Pickled Paperwhites

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Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are an age-old Southern Christmas tradition. Beautifully dished in a shallow layer of pea gravel, Paperwhites rapidly form roots and begin to produce gorgeous white, fragrant flowers within 2-3 weeks. Despite the beauty, one common problem that occurs is flopping. As the paperwhites grow, they can quickly become top-heavy. Southern ladies, however, know a trick that has been handed down for generations to help keep Paperwhites standing tall throughout the holiday season.

The Recipe

If you ever wondered why your Great Aunt Indye kept a bottle of gin on the top shelf of her cupboard, even though she never touched a drop, this is why. By “watering” her Paperwhites with a diluted solution of gin and water, Indye and other Southern ladies were able to stunt the stem and leaf growth that resulted in a slightly shorter but much stouter plant with flowers just as large and fragrant. Begin your bulbs with straight water until the roots and green shoots start to grow. This should be a week or so. Then, introduce a solution of 5% gin and water. To achieve the perfect pairing, of course, we suggest using only Paperwhite bulbs from Stone Brothers & Byrd and Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gin.

To reach a 5% solution, combine 1 part Conniption Gin with 7 parts of water. It’s as simple as that. Use your connipted concoction to “water” as normal and you will quickly see beautiful results. Your Paperwhites will be a bit shorter but will be beautifully proportioned and able to stand on their own without stakes, supports or other unsightly props. Once your Paperwhites are properly fortified, we’re sure you’ll discover other delicious ways to enjoy Durham’s own Conniption Gin. Cheers.

Conniption Paperwhites

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