Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Soused Prunes and Blueberries - Start NOW for Christmas!

While we still have 5 months or so before the big December 2-5, I've been thinking about and planning my food gifts since the first rounds of produce started appearing at the farmer's market. While giving cookies, mixes and canned items is certainly a way to help keep the holiday costs down, you do have to spend your time and energy creating them... and I don't know about you, but when it gets into that "crunch time" after Hallowe'en kitchen space and time is at a premium. Besides, a lot of canned things like pickles or chutneys get better as they age, so by starting now you know the recipients can crack into their jars right away and get the prime flavour potential.

That's definitely the case with these jars. Packed with a rather gourmet combination of prunes, dried blueberries and liquor, the marination period before packing them into individual jars takes at least 5 months... more if you have it. Of course, if you're reading this now, you only have 5 months... but since the fruit is packed in the boozy syrup it soaked in, it will just get better until they're all used up!

Soused Prunes and Blueberries

These morsels of tender fruit are also incredibly versatile - whether used as an accompaniment to roast game meats or pork (reminiscent of French Prunes in Armagnac) or served over yoghurt or pound cake for dessert! Don't toss that syrup either - that makes for a great cocktail mixer all on it's own after the prunes and blueberries are gone!

Submitted to Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

NI includes all alcohol, as it makes a delicious syrup.

Soused Prunes and Blueberries
Makes 1 ½ cups
1 cup pitted unsulfured prunes
2 tbsp dried wild blueberries
3 whole black peppercorns
1 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup brandy
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp nutmeg
  1. Combine the prunes, blueberries and peppercorns in a quart jar (you want room for expansion).
  2. Whisk together the Grand Marnier, brandy, sugar and nutmeg and pour overtop of the fruit.
  3. Place the lid on the jar and shake to distribute the liqueur-sugar mix.
  4. Place in a cool, dark place for 5-6 months (it gets better for at least a year), topping up the jar with additional Grand Marnier or brandy if the level drops below the fruit.
  5. For gifts, pack into 1/2 cup jars, seal and process in a waterbath for 30 minutes. Let cool, undisturbed on a rack, for 12 hours, then store in the pantry.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 135.8
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.2 mg
Total Carbs: 17.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 0.4 g