There was a time, many years ago, when I only drank soda. Once in a while, when I was feeling like I wanted to be healthy, I'd drink juice too. But not juice juice--the kind of juice that's pink and refrigerated and has all sorts of flavors and colors in it, but actual fruit is about tenth on the list of ingredients. I didn't like the taste of water, so I didn't drink it. Ever.
Then I realized the ridiculous amount of empty calories in soda and I cut myself off cold turkey. No more! For several years, I stuck to this but now I drink it again once in a great while. You know how every so often, you just crave a brownie or a chocolate bar? That's how I feel about soda now. It's a treat! Not an everyday thing. I try to buy brands made with natural ingredients, but my favorite soda is homemade soda.
We have a SodaStream, which I love, but I'm not a big fan of the syrups, which are made with artificial sweeteners and taste off to me. So we use the SodaStream to carbonate water and I make my own syrups. Which sounds really intense, I know! And if you're rolling your eyes right now, I don't blame you! But making your own syrups is easy. It's just a matter of combining fruits, herbs, and spices with the right amount of sugar.
It's impossible to walk two feet at the farmers market and not bump into pints and pints of peaches right now. The farmers market peaches aren't as plump and perfect as the ones you buy at the store, but they always seem to be sweeter and at the peak of ripeness. I love adding an herbal note to syrups, so I added several sprigs of thyme too. You combine the peaches, sugar, and thyme and let them cook down until the peaches are soft and the liquid is thick, then you strain the mixture and hello Peach Thyme Syrup!
I like Italian sodas because they're not overly sweet, so I usually pour a little syrup at the bottom of a glass and then pour sparkling water on top. But this syrup can also be used to sweeten iced tea or lemonade instead of sugar! The recipe only makes about a cup of syrup, so if you're making a big batch of tea or lemonade (or if you like your drinks extra sweet), you might want to double the recipe.
- 3 large peaches pitted and diced (mine were about 20 ounces before dicing)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- A few sprigs of thyme
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Every few minutes, stir the pot with a wooden spoon and use it to smash the peaches a little bit. Strain the syrup into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Transfer the syrup to a bottle or jar and refrigerate for up to a week.