Thursday, June 21, 2007

After a stint in the neighborhood market, I took a rest in the garden and had a glass of a drink that I believe is unique to Greece and Turkey: poppy sherbet. My garden produced an amazing overgrowth of poppies this year, and I found I could collect nearly a pound of petals a day during the height of bloom. The syrup (which can also be made into jelly) is made by boiling the petals with sugar, water and lemon juice. It's then strained and bottled. It's normally a laborious process as the black blotch at the base of poppy petals reportedly has thebaine in it, and it must be cut out. Luckily the strain in my garden has little or no black (something less than desirable from my own esthetic point of view but great for making poppy syrup!).

To make the drink, you just pour some of the syrup into a glass, add cold water and ice if you want, and stir. Its flavor is very difficult to describe; like beer, it's one of those things that seems to be perfect for hot summer days, when the slight bitterness is really refreshing.

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