Valley Bounty: Eggnog

Mentioning eggnog is just as likely to elicit a look of revulsion as it is nostalgia-soaked holiday cheer. Its name, too, is a subject of debate: some believe it comes from the Middle English word noggin, which referred to a small wooden cup often used for alcohol, while others claim the word “nog” once referred to a particular style of strong English ale. To my knowledge, eggnog is only type of “—nog” still being consumed, though it would be fascinating to be proven wrong about this. The recipe itself is believed to be based on a medieval English beverage called posset, which was sometimes used to treat cold and flu symptoms and was popular with the well-to-do (eggs and milk were not easy to come by in those days).

If you’re mostly familiar with store-bought eggnog and aren’t much of a fan, but are open to having your mind changed, I suggest trying it homemade with local ingredients. Heat a quart of milk in a saucepan with clove, cinnamon, and vanilla for about five minutes. Whisk together twelve egg yolks and a cup and a half of sugar, then slowly add the hot milk and whisk to combine. Return to the stove and simmer until thickened, strain out the cloves, stir in a quart of cream and a pinch of nutmeg, and refrigerate overnight to enjoy the next day (with a splash of whiskey or rum, if you feel so inclined).

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)