July 31, 2014

Yield: About 1 pint

Materials/Ingredients:

·        Quart jar with lid

·        Strainer or fine sieve

·        Funnel

·        Paper towels or coffee filters

·        Decorative, resealable bottles

·        1 cup sugar

·        1 quart berries

·        1 quart vodka

Preparation:

Rinse the fruit immediately prior to use, no earlier. Moisture can cause mold to form on the fruit, and although high-proof alcohol has antibacterial properties, the moldy flavor can be imparted to the liqueur. Pour the sugar into a quart jar. Fill the remainder of the jar with the fruit, being careful not to pack it down or squish it. Fill the jar with vodka so that the fruit is completely covered and then seal the jar with a lid. I gently roll the jar around a bit to mix the sugar and make sure it is evenly moistened. It will settle to the bottom again until it fully dissolves. Let the jar sit for two months in a cool, dark spot, such as a basement or pantry closet, gently shaking or turning it about once a week to mix the ingredients. The sugar will slowly dissolve, and the berries will release some of their color into the liquid. At the end of the two months, strain the fruit in a mesh strainer or fine sieve, reserving the liquid. You can serve the fruit in small quantities over ice cream or pound cake, or you can squeeze or press it to get more of the liquid out (be forewarned: if you do this, there will be more residue to filter out). Pour the reserved liquid through a finer filter—coffee filters or a paper towel in a funnel will work. This step takes a long time, and you may have to change the filter once or twice when it stops letting the liquid through. If you skip this step, you will see residue form on the bottom when the cordial is bottled. If you’d prefer, you can decant the clear uppermost liquid and pour just the sludgy parts through a filter. A crystal-clear, beautiful cordial is the goal.

Store in bottle with works or stoppers. Because the cordials take on the beautiful fruit colors, you can display them in decorative bottles. To give one as a gift, make a nice label or wrap raffia around the neck of the bottle and attach a tag. Depending on the bottle, you might even be able to dip the closed top in wax for an attractive seal similar to that on a fine Madeira or port.

This article was excerpted with permission from the book Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space, and Stuff, copyright 2014, I-5 Publishing, LLC. For more budget-friendly and environmentally conscience projects and recipes, pick up a copy today!


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