Homemade Grenadine

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Grenadine is a thick, fruity syrup used in cocktails and punches for its sweet flavor and bright red color. There are a number of recipes for Grenadine floating around; but usually the base is pomegranate juice since the name Grenadine come from the French word for pomegranate – grenade. I have seen ones, though, that use cherry juice for a base. One can start with fresh pomegranate juice or bottled. (I use POM.) Some recipes use less sugar. Some use orange flower water instead of citrus juices or zest. Some just have orange, some just lemon. Most – no cinnamon. You get the idea: you can play around with the recipe a bit. Enjoy!

Grenadine

3 1/2 c. pomegranate juice

juice of 2 – 3 lg. lemons

zest of 2 lg. lemons*

juice of 1 orange or blood orange

zest of 1 orange or blood orange*

3 1/2 c. granulated sugar

cinnamon stick, optional

3/4 oz. 151-proof rum**

Add all of the ingredients, except the rum, to a 3- or 4-quart pot. Stir. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook for about 25 minutes or until thick and syrupy and the liquid is reduced by about one third.

Allow to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the peels and cinnamon stick. If desired, stir in the rum – but then remember that you can’t use this in children’s drinks or in mocktails. (I usually divide syrup into two equal portions, add half the rum to one batch but not to the other, and then make sure that I label which is which when I bottle them.) Pour into clean glass bottles and store Grenadine in the refrigerator.

• Using a sharp paring knife, cut strips of zest from the citrus fruits being sure to leave behind the white pith.

** Grenadine can be made up to 2 weeks ahead if one doesn’t add the rum, or up to about 2 months ahead if one does add the rum.

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Hyacinths

I don’t usually cut flowers from my garden. I like to leave them in place for passers-by to enjoy. However, with freezing temperatures approaching, I decided to cut a few hyacinths to bring in the house. Their fragrance is remarkable, so I’m glad to have them inside. Have a lovely day!

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Rosé Sangria

Morning Star Weddings

This light, dry Sangria is perfect for serving with brunch or with hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy!

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1 to 1 1/4 bottles of dry rosé*

1/4 to 1/2 c. orange liqueur

1 c. sliced, fresh strawberries

1/2 c. raspberries

1/2 pear, sliced

1/2 lime, sliced

simple syrup, optional

fresh fruit for garnish

Combine wine, liqueur, and fruit in a glass carafe. Chill for about six hours. Taste. If desired, sweeten with simple syrup. Pour into wine glasses – ice cubes, optional. Garnish with fruit. Enjoy!

* Preferably a dark colored rosé from France or Italy.

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The Next Big Chore

I managed to get our roses bushes pruned a few weeks ago, which was a little early for pruning, but I wanted to get the yard spruced up for a wedding. Now the next big chore is pruning the rest of our shrubs: hydrangeas*, crape myrtles, several varieties of spirea, viburnums, sand cherries, beauty berries, boxwoods, mugo pines, cedars and junipers. No wonder that it seems like a lot to do! 

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This is a hydrangea grandiflora paniculata which blooms best with severe blooming in the spring. It is definitely worth the work!

* Note, spring-blooming hydrangeas should be pruned after blooming. Those that bloom in summer and autumn should be pruned in spring.

Time for More Basil

Back in early October, we had unseasonably cold weather.  So I snipped about a dozen branches from the basil plants in my garden and put them into water, hoping to extend their usable life by a few weeks. To my surprise they rooted and thrived in my kitchen. (I was surprised because I have never had luck keeping potted basil plants inside.) To my even greater surprise, I was able to keep them going for six months … well at least one of them. Because I used their leaves all winter, I am down to the last stem on my last branch. They were incredibly easy to keep going. I just changed the water and washed out the jars about once a week. What a wonderful, unexpected run of fresh basil. It is still too early to put new plants into the ground, as basil is not very cold hardy. However, I can start a few pots and just bring them in when the temperatures are about to dip too low. Yay! No need to be without this wonderful herb!

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Have a lovely weekend!