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Brandied Fruit Herbie

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BRANDIED FRUIT HERBIE

     Brandied Fruit “Herbie” has been a longtime favorite of my family’s kitchen through out the generations. It is a sweet, homemade alcoholic concoction that is made on your kitchen windowsill in an old large pickle jar. As a kid we always had a large jar of “Herbie” on the refrigerator. This recipe was always just called Brandied Fruit by my grandmother and aunts; I named it Herbie after my favorite Disney movie “Herbie, the love bug” when I was probably 7 years old or so. My mom would flame it (to burn off the alcohol) over vanilla bean ice cream for us kids, make upside down cake and she would give it away as gifts to friends. As an adult, I have had a Herbie as a staple in my kitchen and too have given as gifts to my friends. The process is simple and the results are amazing. If you are looking for a great RUSTIC and SIMPLE addition to your kitchen, make a “Herbie” for your kitchen and go back to a time when people made their own alcohol. I hope you enjoy your Herbie as much as I enjoy mine!

TO MAKE A HERBIE STARTER:

1 jar (about 16 ounces) of pitted unsweetened Morello cherries in juice, drained well

1 can chunky fruit cocktail in juice, drained well

organic sugar (about 3 cups, see below)

1 large RECYCLED GLASS pickle jar or mason jar (1 gallon size) no lid needed, sterilized and dry

1 8 x 8 square of cheese cloth or soft wash cloth (I use a hand knitted washcloth my grandmother made)

large thick rubber band

clean wooden spoon

Mix the two fruits well in a bowl with a clean wooden spoon, measure and return to the bowl. Now measure out same amount that fruit was of organic sugar and mix with fruit very well, set aside for 10 minutes and stir again. In your prepared jar, add the fruit and sugar mixture. Use a damp clean cloth and wipe any mixture that got onto the sides, mouth or outside. Now place the cloth on top and secure with the rubber band. Set in your windowsill away from the draft (on the counter works too or on top of refrigerator if you have minors in the house).

Now, everyday (preferably around the same time everyday) remove the cloth/ rubber band and give it a quick stir with a clean wooden spoon to mix it all up good . This will prevent any mold developing and to assure even fermentation of all the fruit. Replace the cloth and rubber band. DO THIS EVERYDAY… After a couple days to a week, you will start to see bubbles rising through it. After it starts to bubble, your mix will have a slight foam and bubble on the top of it when you mix it, don’t be alarmed, this is good. As the fruit starts to ferment it releases Co2, turns the sugars to alcohol, and ferments the fruit. Thus your Herbie is born.

AFTER 3 WEEKS: FEED YOUR HERBIE

In a large clean and dry bowl, mix your Herbie with 1 can chunky fruit cocktail in juice (drained) and 1 cup organic sugar, mix well. Wash out your jar with hot water ONLY and dry. Put new mixture in and with a damp clean cloth wipe inside, mouth and outside clean. Replace the cloth and rubber band. CONTINUE THE DAILY ROUTINE AS NOTED ABOVE…

AT THE 6TH WEEK MARK: FEED HERBIE AGAIN

In a large clean and dry bowl, mix your Herbie with 1 jar about 12 ounces of pitted unsweetened Morello cherries in juice (drained well) and 1 cup organic sugar, mix well. Wash out your jar with hot water ONLY and dry. Put new mixture in and with a damp clean cloth wipe inside, mouth and outside clean. Replace the cloth and rubber band. CONTINUE THE DAILY ROUTINE AS NOTED ABOVE…

AT THE 9TH WEEK MARK: SPLIT HERBIE / EAT HERBIE

At this point Herbie should be alive and well; I always get a kick out of him bubbling and watching him ferment.

TO SPLIT: Pour all of Herbie into a large clean bowl, mix well. In a second sterilized gallon jar immediately measure 2 cups of Herbie in (so you get fruit and liquid) — give as a gift or start a new Herbie. Give the directions that when they receive him is to wait 1 week and then feed him on the above schedule.  Reserve the rest of Herbie for yourself, start a new feeding schedule, break into more gifts or eat.

TO EAT HERBIE:

-put 1/4 cup Herbie over natural vanilla bean ice cream (21 years old and older dessert)

-1/4 cup Herbie over natural vanilla bean ice cream , flame for 10 seconds (carefully light with match and allow to burn out [USE CATION!! IT IS FLAMMABLE] for under 21 years old or non-drinkers dessert)

-use in place of pineapple in herbie upside down cake recipe– just use enough to make single layer and follow your favorite recipes directions after

-muddle 1/4 cup Herbie in a high ball glass, pour 2 ounces bourbon over it and splash with lemon-lime soda for a HERBIE OLD FASHIONED (definitely 21 years and older dessert)

WARNING: DO NOT SEAL THE JAR—IT WILL EXPLODE! This recipe needs to breath because it omits Co2 and the jar will explode, NOT GOOD! We had one explode when I was a kid….

SECOND WARNING: This recipe is actively producing alcohol so do not allow minors to eat without baking or flaming out alcohol!

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