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Squash (sometimes known as cordial in British English, dilute in Hiberno English, and diluting juice in Scottish English) is a non-alcoholic concentrated syrup used in beverage making. It is usually fruit-flavoured, made from fruit juice, water, and sugar or a sugar substitute. Modern squashes may also contain food colouring and additional flavouring. Some traditional squashes contain herbal extracts, most notably elderflower and ginger.
Squash is mixed with a certain amount of water or carbonated water before drinking. The amount of water added is to taste, with the squash becoming less strong the more it is diluted. As a drink mixer, it may be combined with an alcoholic beverage to prepare a cocktail.
Traditional squashes in Britain are usually flavoured with ginger, chokeberries (often with spices added), elderflower, and sometimes orange or lemon, raspberry or blackberry in Eastern Europe, and currants in the Low Countries.
Squash is prepared by combining one part concentrate with four or five parts water (carbonated or still). Double-strength squash and traditional cordials, which are thicker, are made with nine parts water to one part concentrate. Some squash concentrates are quite weak, and these are sometimes mixed with one part concentrate and two or three parts water.
Most cordials and squashes contain preservatives such as potassium sorbate or (in traditional cordials) sulphites, as they are designed to be stored on shelves. They keep well because of the preservatives and their high sugar content. Nonetheless, some choose to store their squash in refrigerators.
Ingredients in squashes and cordials have evolved over the years. A traditional cordial contains three ingredients: sugar, juice or plant extract and some water. Usually it can contain an acidifier such as citric acid or in very old-fashioned cordials lemon juice, or even spices such as cinnamon or cloves. Recreations of these traditional preparations often contain a preservative especially sulphur dioxide, although sugar alone will keep it fresh for quite a long time. Modern squash drinks are generally more complex and sugar free squash even more so; the ingredients are usually water, sweetener such as aspartame or sodium saccharin, juice in a low quantity (typically 5–10 percent), large quantities of flavouring, preservatives and sometimes a colour such as anthocyanin. In the middle are ordinary squashes, which contain sugar, water, a larger amount of juice, preservatives, colouring such as anthocyanin and often a small amount of flavouring. Although colours such as Allura Red AC and Sunset Yellow FCF are occasionally used in squash, most modern British companies are gradually aiming to use natural colours such as beta carotene or anthocyanins, and natural flavourings.
Traditional squashes may be flavoured with elderflowers, lemon, pomegranate, apple, strawberry, chokeberry (often with spices such as cinnamon or cloves added), orange, pear, or raspberry.
Modern squashes usually have simpler flavours, such as orange, apple, summer fruit (mixed berries), blackcurrant, apple and blackcurrant, peach, pineapple, mango, lime, or lemon.
"Cordial", "diluting juice", and "squash" are similar products, although the products known as cordials tend to be thicker and stronger, requiring less syrup and more water to be blended. In British English, "cordial" refers to a sweet fruit-flavoured drink (as different from a syrup). High juice is a type that contains a larger amount of juice, around 45%.
Squash is often colloquially known as "juice". However this term is a misnomer; no squash is pure juice. Squashes are commonly called according to the fruit from which they are made. More rarely, they may be called "fruit drink", especially if they are ready-diluted in a plastic bottle or paper carton (e.g., Fruit Shoot).
Fruit juice content
Squashes are measured by their juice content, the average being 30%. A variety of squash that contains a larger amount of fruit juice, up to half or more of the volume in juice, is sold in markets as high juice, and squashes are quite often called "juice" when talking to children, especially these high-juice beverages, although this may be confusing. However, many squashes contain less than 20% juice, and some as little as 5-10%. The latter are typically low in nutritional value, and the high juice versions are reasonably higher in nutrients, although one downside is that it is high in sugar and does not contain fibre or minor nutrients. That goes with almost all squashes. A low juice squash may state "with real fruit juice" on the label.
Squashes labelled "no added sugar" are artificially sweetened, usually with aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin or sucralose, which is much cheaper for the manufacturers than both HFCS and natural sugar. They are very low in calories, sometimes having as few as 4 per 100ml diluted, and they are marketed towards families seeking low calorie alternatives. They tend to be very low in fruit juice, as fruit juice contains natural sugars, so they usually also contain natural or artificial flavourings (isoamyl acetate for pear or banana, or mixed with malic acid to make an apple-like flavour, ethyl methylphenylglycidate for strawberry, octyl acetate for orange, allyl hexanoate for pineapple etc.) to make up for the lack of fruit juice taste.
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Notable companies producing squash include Britvic (under the Robinsons, MiWadi and Teisseire brands), Hamdard (under the Rooh Afza brand in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), Nichols (under the Vimto brand), Suntory (under the Ribena brand) and Coca-Cola (under the Kia-Ora brand). Australian brands include Cottee's, Bickford's, P&N Beverages and Golden Circle cordials. Indian brands include Kissan and Rasna. In Israel, fruit squashes are produced by such companies as Prigat.
The gorillas at London Zoo are given both squash and cold fruit tea to drink. When a silverback called Kumbuka escaped from his enclosure in 2016, he drank five litres (8.8 imperial pints) of undiluted blackcurrant squash that was in the keepers' area.
- Cordial (medicine)
- Drink mix
- Elderflower cordial
- Fruit syrup
- List of syrups
- Nectar (drink)
- Shrub (drink)
- Temperance bar
- "Dictionary of the Scots Language:: SND :: sndns1181". Retrieved 2019-10-13.
- Handbook of Nutrition and Diet. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- "cordial - Definition of cordial in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.
- Who, What Why (2016-10-20). "What happens if you drink five litres of undiluted squash?". Magazine. BBC News.