work over the last couple of years with home grown garnishes but this year we are going the extra mile. We have 6 lovely little Cucamelon seedlings currently being encouraged to grow which we hope will produce around 200 little olive sized Cucamleons. They have a taste that resembles lime and cucumber -and are an excellent garnish for the G&T.
We got our seeds from http://www.suttons.co.uk from the James Wong Homegrown Revolution page of the site. There are some inspirational plants to be found on here.
We are also looking at tiny Kiwis that were originally from Siberia of all places. Which will look fantastic in a glass of Sparkling Wine. Our aim is to see if you can grow these rather exotic plants with very little care and then use them to create some really easy garnishes which look great in any drink.
Our other big push for this summer is dehydrated fruit. The lovely folk over at www.Bonzer.co.uk have an incredible range of dehydrators that suit all budgets. These wondrous machines help to increase the shelf life of your fresh garnishes, sometimes up to several weeks if stored correctly.
You can take a fresh pineapple, slice it up and then dehydrate it, it can then last for several weeks if stored in an air tight container. These can then be used to make incredible dried garnishes to top your tiki cocktail even when it is the dead of winter.
These are also incredible useful when making fruit leather and generally preserving fruit for a very long time. These too can be rolled up and made in fruit rolls, or even flowers. All in all these are all great methods of producing our own garnishes in an industry.