Very Berry Cordial

Verry Cordial1 tblsp. dried rose hips – crushed
10 oz. bag frozen blackberries – thawed
1 tblsp. dried gogi berries – crushed
4 tblsp. dried currants
6 oz. fresh raspberries
3 oz. fresh blueberries
1 large double sized basket of fresh strawberries
10 oz. fresh cherries

Wash fresh fruit.

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon glass jar.

Cover fruit with brandy.

Let sit, in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month. (For this batch, I let the concoction sit for 2 months.)

Check it periodically and add more brandy as needed to keep the fruit submerged.

After the waiting period, pour the contents of the jar through a cheesecloth that is several layers thick. (I fold the cloth two or three times and secure it over a large measuring cup with a rubber-band. The goal is to strain out all of the solids.)

Carefully and gently squeeze the fruit within the cloth to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

Once you have the liquid strained, measure how much you have.  Divide that number in half. This is how much sweetener you will add…give or take.

I had a little over 8 cups of decanted liquid.

I added 5 cups of honey – but could have added one more cup if I wanted it just a little bit sweeter.  Taste test for sweetness levels.

The final step is to add 40 drops of food-grade lemon essential oil. Taste test for desired result.

 

Cordials made with fresh fruit should last for up to a year. The high alcohol content acts as a preserver.

Enjoy and Toast to your good health and happy taste buds!

 

A Missed Onesalzburg-708762_640

We happened upon the shop in Salzburg toward the end of the day.

“Look!” We said, seeing the silly crow figures in the window. It was the same artist who had several pieces hanging in the apartment where we were staying.

We entered and chatted with Michael Ferner for a while. After telling us a few background stories about his art, the conversation led to his newest project – partnering with a local brewer to create a drink that features one of his fanciful crows on the label.

We bought several tiny sample bottles and a few small pieces of his work.

Back at our apartment, we cracked open one of the bottles to sample it. It was like drinking a bite of pie! It burst with sweet, fruity flavors and was highlighted by hints of lemon.

The train that we had to catch the following day was scheduled to leave early – before the shops would open. Thinking fast, my travel partner jogged several blocks back to Michael’s shop to buy a much larger bottle of the special drink.

I regretted not doing the same. Especially later, when I found out how much overseas shipping charges were going to be!

Fortunately, I was able to turn to one of my favorite food preparation staples. The Herbal Kitchen, Kami McBride

By following Kami’s basic cordial preparation instructions and using the fruits that I thought would work, I was able to get very close to that delicious flavor that I remembered.

**The amount of honey and the addition of lemon essential oil at the end makes all the difference.

Best of all, there is still enough time to make another batch before Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple (or other fruit) Cider Vinegar

I LOVE it when I can work in my kitchen preparing one thing…and have numerous other things going on at the same time. This one utilizes scraps from ‘other things going on.’

apples

Apples or other tart fruit scraps

1 cup honey per gallon of water

Open glass or crock container

Towels or cloth for covering

Time…

Chop apples into chunks (or use scraps from pie making)

Add honey – stir to mix well

Put a glass plate on top with a weight to make sure all fruit is submergedapples in bowl

Cover with towels (the towels are to keep out fruit flies *see fruit fly trap below) or use a rubber band to tightly tie down a cloth around the opening of the container.

Place in dark spot on counter or in pantry for a month or more…taste occasionally till it’s reached the desired strength
Note: a white ‘fermenting’ scum will appear on the top [this is normal]…scoop it off if you wish…or scoot it aside for taste testing

Strain out fruit

Put liquid in a glass jar with a lid

The 'floaties' are a good thing....it's what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar 'mother.'

The ‘floaties’ are a good thing….it’s what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar ‘mother.’

Let it sit another 6 weeks – Voila! It’s Vinegar!jar

Lisa’s Notes:

Like many cooks before me, I have to test my results before sharing a recipe.gift bottles

I experimented with different sugars; concluding that I like honey the best. I tried different sitting times; deducing that a stronger taste will result from a longer sit – but also that the type of fruit used, air temperature, and the time of year that you make it will also have an effect. Which boils it down to – the taste will tell you when it’s done.

Fruit Fly Trap – In an open dish on your counter, place vinegar, liquid dish soap and a piece of fruit that sticks up over the liquid

Additional Resources: 

From The White House Cookbook 1887  – Digitized – Michigan State University Library

“Apple Vinegar (economical and good)
Have an earthen jar ready for use. Into this put your apple peelings and cores if good. Cover generously with water. Cover the jar tight, and let stand in cool place. Every day parings may be added, putting on more water each time. When cold tea is left, pour into this jar and also add molasses to the proportion of a cup to a gallon of water. In the course of two or three weeks you will have an excellent vinegar made of nothing. When ready to use, strain through cheese cloth and stand away. This has been tried with good results, and with a little thought economical housekeepers can make enough in one summer to last all winter. ”

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores – Mother Earth News

How to Make Homemade Vinegar – Mother Earth News

Creating Homemade Fruit Vinegars – Mother Earth News

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar

http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-history.html

Canned Apricots – Grandma & Jeanette

Wash fresh, firm apricots.apricots

Cut in half and place cut side down in clean, scalded glass quart mason jars.

Drop in 1 or two pits for better flavor.

Pack firmly but not beyond shoulder of jar.

Cover fruit with boiling, light syrup made from 9 cups water to 2&1/4 cups sugar.

Leave 1/2 inch headroom (space between top of liquid and top of jar).

Place scalded lids on jars and hand-tighten screw lids. Do not over-tighten.

Process 7 jars at a time in boiling water-bath canner for 30 minutes, keeping at least 1 inch of boiling water above jar tops.

Carefully lift jars out of canner with jar-lifter and set on towel on counter to drain and cool.

Lids should pop closed as they cool. If not, the seal is not good, so refrigerate and eat soon. These will store well for months if kept in a cool, dark place.

Remembrance:

Jeanette (3rd Daughter, child #5):
This was a case where the littlest people had the advantage when filling jars. Mom used narrow-mouthed jars so when a half apricot was dropped in, it often bounced and flipped over. A small hand could fit inside and flip them over – skin-side up – so they would look pretty in the jar.

jacob schmidt 1881jacob schmidt senior - grandma's great grandfather