It’s not that that often we have any wine leftover, let alone wine old enough to be verging on vinegar*, but when we do our thrifty spirit sets in. We go into super saver mode scouring the cabinet for leftover bits and pieces of dried fruit, end of bottle cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, shriveling oranges, tangerines or clementines. Then we set to work making wonderful stewed fruits in aromatic wine syrups.

SO easy. SO delicious. SO fragrant.

Our last batch consisted of 3/4 of a bottle of red wine, 3/4 cup sugar, several green cardamom pods, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 star anise, several black peppercorns, cloves, Medjool dates, raisins, and tangerines used two ways-zested and segmented.  We boiled the sugar and wine together for several minutes then added the spices wrapped in cheesecloth (a tea ball works, too), the tangerine zest and cooked on high for several more minutes. Then we simmered the mixture for approximately 20-30 minutes. Then we added the fruits cooking until we had a rich, lovely syrup and the fruits were plump and glossy. We served this in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of mint.

There is no magic or formula. Add prunes, apricots, dates, grapefruit segments–anything that makes you happy or  you just to need to get rid of… Let your creative juices flow: adjust the sweetness, sharpness, fruitiness, alcohols, spices and cooking time to suit your taste.

* On occasion, we actually do make vinegar with a mother from another vinegar bottle –but, that’s for another day.