Manzanita juice is a delectable beverage made from manzanita berries. Manzanita berries are grown in great profusion in the Sierra Nevada of California, but various species grow as far north as British Columbia and as far east as Texas.
Manzanita cider is very popular and is mix with equal volume of sugar to make delicious manzanita syrup. You can also make ice cream, shorbet or just use it as a concentrate for a cooling drink.
Manzanita is a common name for many species of the genus Arctostaphylos. They are evergreen shrubs or small tress spread in the chaparral biome of western North America, British Columbia, and Washington to California and New Mexico and throughout northern and central Mexico. They are characterized by smooth, orange or red bark and stiff, twisting branches. There are 106 species of manzanita, 95 of which are found in the Mediterranean climate and colder mountainous regions of California, ranging from ground-hugging coastal and mountain species to small trees up to 20 feet (6m) tall. Manzanitas bloom in the winter to early spring and carry berries in spring and summer. The berries and flowers of most species are edible.
The word manzanita is derived from the Spanish word manzana (apple). A literal translation would be ‘little apple’. Manzanita berries can be stored in the fridge for upto 2 months. Some of the berries will burst and release their little black seeds. Cider tastes just as good a when freshly pickled. The drink is really quite elegant-tasting. Few also mix it with vodka to make an excellent Manza-tini. There are many varieties of manzanita and the berries will turn dull red when they ripen.
Traditionally Manzanita plant apart from the ripen berries can be used for various purposes. Drying the berries and grinding them up into a course meal in one process or else fresh berries are soaked in water to make a refreshing cider. While the curled off bark can be used as a tea for nausea and stomach upset. The younger leaves are sometimes plucked and chewed by hikers to deter thirst whereas Native Americans use Manzanita leaves as toothbrushes. Manzanita wood, when dry, is excellent for burning in a campfire, barbecue, fireplace, or stove. It is dense and burns at a high temperature for long periods. However, caution should be exercised, because the high temperatures can damage thin-walled barbecues, and even crack cast iron stoves or cause chimney fires.
To prepare a yummy and delicious Manzanita juice, pick the fresh berries and wash them thoroughly. The ratio of making the juice is one cup of manzanita berries to 4 cups water. Boil the water and pour it over the berries and wait for about 15 minutes. Crush the berries with a masher. Lightly bruise or break the berries and allow cooling to room temperature.
Sieve the juice through a muslin cloth. Collect the juice the strained juice and refrigerate it as more sediment will fall to the bottom. Carefully decant the good juice from the jar leaving as much of the fine sediment in the jar. Drink little. It you like it little sweetened than add some sugar, mix well and drink. But often it is had plain.
Do try this recipe and enjoy the amazing flavor and taste of the manzanita juice. Click on the link for the recipe:
Manzanita juice is a 100% fruit juice that is refreshing, natural taste and a nutrient filled beverage. It is a well balanced juice providing vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C and folate. Remember that most of the berries are loaded with tannin which suckes all the moisture from your mouth and replaces it with a coating of felt hence do strain the juice with a fine sieve to get a clear fruit juice.