Top | Leda Meredith
(recipe, Leda Meredith)
For this recipe it’s best to use organically grown, homegrown, or foraged fruit, because the recipe depends on wild yeasts for fermentation. Commercially grown fruit has often been sprayed with chemicals and then washed so thoroughly that no wild yeasts remain. Should you need to use commercial fruit, keep an eye on the cordial. If no signs of fermentation are noticeable after two days (it should get quite frothy on top), add just a small pinch of wine or baking yeast to kick-start the mixture.
- 2 qt. fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups sugar
- Thaw the berries if using frozen ones. In a non-metal container or crock, crush the berries with a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy bottle. Stir in the boiling water. Cover with cheesecloth or a towel. Leave in a warm place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve, jelly bag, or colander lined with cheesecloth to remove the seeds. Save the juice and discard the pulp.
- Add the sugar and stir well. Stir again every 15 minutes for 1 hour (5 times total).
- Strain mixture again through several layers of dampened cheesecloth or a jelly bag.
- Funnel into clean bottles. At this point, some recipes say to cork the bottles tightly. I tried that once. The cordial blew up and shot the corks a good six feet and I had raspberry cordial on my ceiling. Instead, I recommend sealing the bottles with fermentation locks (available from winemaking suppliers online) or balloons that have been pricked once with a pin. The pinprick allows some of the gases produced by fermentation to escape so that the balloons don’t explode. The balloons will inflate during active fermentation. When they deflate, it is safe to cork your cordial.
- Wait two months or until fermentation ceases, then cap or cork tightly. Store bottles on their sides in a cool, dark place for an additional 2 months.
- The cordial may be slightly fizzy when you first open it. Decant before drinking. After decanting, you can store the cordial in clear glass bottles that show off the beautiful color.
Read more about homemade cordial in Leda Meredith's essay "Memory, preserved."