Beautyberry Bug Juice and “Bad Sugar” Syrup

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I decided to try two other possible uses for Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) before I finished up house sitting for my in-laws in sunny Florida.

Bug repellent:  An old folk remedy, USDA has had positive results in their research of beautyberry as an insect repellent (I will post the link once the government shutdown has run it’s course and the website is back up).

I wanted to poach some of my mother-in-law’s bamboo for some camp kitchen projects before I left, so I thought there would be no better time to test out Beautyberry Bug Juice on the rabid Florida mosquitos. I raided her liquor cabinet, liberated a bottle of vodka, and boiled up some leaves.

Before heading out to the bamboo grove, I slathered up the left side of my body with the juice (t-shirt & shorts) and I am very happy with the results.

Protected area = 1 mosquito bite      Unprotected area = 11 bites

That is good enough to warrant further trials in my book!

Syrup: Don’t waste your time. We wanted to try some syrup out on our ice cream and used the standard 2:1 ratio of sugar to juice. In the words of my step-daughter “it tastes like bad sugar”. I guess the pectin really adds to the jelly. Not to worry, we salvaged dessert with some jelly on the ice cream.

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Five days in Florida is over. We got to forage and sample some sea grapes and a couple palm species. As I was hauling a backpack with 30 jars of beautyberry jelly, some bamboo bowls, and a 24″ section of bamboo back to the mountains, I chuckled to myself thinking about my mother-in-law, who I affectionately call Granny, returning home.

Why is my kitchen so sticky?”… “Who cut my bamboo down?”…. and “Where is my VODKA??”

Thanks Granny!! See you at Christmas : – )

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