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Blueberries are cool in this cocktail

Recipe: Fresh fruit beverage also can be nonalcoholic

Pink-purple cocktail in glass with mint sprig
Now doesn't that look refreshing? Blueberry Smash, coming right up. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

No, no, no, no and nope -- not going to turn that oven on. Not until the A/C is fixed, anyway, and that's a week off. (Another pandemic effect.)

In the meantime, all these gorgeous blueberries are out there. How to use them in a new way that does not involve baking?

Well, I found a great little cocktail recipe that makes the most of the fruit, and also lets me use the excellent cocktail shaker than my son gave me last year. (I taught him to cook, but he's way ahead of me on cocktail making.) If you don't have a shaker, use a small deep bowl or glass measuring container to mix this in, and have a wire strainer at hand.

I used bourbon as the alcohol base, but vodka, tequila or white rum also would work -- whatever floats your boat. Or, for a nonalcoholic version, skip the liquor addition, and finish the drink with ginger ale, club soda or Italian lemon soda.

Blueberry Smash cocktail

Serves 1

Blueberries, lemon slices and mint sprigs ready
Just a few ingredients needed for this drink. Having a mint
plant or two in pots is a nice addition to the kitchen garden.
Ingredients:

1/2 of a lemon, sliced into thin wedges (mine in the photo were too thick)

1/4 cup fresh blueberries (check for stems before using)

8-10 fresh mint leaves (basil would make a good substitute)

2 ounces bourbon, vodka, tequila or white rum

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup* or agave nectar

Ice

Optional garnishes:

Mint sprig, blueberries on a pick or a lemon twist

Instructions:

Place the lemon wedges and blueberries in the shaker, then sprinkle the mint leaves over them. Using a muddler or the thick handle of a wooden spoon, muddle (crush) the mint into the blueberries and lemon wedges until the berries are smooshed and the lemon wedges are broken down.

Add the bourbon, simple syrup, and 6 or so ice cubes to the shaker. Replace the top and shake until it's cold, about 30 seconds. (Stir like crazy if you're making this in a bowl.)

Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Shake the shaker one more time, and using the built-in strainer or a mesh kitchen strainer, strain the drink into the glass. (Add soda here if making it nonalcoholic.) Garnish as desired and enjoy.

*Simple syrup is easy to make in the microwave: Place equal parts granulated sugar and water in a microwave-safe container (glass measuring cup is perfect), zap for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, then allow to cool. Save any extra in a closed container in the refrigerator. It also can be made by boiling the sugar and water on the stove until sugar is completely dissolved.


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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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