Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sima - a Finnish Spring Mead

Sometime ago a friend told us about a special drink her son had made - a fizzy, lemon drink.  I knew E would be interested because he loves anything lemon, enjoys being able to make things himself and anything fizzy is an unusual treat around here.  The friend was kind enough to share her recipe and I tucked it away in E's folder and the months went by.
Then on Saturday I was looking through a library book - Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style - and saw a Swedish drink called Mead  that looked and sounded very much like the Sima that our friend  had let us sample.  I found her Sima recipe again and sure was very similar. 
I told E about it Sunday morning and he decided that we Must make it Now!  So after our walk in the woods we stopped at our neighbourhood shop to get some lemons and sugar and came home to make it.
E boiled the water and added the sugar, lemon rind  and lemon juice then left it to cool a bit.  Once it was cooled to the right temperature he added a bit of yeast and then we left it overnight.

The next day we bottled it with a few raisins in each bottle - meant to tell us when it was ready by floating to the top of each bottle...I do love a clear indication of things going well!!
Then the next day E checked on them and two of the bottles had raisins floating and tiny bubbles in the neck.  He was thrilled.  Of course, he had to sample immediately...and was delighted. 
The other bottles are in the fridge and I have a feeling they won't last long. ;-)  He wants to make this regularly and I'm hoping he will make it for May day as the start of a new tradition.  We've read that Sima is a traditional May Day drink in Finland and who doesn't like a special drink to celebrate Beltane - the renewal of nature and the beginning of the bright half of the year? 
Speaking of that  "bright" half of the year, rather than waiting patiently for it to bring us blooms, I decided to "force" the issue and bring in some Forsythia to force.  The branches of yellow flowers bring a bit of cheer to our living space!

Edited to add recipe -
Here is the recipe from our friend - we actually used two lemons and, after removing the zest from them, instead of slicing them we juiced them so that we wouldn't have to bother removing the white pith.  You can see another similar recipe and directions here.

1 lemon

5 liters water

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. yeast

additional granulated sugar and raisins

Remove zest from lemon and place in a large non-aluminum pot. Slice the lemon and set aside. Add the water and sugars to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugars dissolve. Remove from heat, cover and cool to 110 degrees F. Stir in lemon slices and yeast. Cover and let stand at room temperature until the next day. Bubbles should appear. Strain through a sieve and fill five 1 liter bottles. Add 1 tsp. sugar to each bottle and 2 raisins. Seal and store in a cool place until raisins rise to the surface (2-4 days), Chill until ready to serve.


Misty Pratt said...

Yum!! Are you willing to share the recipe?

cathy@home said...

Funny thing I was just talking with my DH about making some of this, as he started a ginger beer plant today.
I would love the recipe.

The Finicky Farmer said...

Hooray for yellow! Sima sounds delish and tempting...I'm always relieved to have external indicators (e.g., raisins), rather than simply my sense of taste or smell, that suggest all is well.

W-S Wanderings said...

Oh, oh! I can't contain my excitment here. As Finns, we often made sima at home when I was a child, and I've been entertaining thoughts of trying my hand at it now, as an adult. While I can still get my mother's recipe. I MUST DO THIS TOO! Thank you so much for the inspiration :-)

becky3086 said...

I would love to have the recipe as well.

Heather said...

Hi Misty and Becky, I've added the recipe from our friend as well as a link to a similar one (with photo). Hope that helps.

Erin said...

Heather, this looks like some science and living skills for my boys' week! ;-)I very much want to try this. Does the second amount of white sugar you listed come to 1/2 cup also? like the brown sugar above?

Thanks! And I don't think we can wait til MayDay.

Heather said...

Hi Erin. Yes, great science-y learning. ;-) The raisins swell as they absorb carbon dioxide and then float to the top.

You put the 1/2 of each sugar in the pot when you are making it and then the additional amount (at the bottom of recipe) is only 1 tsp per bottle that you put directly into the bottle with the raisins when you are bottling it. So the additional amount ends up being 5 tsp because it makes 5 litres (1 tsp per bottle). Clear as mud? ;-)

Next time E wants to try add oranges or lime and I want to try a lemon ginger one - perhaps not traditional but yummy, we're thinkin'.

erin said...

back again ;-)

could i use 750 ml bottles do you suppose?

i have some french lemonade ones i've been saving that are 750ml...?



Heather said...

I'm sure that will be fine, Erin (but then I always say that about everything - bah...measure, smeasure!!). ;-)
Glad you're trying it, it really was delicious and refreshing - not overly sweet, just nice. E wants to make it often in the summertime.