Sunday, July 16, 2006

And All... That... Juice!

How many ways can you use a gallon and a half of blueberries?

Believe me, I'm still finding out.

First, I froze over a quart of berries. Next came the start of blueberry liqueur with another cup or so of berries. Then I made blueberry-date bars with 1 cup of berries. Next came the dried blueberries (another near quart).

And today, even with the astonishing heat outside, I decided to throw a cup of blueberries and the last cup of red raspberries into a pot and simmer them down for berry juice.

That, actually, was the easy part, because I could back away from the stove (and the heat) and sit under the ceiling fan while the berries simmered in their own juices.

After that, I set up my conical colander over another pot so that the juices could slowly drain through. (If you're wondering why the whole set-up looks like an alien spaceship has landed in my kitchen, it's because I needed to use my small prep bowls to raise the level of the colander so that the juice could drain freely; otherwise the bottom of the colander would almost scrape the bottom of the pot.)

Slowly, the juice oozed out, and with a few extra squeezes, I managed to get a little more juice from the warm pulp.

Finally, once the berry pulp had been taken to the compost heap (to the delight of the bugs swarming around), I brought the juice back up to a simmer, added some local honey, and let it cook just a bit before pouring it into a jar.

It's not much juice, not even a pint. You might think it was hardly worth the effort.

But when I thaw and open that juice on a cold winter's morning and taste that summer sweetness on my tongue, I'll know.

It's always worth it.


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