Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A-popping and a-perking

There are 4 gallons of wine currently popping and perking away in my kitchen, a result of some mass foraging, and an executive decision to make more of those wines we've enjoyed most. So, two gallons of gorse wine, and two of dandelion, all a-fermenting away like crazy.
(The expression 'barmy', now an antiquated term for stone bonker, comes I think from the word 'barm', ie, yeast. A barmy person has a brain that is fermenting and bubbling with crazy gases, just as my wine is doing).
Now if I had a greenhouse, I'd move the demijohns into that greenhouse right now, because what comes out of those bubbling airlocks is very largely carbon dioxide. Which is a... well, it's a greenhouse gas, I suppose, and overall then a bad thing.
In small quantities, however, and in the right place, f'rinstance in a greenhouse full of plants, where soil fertility, temperature and water supply are all properly calculated for good growth, it makes the plants come on like gangbusters faster.
I don't have a greenhouse, alas, but I do have a large kitchen windowsill, with plants on it, and have recently doubled the area by persuading my Beloved to install a plank shelf across the middle, also with plants on it. So the plants are getting the benefit of the bubbles.
Last time I made gorse wine it was very pretty to look at - bright lemon curd yellow - but a bit disappointing in taste and body. A little bit sour and thin, we thought. I made it with the flowers and just a couple of lemons, which I think did not give enough oomph. This time round I added 300 grams of chopped sultanas, juice and peel of 1 orange and 2 lemons to two litres of flowers, to every gallon of water and kilo of sugar, or thereabouts, plus a mug of strong black tea for the tannin. So it might turn out with a bit more body and smoothness, I hope. We shall see... in about 8 months time.
The dandelion wine, however, has always been exemplary. I make it with dried fruit (either unsulphurated apricots, or chopped raisins) and the result is like a fino sherry. Yum yum. I do hope this batch - 2 gallons made with apricots and some of the sugar muscovado, will be as good.
I should here plug the wonderful Roy's of Wroxham, who now sell plastic reusable demijohns for a mere £1.75 each. A snip, though the "groms" which hold the airlocks in the tops are sold seperately and will set you back another 49p apiece.
So... now those wines are transferred into the demijohns, my fermentation crocks are empty. What is next? I made bramble tip a few years ago and it was good, and kept well too (we finished the last of the 2007 batch just now). Only I can't quite remember the exact recipe - it had no fruit added, and muscovado sugar, that I do recall. Hmm.
I've never made nettle wine, or lime blossom wine, or may blossom wine, so I might try those next. Lots of nettles still around my way, and the may blossom is just coming out. Lime blossom I will look for later on. Just a gallon of each, I think...

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