I know there are berries in this province of mine.  I know they are close.  I know that, soon, they will be mine.  And I feel like a mad scientist…

We launched a poll in November and asked you how long you keep your preserves and we shared how long we keep ours for there as well.  The very unscientific poll showed that the wild majority keeps their preserves longer than a year and often longer than two.

I tend to preserve for 2 years at a time (there are a few exceptions such as tomato sauce – I’ll simply eat as much sauce as we make, regardless of quantity).  This means I don’t make the same thing year after year, allows me a bit more of a chance to experiment but allows us to create a lot of variety on the Great Wall of Preserves.  There are over 100 different flavors in our collection now and the bi-annual batches of preserving allow us a greater variety of options.

And I do love my options…

But just because I have strawberry jam for another year doesn’t mean I won’t be preserving strawberries – it just means I won’t be making as much jam (though I may make a variety such as Kaela’s Strawberry Chipotle Preserves or Tigress’ Smokin’ Strawberries).  I just have to make something different.

My goal for the year is to make about 12 quarts of cordials – such as Kaela’s Homemade Berry Cordial (which is adapted on one by Leda Merideth – isn’t it fantastic how a community can share and learn from itself)?

I plan to make a few ‘special’ jars that I plan to age for a prolonged time (I am thinking about 3 years).  While it’s a heck of a time committment, my hope is that the product will be worth the wait.  I also plan to put special jars aside each year so that 3 years from now I will have aged cordial each and every year by rotating to my oldest bottles.

A cordial is simply a fermented preserve.  It does produce alcohol and will require some learning.  We’ve been researching and experimenting for some time and look forward to sharing the process (but I may hoard the results).  We’ll be trying to keep up to our own self-imposed expectations of safe experimentation and modification of what we’ve seen and learned from others as well.  A recent discovery of new supplies will be shared as part of these posts – I am so excited about it that I can barely hold it in (I’ll share it tomorrow after we take some photos).

Homemade cordials appear to be far more prevalent and popular in Europe (and especially prevalent in the UK).  I love reading about different types of preserving and food traditions from around the world and it was the UK (especially the lovely River Cottage Preserves Handbook) that really opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities of making such a beverage at home.

Of course we’ll also be pressure canning and making some water-bath canning (and the dehydrator and crock pots will be going to).  Look forward to some exciting new preserving posts soon!

In the meantime, has anyone out there been making cordials or been meaning to try?

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