It’s blackberry season on my farm, and at the same time, the garden is exploding! I’ve made some jelly and put some things in the refrigerator but I like to get creative with this job wherever I can.
I recently wrote about liqueurs that owe their flavoring to herbs. Many of you wrote in that you’d like to see some recipes so this week I thought I would share some of the ones I’m using this year for harvest season.
NOTE: All of these recipes require at least one month before you can enjoy the finished product. Plan accordingly.
Blackberry Basil Liqueur
- 4 cups blackberries
- zest of one lemon
- one large handful of basil
- 3 cups vodka
- Place berries in a large jar and slightly crush with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and tightly secure the lid. Allow to sit for three months in a cool, dark place, shaking occasionally.
- At the end of three months, strain your liqueur through a jelly bag. (Find unbleached jelly bags here.) Squeeze to get all the juice out of the blackberries.
- Add 1 cup of sugar syrup (1 cup sugar heated with 1 cup water, then cooled). Stir to combine.
- Allow this mixture to mellow 4-6 weeks before drinking.
The next fruit I’ll have to work with will be our pears. I suspect they might be ripe in the next week or so. After I make a few pear pies, I will be looking for something else to do with them. Here’s the recipe I’ve put together for some creative preservation:
- ½ pound ripe pears
- 2 apples – peels only
- 1 Tbsp chopped lemon thyme
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice
- 1½ cups brandy
- Cut up the pears (with their peels) and put them in a large jar with all the dry ingredients. Add the brandy and make sure that it covers everything.
- Allow to soak for 2 weeks in a cool, dark area. Shake often to keep everything mixed. Strain when complete and re-bottle.
- Allow this to mellow for 2-4 weeks before enjoying.
You-Choose Herbal Liqueur
After all that, I’ll still have herbs that I need to use. Here’s a quick fill-in-the-blank recipe for your different varieties of herbs:
- 3 Tbsp of herb mixture – use 3 fresh or 6 dried varieties of herbs
- zest of half of one small citrus fruit of your choice
- 3 cups vodka
- 1 cup simple syrup
- Blend your herbs and citrus with the vodka and secure a lid. Allow to soak for 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking occasionally.
- Strain and add simple syrup to your taste.
- Rebottle and allow to mellow for 2-4 weeks before drinking.
Putting up garden produce, while it may still involve the simplicity of canning jars, does not have to be boring. What are you storing away from summer’s bounty for winter’s enjoyment?