Blueberry Cordial & Water Hyacinths


It’s been weeks since we’ve had rain. Temperatures have been in the 90’s for a while now. Berries shriveled on the canes, the gardens are brown and crispy. I’ve had to be careful about watering, we have a well. I’m trying to save the newly planted fruit trees, bushes and some vegetables I’d yet to harvest. That may not even be possible.

At least the water hyacinths are cheerful.  Once it gets cold, I’ll snap off a few plants and overwinter them in a basin of water in the basement.   They multiply quickly in the spring and the roots make good breeding habitat for the goldfish.
I squeaked out one last jar of fermented dilly beans. These things are delicious. Next year I’m expanding my bean plot.
I have black currants steeping in vodka for a few weeks now. Soon it will be ready to finish off and bottle for Christmas cordial. I came across a recipe for blueberry cordial in an old herbal almanac and decided to try it with some frozen blueberries. Cordials are easy to make. It’s basically a matter of crushing the fruit and totally immersing it in alcohol. I used gin for the blueberries. Keep it sealed in a dark, cool place and shake the mixture daily. In a few weeks strain it, discard the fruit and add a simple syrup (water and sugar) to the strained alcohol, to taste. At this point, bottle it up, seal in sterilized glass and set it away for a couple months. Once it’s opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Of course, if at any point mold shows up, (very unlikely) everything should be discarded.

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35 thoughts on “Blueberry Cordial & Water Hyacinths

  1. I make brandies (cordials) every year and I found out the hard way that you can get mold in the brew without even knowing it! So, when I make mine now, I put all of the fruit in a big, non-reactive pot and bring it to a boil with the vodka and brandy I am adding to the liqueur. Boiling the brew ensures that any mold on the fruit dies.

    Once it cools down, I put the fruit, juice and liquor in gallon glass jars and store it in my cool, dark pantry for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks, I add 4 cups of sugar water ( 3 or 4 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water, boiled to ensure the sugar dissolves) to each gallon jar. I screw the lids back on and keep the jars in the pantry for 6 to 8 more weeks, gently shaking each gallon jar once a week. Once the 8 weeks is up, I taste each jar for sweetness, add more simple syrup if I have to, strain and put in glass bottles with rubber stoppers. I give these as gifts at holiday time and have to say people really look forward to getting my homemade cherry, blackberry and blueberry brandies.

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  2. We’re suffering from the same hot, dry weather. . . AND we have a well, too. I’ve saved a few things, but my veggie garden is pathetic. I just BOUGHT tomatoes today . . .ughhh!

    I may to try the cordial idea – sounds like a great gift!

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  3. Thanks! You do cool things too. I’m going to order that tinder starter you recommended and learn how to use it. I don’t like groundhogs much at all. They can ruin a garden in no time flat. When I moved here, the house next door was vacant. 5 or 6 groundhogs used to hang out on the front porch every night.

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  4. My wife’s grandmother made raspberry cordial before she passed away. I was lucky enough to have her share some with me each time we visited and was even able to get the recipe.

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  5. I love the idea of the blueberry cordial – There are lot of flower buds just starting to show up on my blueberry bushes so hopefully El Nino doesn’t turn our spring into a dry crispy mess and I can harvest enough to give this recipe a go!
    I hope you guys get some rain soon, and mild winter – I think you deserve a reprieve from extremes!!!!!

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  6. It’s been brutally hot and bone dry here too. But it finally rained last night (after weeks of no rain). I haven’t checked the gauge yet but I’m very happy the pastures and gardens have finally gotten some relief.

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  7. All great ideas! I would love to try making a cordial, and just realise it does not have to be from fruit of the garden, a blueberry bought at the store should do it shouldn’t it. I really want to try this, sounds lovely and great idea for presents.

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  8. I do hope you get some good rain soon, Cynthia. We don’t dare grow water hyacinth here; they choke the water ways. When I go overseas I see so many of our environmental weeds growing in gardens my hair stand on ends 🙂 Of course our climate is different so you don’t have the same problem as we do. Everything goes berserk here in Australia.

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    • I can see how that can happen. It multiplies so quickly. Water hyssop does that here. Things are definitely a lot different there! Reading your blog and Matt’s as well, I have seen just a bit of that and I am amazed

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    • So glad you got rain. We did too but our growing season is at an end so not as important as your rainfall. I know you are using gray water as I do here. It is illegal in my county but I have to ask why? Roundup is legal! And I only use homemade facial and laundry soaps and Mrs. Meyers dish washing liquid. A bit bizarre….

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      • Actually, we don’t use graywater–we are not that organized yet, alas! But we compost like crazy and lawn is a low priority in our backyard “pasture”. It’s funny but I’ve noticed that the vegetables do seem to just grow better with real rain as opposed to artificial irrigation (nitrogen, maybe?) Either way, yes, we are so lucky not to be in a drought area and we take advantage of that with every homegrown bite! 🙂

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