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Category Archives: Recipe

The recipes for various different brews.

Plum Wine

Plum Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 3 months
  • Difficulty: easy but tedious
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Ingredients:
* 2.5 kg plums (picked fresh from beside the canal in our case)
* 1.5 kg sugar
* juice of one lemon
* 1 tsp wine yeast
* 1 tsp pectolase
* 1 gallon just-boiled water
Plums ready to be steeped for wine

Plums ready to be steeped for wine

Along a canal near us there are dozens of plum trees, all of them thick with fruit. In about half an hour we managed to gather 7 and a half kilos of fruit, and there are still plenty on the trees ripening away for us to try and grab another time. So naturally my first thought was of making wine.

Followed closely by a consideration of making chutney, especially as we have some nice chilli peppers for the extra hot stuff.

But as always, the wine comes first.

Firstly wash the plums, then slice them in half and remove the stones. We’re actually making about double the quantities in the recipe, but it should work for a gallon. Drop all of the plums into a bucket, and top it up with water just off the boil. Leave it for a few days to soak out the plummy flavour, stirring whenever you remember, before straining off the liquid into a new fermentation vessel. Add the sugar, top up to a gallon with water and stir energetically to dissolve.

Once dissolved add the lemon juice and wine yeast, and leave it to bubble away for five days – stirring regularly.

After the five days are up siphon the liquid into demijons, and leave it to ferment happily until finished. Rack whenever needed until it’s done, then bottle up and store or drink as needed.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Recipe, Wine

 

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Raspberry Vinegar

Raspberry Vinegar

  • Servings: 1 litre
  • Time: 2 weeks
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
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Ingredients:
* 1 kg raspberries
* 600 ml cider or white wine vinegar
* 450 g granulated sugar
Raspberries just put on to steep

Raspberries just put on to steep

Related to our recent Redcurrant Shrub recipe we now have Raspberry Vinegar on the go. As well as being a pleasant dressing for salads (and I suspect a good dip for fresh bread, with a little oil) this is meant to be a concentrate for drinks and make a very refreshing mix with a bit of soda water.

First take the raspberries, place them in a bowl and smush with a spoon (a highly technical term meaning to crush them a little bit). Add the vinegar. Cover the whole thing with a cloth and leave for 5 days with occasional stirring. Alternatively you can strain the liquid each day, and add fresh raspberries, but that requires a lot of raspberries and more time than we feel like spending.

Once steeped for long enough strain the liquid through a jelly bag without too much squeezing into a saucepan. For every 600 ml of liquid add 450 g of sugar. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for another ten minutes, skimming off any scum that forms. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Finally bottle in a sterilised bottle and seal. Use within 12 months. If mixing with soda water the measures are approximate 2 tablespoons to one glass of soda water.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Preserve, Recipe

 

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Redcurrant Shrub

Redcurrant shrub

  • Servings: 1 litre
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
* 300 ml strained redcurrant juice (see here for how to do the straining)
* 600 ml brandy or rum
* zest of 1 orange
* 1 tsp grated nutmeg
* 300 g granulated sugar
First stage of infusion with rum

First stage of infusion with rum

Mix together the juice, rum (or brandy), orange zest and nutmeg all together and pour into a wide-necked vessel. You’ll get a sort of jelly, which is why you’ll want the wide-necked jar. Leave it in a cool, dark place for seven to ten days to infuse the flavour.

After you’ve left it to infuse pour the mix into a pan, add the sugar and heat gently to about 60 degrees until the sugar is dissolved. Then strain through a jelly bag or muslin before pouring the resulting liquid into a sterilised bottle and sealing. Leave for a few months to mature, and make sure you drink within two years. We’ve not tried it yet but have a strong suspicion it’ll be a perfect winter drink.

The name shrub describes several things, but in this case it describes the fruit liquer that results. Apparently it was particularly popular during the 17th and 18th Century in England so there’s definitely precedence there. It also describes a cocktail which was popular during the Colonial era in America, made with some form of vinegared syrup and spirits or water.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Blending, Experimental, Recipe

 

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Redcurrant Jelly

Redcurrent Jelly

  • Servings: 3-4 jars
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Ingredients:
* 1 kg redcurrants
* 400 ml water
* 450 g sugar
Redcurrant's on for the first simmer

Redcurrant’s on for the first simmer

As you probably know by now we occasionally branch out from just brewing into other preservation methods. As we discovered a redcurrant bush on a nearby abandoned allotment we’ve done just this. Redcurrant jelly holds a particular set of memories for me – mainly of my sister happily devouring whole jars of the stuff at one sitting (this may be a false memory), and we’ll be sending a jar her way once it’s settled.

The actual method to make the jelly is quite simple, although there is a lot of sitting and waiting. First wash the currants thoroughly before adding them to a pan with the water and simmering for around 45 minutes, until they’re nice and soft. Put them in a jelly bag and allow them to strain overnight (or for a few hours if you’re less patient).

Once the juice has strained through the next day, add it to a pan and set to a low boil. For every 600 ml of juice use 450 g of granulated sugar. Once the juice is boiling add the sugar and stir until it’s fully dissolved. Keep boiling for a while longer until the jelly reaches setting point (you can test this by putting a little of the mix and putting it on a cold saucer, let it cool for a minute and poke gently. If it wrinkles then setting point has been reached).

Once it’s ready put the jelly into sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Jars you can either buy from somewhere like Amazon, or just reuse jars you already have. In either case you should wash the jars thoroughly with hot soapy water before sterilising them in the oven at 140 C.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Preserve, Recipe

 

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Flower Wines: Basic Recipe

Basic Flower Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 2 months
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 1 large carrier bag of edible flowers
* 1/2 kg castor sugar
* 300g honey
* 1 tsp citric acid
* 1 tsp wine yeast

As has been mentioned everything seems to be in bloom at the moment and we’ve been making quite a few flower wines. The recipes for these are all pretty much the same, with varying flowers but everything else pretty similar. You can also mix flowers if you choose, so an elderflower and rose wine would use the same basic method.

They’re also very easy, simple, ancient country wine recipes (well, except for the rather modern castor sugar of course).

Essentially the method is:

  1. Remove the flowers from their stems/stalks as these will cause a woody taste to enter your wine
  2. Drop the flowers into a bucket
  3. Add honey (if you’re using it), sugar and citric acid
  4. Add boiling water to just over a gallon (you’ll lose some when you strain the flowers out, but you can always top up with cold)
  5. Leave to steep for a couple of days
  6. Strain through a muslin-lined funnel into a demijon
  7. Add yeast and stopper the demijon with a waterlock, then leave to ferment – racking as appropriate

As you can see, all very simple an easy. Mix and match whichever (edible) flowers you want for different flavours. Some (hawthorn) may be edible but rather unpleasant, while others will be gorgeous, but the best way to find out what you’ll like is to try different flowers and different mixes until you hit upon the perfect one for you. On top of that the foraging itself can be very rewarding, and a great way to get out and about.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Experimental, Foraging, Recipe, Wine

 

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Flower Wines: Elderflower

Lilac Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 2 months
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 1 large carrier bag of elderflowers
* 1/2 kg castor sugar
* 300g honey
* citric acid
* wine yeast

Pauline Eccles [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pauline Eccles [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As everything is in bloom at the moment you may have noticed we have quite a few flowery wines on the brew. The dandelion is still fermenting away at the moment, although we’ll be testing some of it soon. However elder bushes are in full rush, and so we’ve been nabbing some of those flowers (no more than a few from each bush, in order not to over-forage and deprive the area of the plants altogether). So without more ado, an elderflower wine recipe.

First strip the flowers from their stems. I recommend having something entertaining on while you do this, as it is mind-numbing work. Without it you’ll end up with quite a bitter taste to the wine.

Once all the flowers are stripped pour them into a fermentation bucket, boil up enough water to bring it to a gallon and add the boiling water along with the honey, sugar and citric acid. You can actually just use sugar rather than the honey, and add more if you prefer it sweeter, but I find that using a little honey gives wines a slightly richer flavour.

Allow the flowers to steep for a couple of days, and everything else to dissolve, and then strain through a muslin-lined funnel into demijons. Add the yeast, pop in an airlock and leave to bubble away. Rack whenever you feel appropriate until fermentation has definitely stopped (stopper can be added to try and make sure of this, but it is by no means a guarantee and I try not to use additives if I can avoid it, so leaving it until it has definitely finished is my preferred method).

Once finished, bottle and enjoy at leisure.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Foraging, Recipe, Wine

 

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Flower Wines: Lilac

Lilac Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 2 months
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 1 large carrier bag of lilac flowers
* 1/2 kg castor sugar
* 300g honey
* citric acid
* wine yeast

Lilac wine bubbling enthusiastically

Lilac wine bubbling enthusiastically

It has been some time since the last post on here, but the busy period should be over (for now) as we settle back down into more of a routine again. Work’s still going on with the apiary project, which you can get updates on from , and we’ll be getting into fundraising at some point.

For now though there’s a few recipes which need to be shared. There’s a bit of a backlog and we have about 20 gallons on brew at the moment (as well as a new, so far untouched pressure barrel for experimental purposes with nettles and others). Today is a rather flowery concoction, made possible by the discovery of lilac plants growing in gardens and generous people in our local community. We’ve sampled it a few weeks into brewing and are pleased to say that it does seem to still have some of the flowery taste that you’d associate with lilac.

As with most flower wines the first thing is to extract the flavour. To do this strip the flowers from their stems, and drop them into your bucket. Boil up enough water to fill the bucket to the gallon mark, and pour it over. Then leave it all to sit for a couple of days. I tend to add the sugar and honey along with the boiling water, but that can be done later.

Strain the mix into a demijon and add the yeast, then seal and leave to ferment for however long it keeps fermenting. Rack as appropriate (I tend to go with every 2-4 weeks, or whenever the sediment builds up to about a half centimetre in the bottom of the demijon). Once finished, bottle and enjoy.

The basic method here will work for just about any edible flowers, and is a variation of the one we use for dandelions on a regular basis.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Foraging, Recipe, Wine

 

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