A quick interlude post before I tell you about some adventures in Garb making and a very lovely and relaxing time with fellow SCAdians at the Dun in Mara garb making weekend. There was also lovely food courtesy of Lady Juliette (OMG deep fried courgettes, I forget how much I adore them) But before all that I must say some things about the making of elderberry wine and raspberry and froachán melomel.
The elderberry wine got off to a dodgy start when I got to the planned harvest site where there have been enormous quantities of the things since I was young enough to take the trouble to lay them out on the road and stomp on them to fake gruesome murder sites. (Not today or yesterday.) Some kind and considerate person has taken some tractor mounted hedge cutter and has torn the entire face off every elder tree along the quiet country road. Luckily I remembered another site and while these ones weren’t as pleasingly plump as the other site’s had been shaping up to be, they were properly ripe and juicy. I gathered about a kilo of them for batch one, set about de-stalking them with a fork then picked it over to remove the less ripe ones. I added an equal quantity of sugar, some citric acid and red wine yeast and let them stew happily with at least one good stir for 5 days. I am not as patient as I should be when straining the used berry mix through muslin, I sure I slopped a good glass full over the counter top through sheer impatience. The whole lot is successfully strained, airlocked into a demijohn and it’s been cheerfully bubbling away ever since.
Project 2 is the melomel. I’m a little bit excited about this one because the flavour of the honey and fruit before I added the yeast was nicely intense. I may be a bit of a sucker for raspberry melomel and fraocháns are probably my favourite berries in all the world. I froze the fruit for a couple of weeks first, let it mush as it thawed and then let my 12 year loose on it with a potato masher. I then heated 2 cups water per 1 cup honey for 3lbs of honey and boiled it for 10 minutes.
Ugh, right? It never ceases to amaze me how much scum comes off of boiled honey and water, and how much it looks like the scum you remove when boiling bacon, but it removed water impurities I’m told and idled away the waiting time. Again impateince as I waited for the honey water to cool to proper blood heat temperatures, but I went off and did something useful and the result meant I had great fun for a couple of days watching the fruit trying to escape from the fermenting vessel. It seems to be bubbling along very happily, no more escape attempts and it has an amazing colour. Fingers crossed this one is going as well as I think it is.