Beverages, Canning, condiment, Desserts, Recipes

Berry Recipes

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It is berry season for all those berries that grow on canes.  I have raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, and Loganberries in the garden, and they bear in that order.  The raspberries are almost finished (until fall, when another variety will start to bear), the boysenberries also are nearly done, and the blackberries are just getting started.  Loganberries will start ripening in mid-to-late August.

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I’ve posted berry recipes before, but I’m gathering the links together for you, so you can more easily find what you might be looking for.  In some cases, you might have to scroll down (or read down) to find the recipe at the end of a post.

Blackberry Cordial and Syrup

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I just made a batch of blackberry cordial and a batch of mixed berry cordial (Logan berries, raspberries, boysenberries, and blackberries), and the mixed berry cordial is delicious.  This recipe will work with any berry juice.

Raspberry Cordial, Jam, Vinegar

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And a reason to make blackberry jam or jelly, Blackberry and Wine Poached Pears

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And a recipe to use your berry-infused vinegar in, Berry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

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And finally, since I just made a different version of blackberry syrup, I’m going to post the recipe here, with a few notes.

Blackberry Syrup

4 cups of blackberry juice

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of agave nectar/syrup

Simmer the blackberry juice and sugar together for 8 minutes, then add the agave nectar and boil for 2 more minutes.  Keep at a low simmer while ladling into hot, sterilized jars (pints, quarts, or half-pints) and add flats and rings.  Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

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Note:  My old syrup recipe, in the first link above, called for light corn syrup, a cup.  This recipe makes delicious pancake syrup (or it can be used in cocktails or spritzers), but with the concerns about corn syrup today, I went looking for a new recipe.  I found the one above that uses agave nectar, one cup, and it’s really good.  However, when I compared calorie and sugars numbers between corn syrup and agave, I was somewhat surprised.  Light corn syrup contains 5 grams of sugars per tablespoon and 15 grams of carbohydrates.  Agave nectar contains 16 grams of sugars and 16 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon.  Of course, corn syrup is problematic for other reasons, but if you’re just counting calories, it’s a bit of surprise that the syrup made with corn syrup has fewer calories than the one made with agave nectar.

The choice is yours:  both recipes make an excellent syrup for pancakes, cocktails and spritzers, or to drizzle over ice cream sundaes or mix up in a milk shake, or stir into some thick Greek yogurt . . . . What would you put it on?

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condiment, Fermenting, Recipes, Uncategorized

Berry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing for Spring Greens

I love those fresh greens from my garden and greenhouse:  spinach, lettuce, kale.  I’m picking them now, a little late because I didn’t have my usual volunteers (I’m blaming the drought for that) and because my surgeries kept me from getting into the garden and greenhouse as early as I usually am in spring.

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But now it’s time for fresh salad, and to go with those lovely, fresh spring greens, you need a special salad dressing.  I have one.

Some years ago (2013 to be exact), I made some raspberry- and blackberry-infused vinegars from my own homemade apple scrap vinegar and the pulp from my jam making.  I must say, those vinegars turned out beautifully, but I have not used them as much as I thought I would, so I still have some in the fridge, two years old but as delicious now as when I made them.  So to honor my fresh spring greens, I dug up my recipe for berry vinaigrette salad dressing.  Last time I wrote about this, I used my raspberry-infused vinegar, but this time, I used the blackberry-infused vinegar.  And all I can say is:  WOW!  Here is the recipe, with links to instructions for making your own infused vinegars.  I hope you will try this recipe, because I know you’ll enjoy it.

Raspberry or Blackberry Vinaigrette with Chia Seeds

(makes about ¾ cup)

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of minced onion (I like red onion in this)

¼ cup raspberry-infused vinegar or blackberry-infused vinegar

2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup

½ teaspoon dry, powdered mustard or prepared Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons chia seeds

 

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor (if using food processor, you can mince the onions with it) or with a whisk in a bowl. The mustard will help to emulsify the dressing, but it will separate slightly, so it should be shaken well before using. If you like a sweeter dressing, add more honey or agave one teaspoon at a time until the sweetness level is right for your taste buds.

Now, if you don’t have any raspberry-infused vinegar, and don’t want to make it, for whatever reason, you can make this dressing without it. Simply substitute white wine vinegar or even rice vinegar for the raspberry-infused vinegar, and for the honey or agave, substitute raspberry jam or preserves. Again, taste your dressing to see if you’d like it sweeter. My version isn’t very sweet, as I don’t happen to care for sweet salad dressings.

Update:  When I started looking for recipes for raspberry vinaigrette salad dressings, I noticed that they all contained poppy seeds.  I have nothing against poppy seeds, but I don’t keep them in my kitchen.  However, I do have chia seeds on hand and am working on ways to incorporate them into more dishes (oatmeal and puddings, for example).  So I thought, why not?  At the time I decided to put chia seeds into this vinaigrette recipe, I didn’t know that chia seeds release a substance that thickens liquids.  This actually makes them perfect for a salad dressing, because they keep the dressing thick and emulsified.  In other words, they give the mustard, the traditional emulsifier for dressing (emulsification, put simply, is the smooth mixture of fats and liquids) a helping hand. This salad dressing won’t separate on you the way most vinaigrettes do.  And the chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, good for your heart and other body parts, so it’s all to the good to incorporate them into as many dishes as you can.

Eat your spring greens with some delicious berry vinaigrette dressing with chia seeds.  It’s all good for you!

 

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Beverages, Canning, condiment, Recipes

Raspberries: Cordial, Jam, Vinegar

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Have you ever heard that expression “to warm the cockles of the heart”?  I don’t know where I first ran across it, but I suspect it was in Little Women, one of my favorite books as a child and still a favorite.  I have something to warm the cockles of your heart this winter (whatever cockles are or wherever they are—this stuff is sure to warm them), and it’s not hard to make:  raspberry cordial.

Some time ago, I posted an old recipe for blackberry cordial, which is a wonderful, mildly-alcoholic beverage appropriate for an aperitif or dessert drink.  Just this past week, during a two-day berry-processing fest, I decided to try the recipe with raspberries.  And I am here to tell you that it was a complete success.  I’m so excited to share this and two other recipes with you.   Following the cordial recipe, I have a recipe for raspberry jam using the pulp left over from juicing, and a recipe for raspberry-infused vinegar, should you have more leftover pulp than you need for jam.

Now, a caveat.  This cordial recipe makes three 750 ml. bottles of cordial, with some left over in another bottle.  (If you choose to drink the leftovers rather than bottle it, who am I to judge you?)  It is entirely possible and as easy as . . . well, pie . . . to cut this recipe down, should you not happen to have access to enough raspberries to make 9 cups of juice.  Simply divide the recipe by 3, and you only need 3 cups of juice, about 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of vodka.  Simple.  And lest you worry that you need fresh raspberries to make this luscious drink, let me reassure you.  I made it using my frozen berries.  In fact, frozen berries render more juice than fresh berries do.

What I cannot tell you is the volume or amount of frozen berries you’ll need if you are buying them frozen from the store.  I used about 2 gallons of my frozen berries to make 9 cups of juice.  I used the leftover pulp to make jam, and oh boy, was it good!  So don’t throw that pulp away.  I have two more recipes to help you use every last bit of those raspberries.  I’m guessing that you’ll need about 3 or 4 large packages of frozen berries to get 9 cups of juice.  Look at the volume listed on the packages, if you’re buying frozen raspberries, and try approximate at least two gallons of berries.

There are other recipes out there for similar drinks.  Most of them require a long infusion time and several steps to come up with a drink that is safe for consumption.  Because this recipe calls for pasteurization of the juice, it is safe to drink immediately, and the flavor is exceptional.  I hope you enjoy this, as well as the blackberry cordial.

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Raspberry Cordial

9 cups raspberry juice (cook berries for 5 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth-lined colander to remove seeds)

2 ½ cups sugar

1 cup vodka

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Bring raspberry juice and sugar to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.  Add vodka and mix.  Cool to room temperature and bottle in clean bottles with tight-fitting lids.  (Old, clean liquor bottles work well.)  Stores indefinitely.

Raspberry Jam

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To each cup of raspberry pulp and seeds left from straining the juice, add 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice.  (Please notice that this is substantially less sugar than is required for a recipe that uses commercial boxed or bottled pectin.)   To 3 – 6 cups of this mixture, add one cup of apple pectin stock.  Cook on medium high heat until pulp is glossy and thick, about 20 min. (Taste frequently to test for the level of sweetness that you want, and add sugar as needed.)   Test for doneness by placing a dab on a plate that has been in the freezer until well-chilled.  Replace plate in freezer for a minute, then check to see if jam is firm.  If so, spoon into sterilized jars, seal,  and process in water bath for 5 minutes.

Raspberry-Infused Vinegar

If you have more raspberry pulp than you want to convert to jam, or less than you need for a good batch of jam, try an infused vinegar.  This is so easy, it’s ridiculous.  Just fill a pint or quart jar 3/4 full of raspberry pulp and top off with white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or your own homemade apple scrap vinegar.  If you use homemade vinegar, store your infusion in the fridge; if you use store-bought, you can leave the infusion in a cool, dark place.  Because there is no way to test the acidity of your homemade vinegar, it’s best to be safe and keep it refrigerated.  Let it sit several weeks, then strain through several layers of cheesecloth and bottle.  Voila!  Raspberry vinegar (or blackberry vinegar, should you make the blackberry cordial).  I did both, during my recent berry-processing marathon.  Raspberry infusion on the left, blackberry on the right.

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May the cockles of your heart be warmed this winter with berries.

All original text, photographs, and the cordial recipe are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without the author’s permission. 

 

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