Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blackberry Cordial

We here in Tennessee have evidently entered into some kind of parallel universe where there is no sun and it rains 24 hours a day.  Therefore, I have decided to work on some indoor things and just let the outdoors be until the planets can realign themselves. 

Ever since I read Anne of Green Gables, I have wanted to make cordial.  I came across a recipe for wild blackberry cordial on a blog that I absolutely love called The Essential Herbal.  You can find it here.  It is a very simple recipe.  I don't even think that I can mess this one up. 

The recipe calls for:
  • glass jar (any size)
  • blackberries (enough to fill 1/3 to 1/2 of the jar) 
  • maple syrup (real not fake)
  • brandy (80 proof)
I didn't have these items in my pantry so I headed out to do some shopping.  I got some blackberries from the local farmer's market . . .

and some organic syrup.

Next, I headed over to the liquor store to buy some brandy.  I don't normally drink brandy so I have no brand preference.  But E&J was mentioned so I went with that one. 

Then I headed home and I started to make my first batch of wild blackberry cordial.  I began by cleaning the jars and rinsing the blackberries.

I added the blackberries to the jars

Then, I added the maple syrup.

Finally, I added an equal part of brandy to the jars.

I put the lids on the jars and gave them a good shake.

I labeled my new concoction and set it aside to infuse for the next 10 days to 6 weeks.  

 I will continue to shake it occasionally until it is ready.  When it is done, I will strain out the fruit and decant the cordial into some pretty bottle.  They say that cordial will keep for years without refrigeration.  I figure the alcohol will kill most anything.

Et voila!  My first batch of blackberry cordial.  I am so excited.  I may even go back and read the Anne of Green Gables series again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Serving the Tea - Liquid Fertilizer Update

What, you may ask, is that white pattern pictured below?

I don't know exactly.  It's the crud that grew on top of my liquid fertilizer while it was brewing.

It doesn't look good.  So, I decided to remove it and dispose of it.  I am just hoping that I didn't violate any hazardous waste laws.   I strained the rest of the "tea".  Then I added water to it using a 1:10 ratio and went looking for something to fertilize. 

Because I have never used this liquid fertilizer, I was very careful in my plant selection.  I didn't want to fertilize any of my healthy plants.  We have a saying in the South, "If it ain't broke, don't go fixin it."  I chose to fertilize the Lilliputian herbs first. 

The next test subject was the bean pot that hasn't come up yet.  If I kill any of these plants, at least it isn't a huge loss.

Fingers crossed.

Please Fit, Please Fit!

I was so happy when I came home and saw the little brown box with the smiley face!  I knew what was in it because it was a present from myself to myself.  I immediately started chanting, "Please fit, please fit, please fit, please fit."

I opened the box and there they were.  My cheery, colorful, make my feet happy, new garden boots.  They were beautiful.  I took a moment to just appreciate their beauty just in case I had to send them back.  I frequently purchase things over the internet, but rarely do I buy something that needs to be tried on.  "Please fit, please fit, please fit, please fit."

I have been wanting a pair of gardening boots ever since the first time the morning dew got my tennis shoes, socks and consequently my feet all wet - not to mention the bottom of my pants.  I thought that I had found a solution when I discovered an old pair of rubber riding boots in my attic.  They were certainly waterproof, but were really difficult to get off after a couple of sweaty hours in the garden. "Please fit, please fit, please fit, please fit."

They fit!!! Have boots will garden.