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As summer draws to a close(if it could ever be considered to have started)the hedgerows are full of fruit,blackberries,etc.A few years ago we were out all day picking pounds of them,which I squeezed and bottled.My daughter loved the juice chilled,and I was surprised when the bottles in the fridge started to ferment in just a couple of days so added some additional sugar and left it alone for a few weeks.The result was alchoholic blackberry juice that blew your head off from just a couple of glasses.We also had an apple tree at my last address in the garden,I created about ten gallons of home-brewed cider,very nice on a hot summer day but same problem...it blew your mind making mowing the lawn a difficult task to perform without much hilarity.
Many years ago,my father would brew his own beers & my mother the wines.Tea wine,ideal as creosote,orange wine,ideal as dye for glass(long as you were wanting orange)blueberry(picked from the fells in the lake district,killing two birds with one stone as we got the fruit & a heap of healthy exercise at the same time)damson,nettle beer/ginger beer,the list just went on and on.My mothers blackberry wine was given to us children diluted with hot water as a "cold cure" similar to nightnurse only much nicer.
How many of you make your own,be it just juices or beers/wines or even spirits(my mother made a few bottles of liqueur which I still have as I found them in the "wine cellar" of our old home(under the floorboards in a cupboard under the stairs)and although the labels have long since departed my mother reckons they're likely her cherry brandy or a mixture of fruits she fancied trying.
Chegs ®™ I love the sound of your home made drinks.
They must be wonderful; well after a glass or two!
I had a surprise to-day when I opened a bottle of gin and had a wee taste. It was sitting in the hall way at home.
"Oh no" said my wife.
"That was delivered by mistake in our on-line order"!
"Ah well. I'll pay for it".
Funny thing is they haven't come back for it yet and some poor sod is missing out.
I'm a keen country wine maker and will have a go at making wine from any and all of the hedgerow produce - and more so long as it isn't toxic.
I'm always very surprised, living in the deepest rurality, that so few people take advantage of this free harvest and seemingly most of what I don't pick is left to rot. Is it because most of the country people are really townies and don't have a clue as to what these things are?
Local supermarkets sell blackberries at £1-90 a punnet (special half price offer!) and people buy them when only a few feet away from where they have parked their car are blackberries in abundance just waiting to be gathered. Same with chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, raspberries, bilberries, mushrooms (although I can perhaps understand that with some).
Looks to be a good year for sloes so I'll be out there after the first frost picking for wine and sloe gin.
I brew my owm beer normally between 3-6%.
And their always seems to be people willing to taste a new batch.
New batch of Ale due in the next few days, this time around 6%.
Did do Cider last year using the apples in the garden, tasted very good;-)
.... for preventing winter colds.
My wife claims it works for her and others who recommended it to her.
Simply fill a pan with elderberries, (stalks and all).
Boil briefly to soften and strain though a jellybag, squeezing a little to get the most juice.
Boil once more with sugar added at about 1lb per pint or to your taste.
When cool enough pour into clean bottles and add about 10 dried cloves each help preserve the stuff.
About a tablespoonful with hot or cold water every day and forget a cold .... says 'er outdoors, (she loves the garden).
Oh, you don't have to swallow the cloves.
I make all my own wine either from picked fruit when available or from "kits", at the moment I've got about 15 gallons going in the shed of different flavours, An initial specific gravity reading does allow you to control the amount of alcohol the finished wine will contain and I usually aim for around 10-12% at least then you can enjoy a couple of glasses without getting legless! ...alB
My mother also made rosehip syrup,a good source of vitamins to ward of various ailments.A favourite of mine from my mothers wine production was the dandelion wine,I also recall nicking various bottles of her wine to be consumed during lunchbreak.Maybe thats the reason I didnt do well at school.I also manufactured my own fruit press from an automatic washing machine drum & a few large threaded bars.Stuff the fruit into a bag(net curtain)chopping the fruit into pieces for apples and such.The "foot" that does the actual pressing was located in a scrapyard and started as a square(like a tile)requiring a little sweat expending to cut to a circle.It's about 1/2 inch thick so plenty strong enough to serve as a press and being stainless steel was a very lucky find.An old bedframe served to provide the "gantry" that holds the winding handles,more round bar from the scrappy.It sits in a large shallow "dish" cut from the bottom of a 5 gallon plastic drum and cost a couple of quid too make(had to buy the plastic plumbing fitting to make a tap for the dish)My partner aint to happy about it though as no matter how careful I am there's always splashes of juice everywhere(including the ceiling)
yeah,true....but its much more fun my way. :)
When I was 8 I made my own ginger ale. Yum
A few years ago it was all the rage to make your own ginger beer, along with all the diy lagers, beers, wines etc. I obtained all the necessary equipment,and brewed/made various drinks. Still have the equipment today in a redundant state, except for a couple of demmi-john jars which contain nice maturing peach schnapps of aged vintage.
Due to over enthusiasm, many a gallon of lager or beer was disposed of via the vegetable patch. Talk about scrumpy marinade on meat products, I think we were the only one's in the area that had beer,lager flavoured veggies.Kept the snails and slugs happy as well!.
Being a temperance person now, my neighbours often have a little tipple of the peach schnapps on special occasions. Nectar of Life they call it.
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