Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

New Age Church Punch by Nicole A. Taylor

New Age Church Punch by Nicole Taylor of and author of “The Up South Cookbook.” Photo Credit By Noah Fecks

Story and Recipe By Nicole Taylor of Food Culturist and author of The Up South Cookbook.

Punch bowls remind me of togetherness. The gorgeous etched vessels are a symbol of unity. When I feel like having “church” or gathering folks, I pull out my mid-century centerpiece (a gift from Dr. Jessica B. Harris, author of A Kwanzaa Keepsake) and celebrate. On the first day of Kwanzaa, I’ll be toasting boundless named and unnamed culinary creatives.

Umoja — To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Let us uplift our brothers and sisters–all over the diaspora.
Let us build on the foundation and roadmap laid out by our ancestors.
Let us remember our greatness in every endeavor.

New Age Church Punch
Pours 16

2 cups roasted pineapple juice (from about one 2-pound whole pineapple)
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
8 cups boiling water
2 cups hibiscus leaves
1-¾ cups granulated sugar
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1-½ cups white rum (optional)
4-½ cups ginger beer, or 36 ounces
3 scoops lime sorbet, all fruit or low sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut the top and bottom of pineapple. Next, sit the fruit upright and cut down the sides. Flip the pineapple on its side cut in half. (It’s ok to use canned pineapples. If so, please purchase sliced variety in 100% juice and reserve liquid).

Cut into ½-inch round slices. Sprinkle pineapple slices with salt, ginger, and brown sugar. Place slices on parchment paper or silpat (nonstick baking mat) on baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 25 minutes.

Transfer pineapple slices to Vitamix or food processor, pulse until liquid is loose and foamy. The fragrance will be bright. Set aside.

Place water in a large stockpot, over medium-high heat. After coming to a boiling, drop in hibiscus leaves. Most specialty market or online stores will carry hibiscus (I don’t recommend hibiscus tea as a substitution here). Cover and let brew for 10 minutes.

Stir in sugar and turn off heat. Let completely cool. Remove leaves.

Add lime juice, pineapple juice, rum, and ginger beer. Stir well. Transfer to punch bowl.

Place scoops of lime sorbet in punch bowl, if desired. The mixture will slightly foam. The sorbet will make the punch a tad sweeter.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen by Nicole A. Taylor, The Countryman Press, 2015.

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2015 by in 2015, Recipe, Umoja and tagged , , , , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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