Friday, 13 March 2015

Wild Blueberry Cordial - Part One

I am one lucky lady. At the cabin a few weekends ago my Dad's very thoughtful girlfriend Donna gifted me a ziplock bag full of wild Whiteshell blueberries she hand picked in summer and froze. Last year was a fantastic year for blueberries in our little corner of the Canadian Shield, but with the bumper crop of berries also came a mosquito invasion that made foraging unbearable. Knowing the effort that went into picking those berries made the gift just that much sweeter.

 I brain stormed for a few long weeks about how to honour the blueberries. Plans for pie, muffins or coffee cake crossed my mind. But booze is always the right answer. Cordial takes about two months to develop, so this batch will be ready just in time for Mother's Day and my Dad's birthday. Best way to ensure I will continue to get a cut of Dad's foraged bounty - turn it into booze and share it with him. It helps that last weekend Dave's Oma gave me a box full of stunning antique mason jars.

I considered actually making my own alcohol with the berries, by starting from scratch using yeast. But the risk of wasting the bounty on an experimental recipe freaked me out. Making a cordial using vodka is fool proof. I made a similar recipe last Christmas using over ripe blackberries and loved the results. This time to compliment the blueberries, and jump on the herbal cocktail band wagon, I'm trying one jar with mint and one with rosemary. This is a very loose recipe, you can use any fruit and flavours you can think of, and the ratios are far from strict.

Wild Blueberry Cordial

3 cups blueberries or other fruit
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups vodka (good way to use up ends of bottles)
herbs or flavours of your choice (I'm using mint and rosemary)

Separate berries into two quart size mason jars, or other containers that can be tightly sealed. 

Stuff in herbs. Cover with about 3/4 cup sugar per jar. 

Pour in vodka until all the fruit is covered and jar is nearly full.

Shake it up then set somewhere out of direct sunlight. In the first week shake a few times, turning upside down to disperse sugar, after a few days the sugar will dissolve. Over the next 7-10 weeks, shake about once per week, or whenever you feel like it.

Eight weeks from now I'll use a wire strainer to remove the solids and then funnel the cordial into pretty bottles to use as bribes, reserving the 40 proof fruit for ice-cream topping. 

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