Well.... have got myself set for xmas. every day at end of summer hols whilst walking the dog and playing on the mountains with the kids ive collected a bag of blackberries a few elderberries etc and frozen them... surprising how much you can collect by just grabbing a bag at a time, soon builds up.
Yesterday i filled two demijons with these delicious fruits and a little sugar and topped one jar up with vodka and one with brandy. . Ohh joy..i cant wait - hic
I have to admit to cheating a little and bought some dried elderberries from my friend at local healthfood store, he saves me a load for this time of year.
I have been waging war against the local bird population ... there is a lovely elder tree next to my land and i have pruned it and given it loads of lush rabbit manure and the tree was laiden with fat berries this year.... i go away for a few days and the tree was decimated!! Now so far ive tied wire accross it and attatched silver foil from baking tins and old cd's so much so that it would make a great alternative to an xmas tree but doesnt seam to bother them at all... in fact the magpie chatters even more..as if mocking me
I like adding the elderberries for that deep port type flavour .
i have noticed this year that the hawthorn bush next to it has enjoyed the benifits of the mulch too and must plan to do something with those. I have a couple of wine recipes for them and the rowan too, which seam to be out en-mass this year... some serious hill walking here me thinks.
A whole demijohn! that must take a lot of vodka to top up . I've never made blackberry liqueurs but each year I make a batch of sloe gin, and sometimes slow brandy or sherry. These neeed seveal months to extract the flavour though. I've got a freezer full of blackberries, damsons, and some elderberries. I usually make wine but this year I might have a go at some kind of berry vodka drink...
Yes it is rather a lot but i fear its not all for me a few bottles go as prezzies and others are great bartering tools
I used to have half demijons.. they were great for this sort of thing. I prefer to do these things in bulk as you get better flavour IMHO.
By freezing the fruit first you speed up the extraction of juice and flavour as the expansion of water molecule in the freezing process breaks down the cell walls. I do the same with sloes and berries in wine making.. again IMHO by using this method the wine is finnished a little earlier the flavour is a little more refined as opposed to pouring hot water over the berries where there is a slight change with the sugars and startches. I guess the only way i can describe it is to compare fresh fruit and stewed or fruit compot. If im doing a hedge row 'port type' wine i will use hot water for this reason to get a heavy fruit flavour.
In previous years, I've used boiling water to get extra flavour out of the fruit and I'd wondered about the difference the 'cooked fruit' might make to the wine but I don't really have space (or fruit) for multiple demijohns of wine. Earlier this year I started making 'experimental' 1.5-2 litre batches using 2 litre plastic jugs, making a hole in the lid and fitting an airlock that way. I guess I could split my fruit and try cooked vs room temp juice extracting.
I also use the same sized jug to make the sloe gin etc too. Since we buy cider in 2 litre jugs from country shows, we have a lot of spare jugs now
I started freezing sloes to save having to prick them for sloe gin but to be honest the main reason I freeze the wine-making fruit is because it takes a few weeks to collect because living in a city centre I only have access to a small area where they grow
I put most of my remaining blackberry haul into a jar with sugar and brandy tonight.
I bought the jar especially in Tesco tonight and was disappointed to find out the lid wasn't a good seal. I found this out when I gently swilled the jar for the first time.
That jumper's in the wash now and the jar will be extra gently swilled until the sugar's dissolved, then I'll transfer the contents to another one.
Hate that when it happens, hope the stain comes out
That happened to me today with a jar from ASDA - thought it was too much of a bargian at £1 for a litre jar but seal not good, got purple stains all over the kitchen wall and floor.
Bramble brandy is lovely - but you need to take the brambles out much sooner than you would sloes or it goes woody in flavour.
Shortage of jars is the limiting factor for me at the mo in my sloe gin / vodka and bramble brandy making.
Hi Jane , welcome to the forum. I have got some great stuff that seems to take lots of stains out of things but the worse thing is I bought it in America and have no idea what it is in it, although it does say natural - I suspect it is some kind of enzyme type of thing
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