Haymaker’s Switchel

How hot is it where you are?

So hot that, when you dig up potatoes, they’re already baked?

So hot that the hens are laying hard-boiled eggs?

So hot that the birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground?

No matter how you say it, it’s been darn hot here in Swoope and lots of other places lately, so I thought we all might benefit from a re-post of a recipe I put up last summer…

An old-timey version of Gatorade, this drink has been quenching our thirst lately on hot days. Three cheers once more for our friend apple cider vinegar – it gives this switchel a bright taste and brings along with it many added benefits. Did you know ACV aids with digestion, helps your body absorb minerals better, and even improves your skin? Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think!

Haymaker’s Switchel – taken from The Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis

1 cup sugar*
7 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 cups cold water

Mix all ingredients together in a large bottle or jar, and shake thoroughly. Refrigerate before drinking. Makes 2 quarts. *You can swap the sugar for honey or maple syrup, if you like. Just heat the switchel before pouring it in the jar so that the sweetener dissolves fully.

Feel free to contribute the phrase you use to describe how hot the weather’s been in the comments….and if you have any recipes to keep us cool, share those too!

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

11 Responses to Haymaker’s Switchel

  1. audio design says:

    I have never seen this kind of potatoes. These are looking just like lemon.

  2. Sandy says:

    It was so hot at the art show last weekend there were wiener dogs exploding in the parking lot!

    PS. Love, love, love my ‘take up your spade’ and seeds! Many thanks!! (been outta town working and no time to check in 🙁

  3. Annie says:

    Your recipe is very similar to one that Ma Ingalls used in the book “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie books. Pa and Laura were haying on a very hot day when Ma sent Carrie out to the field to bring them a crock of water to drink. The book reads: “Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day…..”

  4. Rob says:

    This is “Barney’s Switchel,” which is my favorite. “Haymaker’s Switchel” has molasses.

    • Brie Aronson says:

      You are right! Sorry about that. It was introduced to me originally as the Haymaker’s version and I just kept calling it that. Thanks for clarifying!

  5. Switchel sounds delicious, either your recipe or Ma Ingalls way. I make a lot of lemonade this time of year, but never tried adding apple cider vinegar or ginger. Looking forward to experimenting!

  6. D-Rob says:

    Haha this is great! I grew next to my family farm in rural Pa. I didnt have every day chores but spent alot of time in the barn. My only real jobs was hay season and maple syrup season. Hay season I was always stuck stacking in the Mow. It would get crazy hot in there and only thing that kept me upright was Switchel. Such a fun memory. I love that others experienced this beverage as well. I honestly thought it was an old family drink.

    I actually stumbled on your blog searching for a switchel recipe. Im heading home for Christmas and Im planning to make some of this freshness for my 91 year old Grampa. Yeah I know its not hot or even switchel-worthy weather but Im sure he hasnt had any in years and he will get a big kick out of it.

  7. Luke says:

    Been drinking switchel for most of my life, ours is a little different but everyone’s is. Wonderful drink and does the job in the fields.

  8. Sounds refreshing…maybe like lemonade with a twist. 🙂