Juneteenth and Jubilee Soda
*Written by vegan celebrity chef, green living advocate and BFC Sustainable Agriculture team member Elijah Joy*
Hello my People! Let’s talk Juneteenth…
An internationally recognized day of observance, Juneteenth (June 19th, abbreviated), commemorates the day that presumably the last slaves in America were freed with the reading of The Emancipation by General Gordon Granger to enslaved residents of Galveston, Texas in 1865. Some historical texts have also noted that Juneteenth was originally known as the “Day of Jubilee” or “Jubilee Day”.
Scholars are now discussing or challenging this prevailing view and some are rewriting the
narrative to include the fact that as many as 12 additional states included counties where slavery was still practiced in the US. But for time and tradition’s sake, I will leave you to research on your own.
In my own examination of traditional foods eaten during these celebrations, I discovered that “strawberry soda” was very much a part of the foodways of my ancestors on this day in history. Given the agrarian ways of early America and African-Americans, it makes sense. Here at the Bread for the City Orchard, the bounty of our rich strawberries harvest overfloweth. So, it definitely makes sense to produce a libation that honors this very foodways tradition for our observance of this day in African American history.
In honor of this day that has emphasized education and achievement, I have designed a strawberry soda with the organic strawberries from our City Orchard. The subtle flavoring is induced by adding our own organic herbs.
I hope this recipe will inspire you to create a space to celebrate and honor our African-American ancestors — including the unsung Black soldiers who fought with the Union in the Civil War.
Please make the FoodWays Strawberry Soda recipe your own and know that the fight for freedom and justice for all continues.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups fresh strawberries – diced or quartered
- 3-5 sprigs of fresh herbs i.e., basil or mint (optional)
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup sparkling water
Directions: In a small saucepan, bring the strawberries, water, orange juice and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to simmer for 1 – 2 hours to reduce the mixture to a thick syrup.syrup. Cool, store in airtight container like a Mason Jar and place in the refrigerator.
For the Jubilee Soda, mix 1 part Strawberry syrup and 3 parts Soda or Sparking Water over Ice. Garnish with Strawberries, Basil or Mint. Create the desired sweetness to your own taste buds and enjoy!