Saturday, May 1, 2010
Happy May Day!
Caprilands May Wine
1 gallon Rhine wine
12 sprigs or more sweet woodruff
1 10-ounce package sliced frozen strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brandy (optional)
1 quart fresh strawberries or 1 twenty-ounce bag frozen whole strawberries
Pick the woodruff and heat 3 or 4 leaves in the oven to bring out the coumarin which has the fragrance of new-mown hay and is a fixative for other odors. Let stand in the wine 3 to 7 days to bring out the flavor. Or, follow the suggestion of a German friend and get this woodruff flavor by putting the herb in a bottle of brandy for use at any time through the year.
To prepare the bowl: Put in a block of ice, ladle the wine mixture over it to chill; add the brandy if you wish. Mash sliced strawberries with sugar. Stir into the wine mixture. (Remove the dried woodruff or not, as you wish.) Garnish with fresh woodruff and scatter spring flowers upon the pink surface of the punch, as Johnny-jump-ups and purple and white violets. Put a whole strawberry in each cup and a floating flower as you ladle in the punch. Makes about 50 punch-cup servings.
Hints: Champagne is tradiitional for May wine punch. Sometimes we use half champagne and half Rhine wine. With champagne, the punch must be served immediately. To avoid diluting the wine too much, especially if you are serving for several hours, pack the bowl in a large vessel of ice. Do not use quick-melting ice cubes, but a large block of ice in the bowl.
For Wine Jelly of fine flavor, use leftover punch, allowing 2 cups of it to 2 cups of granulated sugar with commercial liquid pectin to make it jell.
Recipe taken from Simmons, Adelma Grenier, Herb Gardening in Five Seasons, New York: Plume, Page 82.
Just thinking, maybe there is a new flavor of jelly in my future! Hope you had a great day and you can use this recipe some other day in May!