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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Re-Discovering an old traditional natural drink: SOCATA


Do you have any drink that reminds you of your childhood?
I grew up in Romania and during communism our shops’ shelves were pretty empty. We didn’t have Coca-Cola, thank God for this! But we’ve had a natural drink that anyone could prepare at home and which was delicious: SOCATA. I’ve never paid attention to how it was made but I remember it was our usual summer drink at home. 
Last week, my friend, Constantin, has been my guest at home. It was a beautiful sunny day so we were able to enjoy having lunch on the terrace. He suddenly told me: 
‘The flowers are ready for socata!’ 
‘Errr, socata?’, I asked as I was taken by surprise.
He then pointed to the back of my garden and I saw it: I’ve had plenty of flowers in the tree called ‘soc’ in Romanian, in English elder shrub or elderberry (while the scientific name is Sambucus nigra), which are used for my childhood’s favorite drink. 


After my friend left, I was still looking at the elder flowers,  trying to remember how the drink should be prepared. To be on the safe side, I looked on the internet and found a lot of quite similar recipes, all of them recommending as ingredients:
10-14 elder flowers
8-10 L water
sugar or honey (the quantity should be adapted to your taste: between 1-1,5 kg of sugar and 300-500 g of honey)
2-3 lemons. 
Other  recipes suggested the use of either yeast or rice grains to intensify the fermentation, while others mentioned additional spices such as saffran and ginger, mint or basil leaves, to give it a more special taste. 

So, I’ve decided to launch Operation: Socata!
Bellow you can discover the different phases I’m going through and my guests invited this Friday will get to taste this amazing traditional natural Romanian drink.
FYI, the elder flowers are highly appreciated in the traditional Romanian medicine. They are thought to have immunostimulant, detoxifying, anti-infectious properties and also great for respiratory and urinary disorders. 

I encourage you to try to prepare it as well, it’s super easy and could be of great help especially now during the Covid-19 time to stimulate and reinforce your immune system.  




The fermentation started already after a few hours

After you mixed the flowers, water, lemons and sugar or honey, we need to cover the recipient but while allowing it to breath and let it ferment for 2-4 days, depending on how acid you wish it to be.

After 2 days

Wonderful color after 4 days 

We can taste it every day and stop the fermentation when we’re happy with the taste. 
At that moment we filter the drink and transfer it to smaller bottles that we place in the fridge. We serve it cold with some mint within the next couple of days. If kept longer, a second fermentation shall start so we need to pay more attention when we open the bottles. Enjoy! 

Did you know ‘socata’? Did you ever prepare it yourself? 
Feel free to share in comments your pictures and tips. 

#wearewhatweeat 
#foodtosharewithlovedones

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