Wednesday, 19 February 2014

blueberry cordial


Blueberries! Oh what tasty little morsels they are. One of the first things I did when we bought our place, was plant a row of blueberries in our orchard. I love them so much and have great plans for growing bucketloads of them. Sadly, I'm not having much success with my poor old blueberries at the moment. Several of my plants went belly up in last year's floods (apparently they like really good drainage). This year I've lost a couple more in our summer drought. In fact, I've only got a few healthy looking ones left. And the grand harvest, well that's it in the picture above. Yeah, less than impressive, I know.

I'm not ready to throw down my shovel yet though. I'm certain there's a blueberry farmer in me somewhere. I think I've been coming at this blueberry growing thing from the wrong angle. I just need to change my strategy a bit. So, instead of going back to the drawing board and buying new plants, I've invested in a pair of binoculars instead. You see I have some neighbours who seem to have blueberry growing down pat. My new plan is to take up the gentle art of stickybeaking for the next little while, until I can work this blueberry growing caper out. I really don't think I can take any more of those poor little plants shrivelling up and dying.

In the meantime, at least I've got the neighbours to buy from.

One of my favourite things to do with blueberries? Make blueberry cordial (which is like a blueberry syrup for my northern hemisphere friends). This stuff is super duper scrummy. It's like essence of blueberry in a bottle. Man alive this stuff is good. Really good, like it's all mine, keep your hands off it good. It's so tasty, you're going to want to keep a secret stash of it somewhere for later.

 
How to Make My Blueberry Cordial

For every kilogram of fruit, add half a kilo sugar and 1 litre rainwater to your pan (if you don't have rainwater, make sure your water has been filtered). Also add 2 teaspoons citric acid. Boil up for about 15 minutes, until fruit is mushy. Taste it. If your fruit is really tart, you may need to add some more sugar. Our neighbour's blueberries are sweet, so this tastes about right. Strain through a jellybag and pour into your sterilised bottles.

Keep in the fridge. Or if you want to keep them in the pantry, you need to process in a boiling water bath. I sterilise my bottles in my Fowlers Vacola.

So how do you drink it?
The PG version: Mix it up with ice cold water over ice.
The AO version: Mix with some vodka over ice and some sprigs of mint. Yes, you're welcome.

10 comments:

  1. Yum! Yum! Yum! That look so fabulous! Yum!
    How long did you water bath them for? And at what temp?
    Also where did you get those vacola jars? Can you still buy the 'cordial bottles' new??
    Thanks for this recipe I loooove homemade cordial!

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    1. Unfortunately you can't buy these cordial bottles any more. Mine are all old second hand ones. I think there should be a campaign to get Fowlers to reproduce them though! If enough people asked them, perhaps they might? As for time and temps for processing, you should follow the times indicated for whatever bottles you are using. Australians can use guidelines set out in the Fowlers preserving books (use the up to date books as the guidelines have changed), or the American Ball Canning book is a good official resource.

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  2. Oh yum I bet that tastes good, it looks delicious. Thank you for the recipe:)

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  3. I would like to know your strategy with blueberry plant...You still got a very good harvest to be able to come up with cordial bottles! I'm so envious indeed...because my blueberry plant was a struggling twig last year...but it keeps giving me a flicker of hope with it's tiny leaf shoot..thus I'm not giving it up yet.

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    1. Oh no Annie, these aren't my blueberries! They are my neighbours. When i learn all the secrets to blueberry growing, I'll be sure to pass them on though!!

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  4. Our blueberries grow wild in acidic dry soil and in unusual spots like on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the lake. They seem to like thrive in severe conditions but if I wanted to plant some and show them a little TLC, well, I doubt they'd grow at all!
    Love those cordial bottles. They'd be perfect for my maple syrup. Never had blueberry cordial before, only raspberry...a favourite here thanks to Anne of Green Gables.

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    1. Deb I wonder if our varieties of blueberries are different? (given your intense cold over there they have to survive through?) I like the sound of your super tough ones. I think ours might be pampered warm coastal varieties? Raspberry cordial sounds so good! I hope my raspberries one day have enough fruit to make that!!

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  5. Your harvest did make me have a good giggle this morning although I do feel for you. The cordial looks great. I'm keen to try making cordial and I'd love to try raspberry cordial. Have a great day. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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    1. Raspberry cordial does sound delicious doesn't it!!

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