Ayran is a refreshing fermented diary drink made of yoghurt substance. This slightly fizzy sourish drink is a great thirst quencher.
It has made its way to Russia either from Turkic countries such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan or from the North Caucasus countries such as Armenia, where this drink is also very popular.
Ayran can give you an energy boost and revive you on a sweltering day. Try it and discover for yourself.
Another similar drink is tan.
Kvass is a traditional Russian fermented beverage made from rye bread. Having been popular for many centuries, since Soviet times it became associated with yellow trailers selling it in hot summer days.
It is indeed a perfect refreshing drink when it’s hot outside being not too sweet and not too savoury. There is a small percentage of alcohol in kvass (0,5 – 0,8 per cent).
These days kvass is also manufactured and sold in plastic bottles and the growth of this market is leaping ahead of other beverages, especially in hot summer days. Despite the popularity of mass production, some people in search of “old good traditional kvass” brew the beverage at home which is quite easy using fermentation starter called “zakvaska”.
There are two types of kvass: normal drinking kvass, somewhat sweeter, and more savoury okroshka kvass. The latter is used for the cold soup “okroshka”.
Gift of Nature to boost your health
ROSE HIPS TEA
Rose hips tea (shipovnik tea) is very popular in Russia for its refreshing taste and health benefits. It is especially popular during winter times to boost up immune system and not to fall a victim of a cold.
WHY IS ROSE HIPS TEA GOOD FOR YOU
Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, it is one of the richest plant sources available. This is where the tangy taste comes from and this is why this tea is perfect to strengthen your immune system.
Rose hips also contain vitamins A and B, essential fatty acids and have antioxidant properties.
HOW TO MAKE ROSE HIPS TEA
Making shipovnik tea is very easy. All you need is dried rose hips (you can get them in Russian food stores), a vacuum flask, water and some time for the tea to brew. Mind that this is not an instant drink and infusing this will take about 7 hours.
Rinse a handful of rose hips, put into the vacuum flask and cover with boiled water. Infuse over night or for at least 7 hours, after which you can enjoy this healthy organic drink.
You can sweeten this tea with honey.
Other Russian health boosting products:
Similar to cranberries, lingonberries (Rus. brusnika) are quite tart on their own, but mashed with sugar or honey they can be a great component for various drinks, smoothies, sauces or jams. The resulting taste is an intricate balance between sweet and sharp and can accompany both desserts or game or poulty dishes.
Lingonberries (Rus. Брусника, “brusnika”) are known under many names (foxberry, cowberry, mountain cranberry, in German – Preiselbeere, in Dutch – rode bosbes). These berries are popular in many countries, especially Nordic and Baltic countries, where people know the health benefits and great nutritional properties of those berries, often collected in the wild. According to Wikipedia“ the berries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), and the elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition to these nutrients, they also contain phytochemicals that are thought to counteract urinary-tract infections, and the seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.” That explains why these berries are commonly used in folk medicine.
You can keep the pack of lingonberries in your freezer and quickly thaw the desired amount of these berries by just pouring some warm water over them for a few minutes. Mash and mix with sugar and a quick jam full of goodness is ready to be served with your porridge, pancakes and other desserts.
<p>Another product you can get from these berries is a traditional Russian soft drink “Lingonberry water” (брусничная вода). Here’s the quick recipe:</p>
Lingoberries – 400 g
Boiled water – 2 litres
Honey – 2 tbs
Clove – 1
Thaw and wash the berries, remove any leaves. Boil the water, when it’s still hot add the honey, stir to melt, and let it cool. Add the clove and the berries and leave the mix to infuse for 2 weeks in a dark place, and then you can put it to the fridge. Once the drink has been consumed, you can reuse the berries, pouring water with honey and infusing it again.
This is not only a home-made organic substitute to lemonades and fizzy drinks full of sugar, additives and food dyes, but also a product full of vitamins and health benefits.
Another traditional Russian drink using lingonberries is “lingonberry mors” – one of the many morses, soft berry drinks.
Vegetable pastes are very popular in Russia, their high-scale production in the USSR started in 1930s and nowadays jars of various vegetable “caviars” can be found in every Russian shop.
Zucchini caviar is perhaps the most popular one.
It is a blended mixture of baked or boiled zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
Russian zucchini caviar is a low-calorie product (around 78 calories per 100 gram) and is full of goodness – vitamins B and C, carotene and dietary minerals.
This healthy product is very tasty and can be eaten as a bread spread or served as a side dish.
Another similar product is aubergine caviar.