The Truth... What is it?

Blackberry Acid
(an old-timey bottled drink)

My  mother (born 1918 in Sumter, S. C.) remembers her grandmother making this drink. The following recipe came in a recent "Mayor Bubba" e-mail.

From a "Google search": "Blackberry pie is almost as good as blackberry wine, but don't tell my Mississippi teetotaler mama. My uncle used to make blackberry wine as an experiment, a valid summer activity for a high school science teacher. Only he called it "Blackberry Acid" so as not to offend my mama." So, let me be clear that what follows is not blackberry wine!

Recipe #1:

"This recipe for Blackberry acid comes from The North Carolina and Old Salem Cookery, by Elizabeth Hedgecock Sparks (Beth Tartan). My two great aunts, Misses Louie and Ellie Siddall, who came to Sumter, S. C. from Salem, made Blackberry Acid every spring to serve at their  piano students' recital in May. It   makes quite a refreshing drink. Their recipe was the same as this one." (Fran Siddall Gilkerson):

  •  sprinkle 5 ounces tartaric acid over
  • 12 pounds of black berries and
  • add 1 gallon of water & let stand 48 hours
  • then strain without mashing berries
  • to each pint of resulting juice add 1 pound of sugar
  • stir well and then bottle as a concentrate
  • later, when ready to serve, dilute 1/4 cup of juice to 3/4 cup water & serve cold.


Recipe #2:

From on-line Vegetarian Times, July-August 2004:

Look for tartaric acid--a naturally occurring compound--at baking supply or home-brewing supply stores and some health food stores. Without tartaric acid, this "acid" becomes a syrup. Use this blackberry acid in wine spritzers and iced beverages such as lemonade. Makes about 10 cups & serves 40.

5 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
6 cups bottled spring water
1 heaping Tbs, tartaric acid
6 cups granulated sugar, or to taste

1. Put berries in a heat-resistant, nonreactive
container. Bring water to a boil in a
large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in
tartaric acid, and pour mixture over berries.
Allow to cool. Cover, and let rest overnight.

2. Strain berries, pressing only very gently,
and discard berries. Pour liquid into a
saucepan, and add sugar.

3. Heat and stir over very low heat until
sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and
cool acid. Store in refrigerator for 1 week
before using.

4. To serve, pour 2 ounces or more of
blackberry acid over crushed ice in a glass,
and fill with still or sparkling water.


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(posted 10 June 2005)