How a Bushel and a Peck Turned into

Today's Berry Madness Recipe:
(recipe below)

I am always on the lookout for a good deal on fresh fruits.  I go to the farmer's market and go a little cray-cray over bushels of citrus, bags of apples, pecks of peaches and big baskets of berries.  I buy them all in a mad whirl of fruity insanity and then I get them home and think, "What am I going to do with all of this?"

My mother would have made jams or preserves with the extras or just "put up" the fruit for winter consumption, but, sadly, I am not of the canning persuasion. I'm more of the moonshining persuasion. I'd rather throw my bounty of produce into booze instead of canning jars that are destined to gather dust on some cellar shelf. It's a certainty that booze will never gather dust on a shelf in my house.

Given this propensity for personal bootlegging, when I fell off the bushel/peck wagon and came home with a half a bushel of fresh blackberries, a part of a peck of fresh blueberries and a whole freaking flat of strawberries, I immediately decided to turn them into booze.  I made blackberry vodka and blackberry liqueur, blueberry vodka and blueberry liqueur, strawberry vodka and strawberry liqueur and even a few combos! My refrigerator looked like Popcorn Sutton* had been hiding from the revenuers in there for half a year.

And I still had berries left over! So I threw them into more booze, this time red wine, and I made Berry Sangria.  I had done citrus sangrias before but never a berry based wine infusion and I loved it.  The berries gave the wine a mellow, fruity sweetness which went down very smoothly! I was also imbibing all those lovely anti-oxidants and nutrition from the berries while enjoying a cocktail.  This was a total win/win situation and the best part was I didn't have to use expensive wines.  A decent priced (under $10) red wine of nearly any kind works in sangria. I happened to have some Merlot so that's what I used, but sangria can be made with nearly any type of wine including Cabernet, Zinfandel, Sirah and even white wines.

Since I still had fresh fruit staring up at me from their pecks and bushels, I took the idea of boozy berries one step further and created an edible cocktail, BERRY SANGRIA COCKTAIL GELS (Berry Madness Recipe Part II). Yes, I said edible cocktail and, no, I'm not talking your frat-party-Jell-O-in-a-Dixie-cup hooch here (I tossed away my Dixie cups many years ago with my blushing innocence), those berries got gel-ified and mold-ified into little finger popping, high proof, melt in your mouth edible hooch!

You would think I put a pretty decent dent in those berries and could freeze the rest. You would be wrong. There was still a few pounds of berries glaring at me from their little bushel and peck beds, a bit more than I had room for in the freezer. By this time I had crossed over from madness into murder and I took those taunting, remaining devils and threw them into the fire. Yup, I reduced their little souls into a Berry Compote to put on top of BERRY SHORTCAKE (
Berry Madness Recipe Part III) for a dinner party!  I did pardon a few to make some SANGRIA BERRIES (Berry Madness Recipe Part IV) - though I might have been crazed, I was not without compassion.

After these berry stressful events I added a straitjacket to my wardrobe, but I am now the Diva of Berries!  Just ask my shrink.

*Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton (B. October 5, 1946 - D. March 16, 2009) Famous Appalachian moonshiner from Cocke County, Tennessee.




1 Bottle (750 ml) Red Wine
1/2 C. Fresh Raspberries
1/2 C. Fresh Blackberries
1/2 C. Fresh Blueberries
1/2 C. Fresh Strawberries, Sliced
1 Clementine, Juice & Zest
4 Apple Mint Leaves
1/2 cup sugar
Optional:  Brut Champagne or Soda Water


Zester or Grater
48 Oz. Pitcher
Plastic Wrap


Macerate (soak) the berries, Clementine juice, zest and the sugar together with the wine in your pitcher. I used a very moderately priced merlot, but feel free to use a Cabernet, Zinfandel or whatever suits your fancy.
Bruise the mint slightly by pinching between your fingers and add to the mixture.
Seal the pitcher up with some plastic wrap.
Allow to infuse overnight so the flavors of the fruits can fully permeate the wine.
When you're ready to serve, pour into a martini or wine glass (with or without ice.)
If you like a little effervescence, add your (or soda).
Garnish with some fresh berries and the mint leaf.


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National Cookie Day is December 4th and National Cookie Month is October.

Updated 12-2018
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