Friday, July 6, 2012

Preserving season!

 I always promise myself that I will keep the blog updated no matter how busy I become. After all, posting a picture and tapping out a few sentences can't be that time consuming, can they? However, some weeks, the items on my to do list are urgent and time sensitive, and so being online takes a back seat to more important things. Things like slicing crates of strawberries to dehydrate, making fruit leather and jam, and strawberry sauce to top pancakes and scones with in the winter.
 There is also the making of raspberry cordial. I made this for the first time last year, and it is so delicious (and easy) that this year I made twice as much. The cordial steeps for four months, and then is strained and bottled. Last year, I strained and the cordial in early November, on a very cold, rainy night. As I poured the cordial in to bottles, the wind was howling outside and rain was lashing at the windows. One sip of cordial though, and it was summer in my mouth! The raspberry flavor is really intensified, and we found ourselves drinking a small tumbler of cordial most evenings as we read by the fire.
 Raspberries, sugar, and vodka. That is all there is to it! I gently shake the jar every day or so for the first week, and then forget about it until November. The man who gave me the recipe for this says he gives this away as Christmas gifts, and I think I will follow suit this year!
All those strawberries on my dehydrator trays in the first picture, which were destined to top my oatmeal in the winter, ended up being ruined when a (very adorable, very beloved) toddler turned up the temperature on the dehydrator to 155. I always dehydrate at 105 or below to preserve nutrients, and so strawberry fruit leather and sliced berries usually take 24 hours to dehydrate completely. I checked them after 18 hours, and discovered I now had strawberry chips and strawberry glass. the children still loved the strawberry glass (which should have been fruit leather), so it is at least being eaten. However. I have no fruit leather and no dried strawberries to show for my efforts! At least I have plenty of freezer jam, strawberry sauce, and raspberry cordial! Consolation, indeed. Next week's big kitchen job is raspberry/red currant jam, followed by raspberry fruit leather and blackberry jelly. The above picture was taken on my iPhone, which takes such good pictures that I have been using it more than I have been using my fancy camera lately. It is just as well I didn't spend that $600.00 for a new lens!

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