I really try to eat locally grown produce. It enables me to do my part for the environment by not buying produce that's been trucked or flown in from gods' know where. It also helps me stay in tune with the cycles of the land on which I live. In addition, eating food that's been locally grown is better for me. As soon as produce is harvested, it begins losing its nutritional punch. Plus when food has to endure long, hot, bumpy truck rides, the abuse and subsequent bruising can cause oxidation and loss of nutrients. Finally, buying locally enables me to feed my local economy while I feed my body and my spirit.
Unfortunately, sometimes that means I can't have strawberries in January, fresh pumpkin in April, or corn on the cob in February. For these reasons, I like to preserve the harvest. Not only does it enable me to enjoy out-of-season foods, but when I personally preserve it, the spiritual and energetic connection with the food helps me enjoy it all the more.
Making liqueurs is one of my favorite ways to preserve fresh fruits. Making them is easier than canning and the end product is awesome. They can be used in cooking, given as gifts, used in mixed drinks or just consumed straight. I'm always delighted when I open my broom closet door to see jar after jar of exquisitely colored liqueur. Though I have a couple books on making liqueurs, both with recipes for Cranberry Liqueur, I decided to try Gunther Anderson's recipe.
I followed the recipe as it was written with only a few exceptions. First, I don't have a food processor, so I used a blender to chop the cranberries. Second, I didn't have any oranges, so I only used lemon rind. I can always add some orange rind after my next trip to the store. Finally, I doubled the recipe because I had a lot of cranberries. If you'd like to try this recipe and don't have a scale to weigh the cranberries, I can tell you that on my digital food scale, 16 ounces of cranberries turned out to be about 4 cups.
For the most part, liqueurs are vegan. The ones that aren't typically call for some sort of cow milk product to produce creamy liqueurs like Irish Cream, Strawberries N' Cream, and others. But living without these is fine. I am quite happy with my current stock of homemade liqueurs which includes Pink Lady Apple, Triple Berry, Blueberry, Autumn Spice, Vanilla-Banana, Pomegranate, and the Cranberry Liqueur I made today. Though it'll be a couple months 'til I can start enjoying it, the wait is always worth it!
There's a short post on the folklore associated with cranberries in my other blog, Conjure Crafts.