Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fresh Berryade

Each summer I reserve enough blueberries harvested from our potager to make blueberry cupcakes, and each summer I actually make something else with those precious berries. Something cool. Something that doesn't require any more baking than the self-roasting I have achieved by picking them in the hot sun. Something which highlights their sparkle and tart sweetness.

Thirty-year-old pitcher with FRESH juice

INGREDIENTS
per sweetness and consistency desired, makes a pint to a quart

  • 3 cups of berries (several large handfuls)
  • simple sugar syrup made from 1 cup sugar/1 cup water (mix in pot, simmer until mixture is clear, about five minutes)
  • berries for garnishing
  • additional water for desired dilution

A few raspberries and strawberries along with a handful of blackberries were added to the abundant blueberries.

All from our potager

Eschewing various aides of the electric persuasion, I just put the sieve of washed and trimmed berries over a mixing bowl. My fingers did the rest. You be surprised how much fun it is to squash them, especially the blueberries, almost equal to the pleasure of popping bubblewrap. Those grape-stompers have nothing on me.

This gorgeous pulpy mass will find a loving home on the compost pile

A fork and a wooden spoon was used at the end to finish mashing and to press juice through the sieve. Make sure to use a clean spoon for scraping the outside of the strainer.

Burgundy bliss!

With a small amount of syrup and water added, the 'ade was closer to juice. With more syrup and water, it became cloudy, somewhat dulling the fresh edge, but still so much better than any packaged/bottled versions. If the syrup, berries, and water are cold, then one can enjoy it right away. If not, refrigerate or add ice.

The pink froth tickled in a welcoming way

In the potager, various plantings done in March and April are either close to harvest like onions and potatoes or are being harvested as in the case of shallots. They are a valued ingredient for bringing a delicate piquantness to dishes. For my first crop, I had chosen a rose-coloured variety. It seems that the grise (gray) shallot is more esteemed so I will try those next season.

Jermor variety curing in the shade

Basil, like all annual herbs, need to be pinched back frequently to keep the plants nice and bushy. When I have some in hand, I sneak them in wherever I can, for example, by tucking a few leaves in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Next time, I will add minced shallots

During a late-evening perusal of the garden, I was delighted to see flowering fennel transforming itself into the likeness of a delicate Asian print.

Living artwork flanking one side of our house

In the flower garden, a trio of lavender, perennial snapdragons, and roses form a calming melange.


In the front garden, hydrangeas add a bright accent to foliage, rocks, and brick path.


À la prochaine!