Saturday, March 31, 2012

To Masticate or Macerate

When it comes to food that spoils... especially those foods that I find full of flavor and nostalgia... I tend to want to keep them around forever.

Frozen whole strawberries are better than ice cubes any day of the world! I use them in everything from Coke and Mtn Dew to Rum or Whiskey. I just like using them... and you get a little sweet treat in your glass when you’re done.

I love to can things. Jelly and jams are my favorite... as would be indicated by the 20 or so jars that are left of pear jam that I made in 2009.

As with everything, I tend to collect things more than most people. This is a true flaw that I’m slowly working on.  A collection of aged jams isn’t going to do anybody any good... ever... and I know this! Same goes with frozen junk.

I froze a BUNCH of peaches last year, mostly because we ran out of jars, and after I’d spend an entire paycheck on canning supplies, my wife put the reality back in my life.

She didn’t forbid me from buying another six cases of jars, she just lovingly pointed out that a case of jars was about the same price as 12 - 18 bottle of frosty craft beer..... She didn’t need to say any more.

Fast forward to last weekend, when we (She) took on the twice annual chore of cleaning out the three freezers. A bag or two of sliced strawberries and a few bags of halved peaches were found.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! I knew they were there... but I was “Collecting” them! Not hoarding them like she said! Regardless of your verb choice, I knew I needed to either pitch them to the chickens, or do something with them!

I made an off the cuff maceration of 151 rum and the strawberries. Nothing fancy, just rum and berries in a jar. Much to my surprise, it took about a day and a half for the rum to extract the colors and flavor from the berries, leaving them a nasty bleached white color.

After multiple passes through the trusty coffee filters, it was, as judged by me, ready to bottle.


We can’t JUST bottle it up? A healthy shot of gingered simple syrup has to be added first!

I must say that even Jessica liked it, both strait and as a liqueur mixed with some Mtn Dew.
Working from this simple little experiment, I’ve decided to double up!

The strawberry version was perhaps 2 cups of frozen strawberries and half a bottle of Rum. No records have been kept, and if these batches work, no records will be kept (Also strange for me)! This will be a, learned from doing, off the cuff, throw it together and hope for the best, sort of recipe. Kinda like Mom’s Chocolate chip cookies! (She gets out a bowl, a spoon and just starts pouring “About that much” of everything in!

So, tonight, as much grief as I know I’m going to catch for it... added 1 large box of Raspberries to my “Squatty Jar” and about 1/4 bottle of Everclear (Left from the Absinthe) and filled it up with Vodka.

Forgive me for using Vodka (The Rum of the North)! I beg forgiveness from every TIKI god and Rum XP the world over!

To the “Tall Jar” I added 4 frozen, halved peaches, the rest of the Everclear and the rest of the Vodka (Which started as a 1.75L)

They both will need sweetened before bottling, I am thinking more gingered simple syrup for the Peach version, but the Raspberry may just get a dash of lime juice and regular syrup.

I have no idea how strong these end up, as there isn’t any (Easy) way to find out. The juices and sugars from the fruit throw off any chance of taking a gravity reading and screw up my math. Then adding syrups and stuff.... Forget it! Just drink it carefully!

There is plenty of stirring, shaking, mixing, mashing, straining and filtering in my future, but who knows, It may be great in the end!


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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
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