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Drink the Harvest – Book Review

July 12, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many ways this book could be valued. Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas and Ciders is a book for more than wine enthusiasts. It’s a good book for those who come across great deals in produce and want to use it. It’s good for the homesteader who wants to use more of the harvest that is around them. It’s excellent for those who want to give more homemade gifts for the holidays.

Several points I really liked about the book – a big one was when the author talks of chopping and draining the liquid out, so often it seems I read “throw the solids out”. I think to myself how much of a waste that is, although if feeding chickens it’s not a total waste, but why not find a way to use it. The author’s suggestion here – blend it and spread it in a dehydrator for fruit leathers. Brilliant!! Yes yes yes! USE it.

Sorry – got a little excited there. If you don’t know a mead from a cider or hard cider from wine that’s ok – you will by the time you get through this book. Details are important and there are plenty of those, but it’s in a knowledge empowering good way.

One would expect grapes, apples, pears, cherries and maybe tomatoes here, and they are included. Also included is mint, birch sap and prickly pear. Let the kids help collect dandelions – don’t spray them, pick them and drink them! This is a good book for ideas as well as action, and makes some wonderful gifts for those with patience and attention to detail at little cost.

If you raise or find bruised fruit, cut off the bad part and use the rest for things like this minimizes the loss. There are wonderful ideas on how to use it. For example, with the mint syrup, the author notes using it in “mojitos, mint juleps, mint flavored iced tea or lemonade, mint spritzers, minty-licious sangria or other wine punch or mint-flavored hot chocolate3 (with a splash of peppermint scnapps for the adult version). For a special dessert, add some mint syrup to homemade fudge sauce before spooning it over ice cream.” I could add including it in chocolate fudge just before turning into the pan to cool.

Worth the money especially if you like making things. Classy look with every day roll your sleeves up tones make for a nice mix. Check it out at Amazon or Storey Publications. And if you like herbal tea – get this book!

Mint Syrup

2 cups filtered water

1 cup mint leaves, washed

2 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid.

Bring the water to a boil.

Place the mint leaves in a small bowl, and pour the boiling water over them. Cover and steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the liquid into a saucepan to remove the mint leaves

Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam.

Remove from the heat.

Add the ascorbic acid and stir.

Pour the contents into sterilized containers, seal and label.

Makes 1 pint. Takes 1 hour.

Can be used immediately or stored in  swing-top bottles for up to a year with ascorbic acid added, or six months without it. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks after opening.

There’s some oh-so-tasty sounding options for variations which you’ll have to get the book to see.

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