December & January are the height of their availability nationwide– time to scoop up a ton & enjoy them while we can!
Scented Geranium-Infused Blood Orange Curd
Zest your washed oranges & set aside. Juice your fruit & reserve, removing any seeds. I do not strain out the pulp from the fresh juice, as it adds such lovely flavor. Stir in a small handful of fresh scented geranium leaves & let them infuse in your juice if desired. The scented geranium lends a lovely herbal note that really puts this curd over-the-top. My favorite to use are leaves from our Attar of Rose Geranium, Gerald. [LOCALS: I am always happy to share Gerald cuttings– come see me in store!] I find them to add a particularly tasty floral-herbal flavor that is delicate, but certainly worth this extra step – However, if you do not have any scented geranium at hand, plain Blood Orange Curd is delicious on its own, so no worries! Infuse your juice for 1-2 hours, then pull the leaves out; I do not recommend straining them out as we are looking to keep all the flavorful pulp in our juice.
Voila, delicious Blood Orange Curd!
It will continue to thicken as it cools. This recipe makes about 3 cups of curd. Pop it into mason jars to store in the fridge -- These make lovely gifts if you are feeling generous! If you are planning to use it in tarts, put the curd in the fridge to set-up & cool for at least 30 minutes. Not up to making crusts? Honestly, it is hard to beat simple plain Crêpes, ends dipped in sugar, topped with a heaping spoonful of this curd with sliced figs & blackberries! STUNNING!
I hope I have inspired you to grab some blood oranges when the Winter Citrus harvest hits your local grocery store, & try this recipe! And seriously, if you are local, come grab a cutting of my Attar of Rose Geranium to grow! Gerald is DELICIOUS! Please let me know what you make with your curd & share PICTURES! I love to see what you are all up to! Until next time--Stay safe & #StopAndEatTheFlowers
Quince is wonderful in desserts & drinks, jellies & pies, & also with savory items like hard cheese & meats. Why then do we not typically see bushels of them at the grocery store? I believe it is because quince are challenging to work with. Simply put, it’s delicious, but you are going to work for it -- And it will be worth it!
A couple key factors to keep in mind when harvesting-- First off, if they are still green, tuck them aside to ripen fully. Quince grow a beautiful, golden yellow, some with a bit of a blush or small brown spots, when they are perfectly ripe. The riper they are, the more fragrant & delicious they will be. Simply pop unripe fruit in a bowl & place it in a sunny window to ripen; your patience will be rewarded. Second, plan an afternoon of processing, then you can use them at your leisure. A nice, rainy Fall afternoon with pots of quince simmering away on the stovetop filling your home with their fragrance is lovely instead of tedious. Lastly, I suggest poaching most of your haul. Poached quince is truly lovely on its own, baked into a pie, or used to top yogurt or waffles. Once poached, they will keep for about a week in the fridge or can be frozen in their syrup for up to six months. And don’t throw out that poaching liquid -- it is amazing for all manner of cocktails, zero-proof drinks, & as an ice cream or waffle topper! You can even use it to make sorbet.
Take a moment to appreciate the fragrance coming off them as you work --
almost like vanilla & roses.
You should plan to infuse this mixture for 3 - 4 weeks. The gin will take on a very pretty, yellow hue as it lifts the flavor from the fruit – if you used the rose petals, it may have a soft peach color instead. Give your bottle a light shake every few days. You will notice the quince pieces beginning to turn brown as your gin turns yellow. This is normal & not a concern. After 3 weeks, you can give it a try– you may be happy with the flavor at that time & finish it off. If you’d prefer a stronger flavor, let it go another week. Once the flavor is where you’d like it, double strain it to remove all fruit/petals. Your Quince-Infused Gin is now ready to enjoy! Pour it into a decanter [or that empty bottle from before] & enjoy it! No need to refrigerate it & I have not found it to go bad once infused, although to be fair, it never lasts too long around here, so I haven't truly tested the time…..
As I mentioned before, it is nice to sip on its own, but also works well in mixed drinks, both cocktails & zero-proofs. One of my favorite ways to use it is in a Quince riff on a Brandy Alexander. Have fun with it. I am sure you will have fun getting creative!
There you have it! We are heading into prime quince season-- Hop on out there, pick yours & give ‘em a try! Infusing gin with them is absolutely the easiest way to enjoy their unique, delicious flavor; I think you will be thrilled with the results. That is all for this week-- Stay safe & don’t forget to #StopAndEatTheFlowers
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Delicious & just as immune-supportive as the Elderberry, Chokeberries are in season now & are fabulous! Join me as we discuss their growing habits, traditional uses, & I make a simple syrup & craft some delicious drinks with their bright, tart flavor---
With her striking purple stems & killer flavor, Chocolate Mint is one to grow. Join me as we discuss this beautiful mint cultivar & a bunch of options for using your harvest!
My husband & I were blessed with 2 beautiful girls. When I was diagnosed with MS, I couldn't keep up the pace working retail. We decided on a simpler life, built a cabin in the woods, & moved to mid-coast Maine