I remember drinking Robinson’s Barley Water squash as a child, so it is lovely to discover that this derives from an old-school drink.  This recipe is care of Rose Prince’s New English Kitchen, although I used some of my leftover sugar syrup from my homemade lemonade rather than sugar to sweeten.

Homemade Orange Barley Water

225g approx. pearl barley
2.5 litres water
6 oranges
2 lemons
sugar to taste (or sugar syrup)

Wash the barley well before putting it in a saucepan and covering with the water.

Bring to the boil, then lower to a gentle simmer and cook for up to an hour or until the barley is tender. (Note – I think I let mine cook too long and ended up with less leftover liquid than I think I should have).

Strain the barley over a dish to catch the barley water.  You can keep the cooked barley to use in another dish.  Leave the liquid to cool.

While the barley water is cooling, zest 3 of the oranges and 1 lemon.  Juice all of the fruit. 

When the barley water is cool stir in the zest and juice.  Add sugar or sugar syrup to taste – Rose Prince says it should not be too sweet.

Now I decided to strain the liquid to remove the zest – I let it sit a while first – as we didn’t fancy ‘bits’ in our barley water.  It was also unclear from the recipe whether you should dilute the barley water, so we did to taste.

Rose Prince says it will keep for a day or two in the fridge – ours didn’t last out the day, it was too delicious and refreshing!

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