Today I started making a batch of about 23 Liters (32 bottles of wine) of a blackcurrant and apple rose wine. It is the intention to ferment all the sugars and produce a dry Rose. The juice was extracted from the fruit, filtered and purified with potassium metabisulphite and then fermented, not on must, but directly with the juice. The PH was adjusted to 3.1 by adding a combination of citric and tartaric acids, using the titration method to determine PH as it is more accurate. After measuring the specific gravity with a hydrometer, it was adjusted to a level of 1090 by adding sugar, which, if all fermented, should produce a wine of about 12 % alcohol. Starting with 2 to 3 liters more than the main vat can take gives you product to top up with, from time to time, after racking and filtering. This smaller quantity is fermented in a separate smaller jar (5 Liters) until used. Red wine yeast and nutrients were added and fermentation traps fitted and the long process of fermenting, racking, clearing and filtering started, to hopefully bottle in about four months time when the specific gravity has reached a level of less than 1000. I rack and filter more frequent than normal, as I like a clear clean drinking wine. This should be a very palatable dry table wine, light red or rose in colour with very little sweetness, a good nose, clean taste and medium body, which is the way I like my lunch time wine.
My home made still in full flight!
How to make Limoncello
1. Collect 1 Liter alcohol from the still (about 97 % Alcohol)
2. Peel the rind (no pith) from 8 organic, unwaxed smooth lemons and cut it in fine strips. Now put the alcohol and lemon peel in a glass container, shake, close and put in a cool dark place. Turn / shake the bottle once a day for about six weeks
3. Filter through a double muslin cloth and discard solids. Then filter the alcohol through a carbon filter as it results in a cleaner end product, if you do not have a carbon filter, just proceed after the muslin filtering
4. Dilute the alcohol with cool distilled water (made with the still) to a alcohol content of about 40 % (Use Pearson square).
5. Mix 1 Kg of sugar in the alcohol mixture and stir to dissolve well. Start with about 700 g sugar and taste the end product and keep adding small amounts of sugar, until you are happy with the sweetness of the end product
6. Bottle, label and store
I had to photograph the result of a cooking discussion or, cooking bickering, if you must.
The great thing about being self sufficient and eating from the vegetable patch is the joy of harvesting something one grew oneself. It is organic and fresh even if, at time whatever is harvested is gnarled and puny it still tastes wonderful. The bad thing is that one is held hostage by the blackbird that eats all the seedlings the chickens overlooked when they were free ranging last time. The seasons and climate, especially here in Dunedin , dictate whether things grow or not and the person in control of the garden constantly suffers arched inquiries as to why in the world so much (or so little) of something was planted
Sometimes there is a glut of something and then the search for a great recipe, or, often many great recipes of one particular vegetable or fruit depending on the amount harvested. The frantic paging through the cookbooks begin, and since my 200 plus books are all about regional Italian cooking the search can not be narrowed down to, say, Indian or Chinese, and mutterings of ‘ it was always in this book, where has it gone’ are commonplace. A lot of time is spent getting side tracked when I see something fondly remembered or something I always wanted to try. Once the recipe is selected sudden resistance from the household to the ingredients could flare up, prompting the beginning of a new search and the hauling out of more books!
I am prepared for the winter when there will be no cherries at all. I shall be drinking the cherry infused brandy and eating the cherries in front of the fire!
Cherries in Brandy
350 g sugar
1 liter brandy
Ripe, unblemished cherries, stalks on, washed. stones in
Dissolve the sugar in the brandy. Cut the end of the cherry stalks off leaving about 1/2 of the stalk on the cherry and prick the cherry with a needle on the opposite side of the stem. Pack the cherries in the jars, ensure that the jars are full enough so that the cherries will not float around later. Pour the brandy mixture in the jars, make sure that all the cherries are covered. Store in a cool dark place for 3 months before eating.
I try very hard but I always eat mine up long before the 3 months are past and they always taste wonderful!
During summer months I always have a bottle of ginger and another of wheat beer brewing. There is nothing better than relaxing under the apple tree with a glass of cold Home Made Ginger Beer, after a long day in the vegetable garden.
Take 1 Kg of whole wheat and soak it in water for three days. Discard water and ad 250 g of raw sugar, 1500 ml water, 20 g dry yeast, 200 g crushed sultanas and 200 g finely cut whole fresh ginger to the wheat and put it in a glass container with a lid that can release the gas if the pressure becomes too much. Let it stand in a warm place in the kitchen. After two days, drain the water (ginger beer) through a cheesecloth and ad 250 g raw sugar, 1500 ml water and a teaspoon of dry ginger powder to the remaining solids and replace lid – this last step can be repeated every two days for several months. Ginger Beer will not be nice for the first few times, and may have to be discarded, but become delicious soon after. When the temperature is warmer, the process can be sped up by changing water more frequently and vice versa. Beer should rest for 12 hours after draining, before drinking.
The same as above, but leave out the sultanas, fresh ginger and dried ginger powder