Sometimes I run late the entire day. The bed gets made at 3:40 p.m., about 6 hours before it gets unmade. Sometimes I run late a whole season. Winter clothes still not unpacked from bins in the basement on 11/23/10. Yup, that's running late. And the whole daylight saving time business, well, there's a lot of whining about that.
I am in good company. This Hall's Honeysuckle is late, too. Trying so hard to bloom before the inevitable death freeze that I had to clip a sprig to give it half a chance. I'm chanting and dancing around it to get it to open.
In keeping with the late theme, on this last full moon Sunday, a few herbal vinegars finally got tended to. The fresh hawthorn berry/apple cider vinegar was started on 9/3/10 and the fresh serviceberry (a/k/a juneberry) acv was started on Midsummer's Day! Normally I wouldn't let an infused vinegar made with fresh leaves and/or flowers sit this long, 2-6 weeks is plenty. But berries hold up and it's o.k. I use a sieve lined with an old cotton napkin for straining and then store finished herbal vinegars in a handy cool, dark place. To avoid corrosion of the lid, I line the top of the jar with saran/wax paper or better yet, use a plastic lid. Both the hawthorn berries and the serviceberries were still edible at this point and I thought they might've even tasted better then than they did fresh! Nicely plumped up, good color, sweet & sour at once. After tasting about 5 of each resulting in a puckered-up mouth, they went into the compost, but I'm betting a more inventive person would've made good use of them somehow.
freshly-strained hawthorn berry & serviceberry vinegars
Hawthorn, Crataegus oxyacanthoides, vinegar is my all-time favorite vinegar. You may think that it gets used mostly in salad dressings? No. It is simply the best as one tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water taken as a refreshing beverage. It is sweet. It is wonderful. It is medicinal, healthful to your heart and circulatory system. Try it. And if it's not to your liking, there's always honey.
The serviceberry, Amelanchier sp., vinegar is pure experimentation. There is this half-quart of vinegar. There are several packages of frozen serviceberries in the freezer for possible future pies or jams, thinking big here. There is a quart of serviceberry vodka tincture still brewing on the counter. What can I say -- it was a bumper crop of serviceberries and when in doubt, make vinegar & tincture and freeze the rest! What do you do with serviceberries, anyway?
Just kidding about the chanting and dancing.