We’ve been experimenting with our “small-fruit” crops this season, resulting in a variety of berries and rose hips stashed in the freezer. Jellies & jams are a traditional way to make use of these fruits, but given that our pantry is still rather full of preserves, we decided to branch out.
The fruit has extraordinarily high vitamin C content (302% of the Daily Value per 100 g, table), good levels of potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B5, and a broad range of other essential nutrients (nutrient table, right).
Other phytochemicals in the fruit (polyphenols/anthocyanins) have been demonstrated in laboratory experiments with potential to inhibit inflammation mechanisms suspected to be at the origin of heart disease, cancer, microbial infections or neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
There is some concern about bioavailability (meaning the body’s ability to break down & make use of the substances) of the antioxidants in these fruits, and luckily this concern has been resolved in a very tasty way.
Recent studies have found that combining berries with alcohol boosts their antioxidant power by a third. What better way to take advantage of this discovery than making cordials!
Here’s the quick & easy ‘recipe’ that works with just about any fruit (the jars in the photo above contain elderberry, blackcurrant, blackberry & rose hip cordials):
- mason jars with lids
Put 1 cup of sugar in the jar. Fill the rest of the way with fruit, packed tighly but not too smushed. Pour in vodka to about 1 inch from the top, and tighten down the lid. Shake vigorously until completely mixed. Keep the jar in a cool dark place, and shake twice a day until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue shaking once a day until 2 months are passed, then enjoy!
Cordials are delicious sipped as is, with club soda, mixed in other beverages, etc. All those antioxidants should boost your mental abilities to imagine more uses for these tasty tinctures.