Friday, August 6, 2010

Wild Blackberry Cordial

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Pick enough berries to fill a clean glass jar in the size of your choice at least a third, and up to a half, full. I use about two quarts of berries for a gallon of cordial. If those lovely wild blackberries don't grow in your neighborhood, you can substitute raspberries or blueberries. The little wild blueberries will give your cordial a more intense flavor than the larger cultivated ones, but either way blueberries are relatively tough-skinned and you will need to macerate them - crush or grind coarsely - before adding the other ingredients.

Fill the jar to the top with equal parts of maple syrup and brandy. I usually use E&J brandy, but any decent variety of 80 proof brandy will do fine. As for the maple syrup, I like the dark, late-season Grade B syrup because it has the strongest maple taste and contains more minerals than the three lighter Grade A syrups produced earlier in the sugaring season. You can use whatever grade of maple syrup you prefer, but please make it real. Don't use the artificial stuff!!

Put the cover on the jar and shake to mix. Label, date, and leave the fruit to infuse for at least 10 days, and up to 6 weeks. Shake occasionally when you think of it. Strain out the fruit (marvelous over ice cream) and decant the cordial into glass jars or bottles. Keeps for years without refrigeration - but I guarantee it won't last that long!

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