In my TEDxToronto speech I ended with a pantomime demo of preserving Blueberry Gin. Since we’re coming very close to the end of blueberry season I figure it’s a great time to share some more info on this super-easy concoction!
This “recipe” takes 30 seconds or less to make and is a great example of how easy preserving food can be.
If you don’t drink booze, you can replace the gin with white wine vinegar (make sure it’s over 5% acidity; the label will tell you).
Alcohol will preserve fruit. Generally there’s two ways to do so:
- A straight-up infusion (like this one)
- A macerated (mixing fruit and sugar) infusion. I’ll share an example of this tomorrow.
When you have an infused drink at a bar (if you can find one), the infusion tends to be fairly quick (i.e. a few days). In my experience this is partially due to economics (a bar doesn’t want to hold on to inventory for a long time) and partially due to flavor. A shorter infusion is less intense; a longer infusion can become slightly bitter (which is fine with me as we often add bitters to cocktails when we drink them). The berries would often be crushed (this will change the color and add the juices to the booze) and strained before serving.
Don’t be worried about messing up – here’s what to do if your infusion gets too bitter. The other option is to serve them with a simple syrup (water diluted with sugar or other sweeteners including honey or maple syrup).
When it comes to preserving berries in booze, I prefer to be a little more patient. I give them a quick wash and, using my hand as a funnel, dump them into the bottle. I store them out of direct sunlight and wait at least 6 weeks before using them. They will last a year or more.
To use the product, you have 3 options:
- Use the berries by themselves. Awesome on ice cream but also edible on their own, paired with cheese, smoked meat, muffins or more.
- Use the gin by itself. Gin and Tonic? Oh, heck yeah.
- Used together – in either of the above.
One cautionary tale: I preserved these berries in the original bottle, mostly because I liked the blue glass combined with the blueberries. This is going to make it more difficult to get the berries out (compared to using a mason jar). I’ll likely pour the entire thing into a large jar before using both.
BLUEBERRY GIN – INGREDIENTS
- Blueberries. As many as you’d like. I used 1 pint (2 cups/ 500 ml)
- Gin. As much as you’d like but enough to cover the berries (I used a 1/2 pint)
BLUEBERRY GIN – INSTRUCTIONS
- Wash berries
- Cover berries with gin. Place a lid on container.
- Store out of direct sunlight.
- Optional: gently shake for the first few days (this helps remove any trapped air bubbles).
- You can use at any time but flavor will be more intense after 3-4 weeks (and even more so after 6 weeks).