Friday, September 01, 2006

Your father smelt of Elderberries...

I no longer consider this to be an insult - the pythons were deluded fools!...And this is why.

First off the kids picked enough elderberries for a wine lake. Half the neighbourhood kids under the age of 13 were up in the trees like little crows. But heck you don't know how many berries you've got while they're on their little umbrells. You have to strip them off with a fork, which is great fun when you start, because they ping off all over the kitchen like miniscule black ink bombs. But if you do as many as this it becomes tiresome... (I bore easily!) However they do look all yummy and glossy like great fat caviar.

I was furnished with some excellent recipes and advice...

But I mixed and matched a bit, because quite a few knowledgeable types suggested that some apples and/or plums might lighten the wine in a pleasant sort of way. So as the neighbours' apple and plum trees were tantalisingly offering their bounty over their owners' perimeters, I stuck some in. The apples took on a rather fetching pink colour from the eldedrberry juice. Look at that! Good enough to eat!

The idea then was to slosh in a bit of water and boil them up to kill off any bad bacteria. Hmm yes but those old grannies had bloody great cauldrons, didn't they? I found I had to use every pan in the house!

I sloshed the fruit into the "primary fermentation vessel" - that's a bloody great bucket to you - and as I hadn't been able to get the sugar in the pans, as well as all that goodness, I dissolved the sugar in some water from the kettle and sloshed it in after the fruit.

You have to give it a stir, then wait until it's lukewarm to stir in the yeast. And there it sits - stewing for a couple of days.

This weekend I'm due to sieve the mixture... I (not unlike the Kaiser Chiefs) predict a riot... the potential for purple goo all over the shop is positively thrilling! Then the bung and airlock go in and I shall have to use every means at my disposal to resist the tempation to drink the wine for at least six weeks.

That's 5 gallons or 30 bottles. Should be ready for Christmas at a pinch. Yum!

I may regale you in another post with elderberry trivia, such as the fact that elderberries come from elder (Sambucus nigra) which is where you get sambuca (you know the liqueur witha coffe bean in it that you light in restaurants)which is made by infusing Elderberries and anise into alcohol.

Or I might not...


Anonymous Sarnia said...

Isn't it easier just to pay your local wine merchant a call?

Seriously though the pics are great and you've obviously put a lot of effort in - may I place my order for a couple of bottles now please?

Fri Sep 01, 04:54:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

You may be right, Sarns!

But it smelt delicious in the making - like a summer pudding - which is pretty much what it looked like! Der!

Hope it's drinkable...if not I'll give it to the student and not bother again! Sadly if it's great I'll have to wait until next year for the next elderberries - you can't win!

Fri Sep 01, 05:08:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Sarnia said...

Ah yes - the student. When does he go back?

Are there any elderberries left in your vicinity?

If so - why not pick them all; borrow freezer space from several friends and then you can make smaller batches if and when you want.

They don't call me Clever Clogs Sarnia for nothing you know!

Fri Sep 01, 06:11:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Uncle Rupert said...

Looks yummy Gavin, and pix are very good too !!!!

Fri Sep 01, 06:50:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Curmy said...

You did work hard Gavin, has your kitchen recovered yet ? !

Fri Sep 01, 07:54:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Rupe you are shameless! The pictures are rubbish as photos but the digital camera does the job for quick illustration so long as you can see through the screen/viewfinder. Poor Gene's pictures are much better than mine - but he hasn't got a Maine Coon (as far as I know) so I'm sure you're showing favouritism!

Curmy I worked hard making a mess, I let others clean up!

Sarns, I can't be arsed to strip the berries from the stems and remove any green or crusty ones... Anyway it may not turn out quite as yummy as it looks, then what would I do?

Especially as Mrs C and younger daughter came home with what I can only describe a reasonable barrowful (although it was in the boot) of plums, damsons and sloes from her chum's trees. (The sloes and damsons look identical, curiously - the taste's different and one has a stone, whereas 'tother hasn't - but apart from that you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart). My daughter had a riding lesson with Mrs C's chum, then they were drafted into an agricultural labour gang, and spent the two hours before dark apicking.

The aim of the game was intended to be sloe gin, plum brandy and damson vodka. I'm no expert but I'd say a goodly amount of pies, crumbles and jam plus the aquisition of another freezer but mop up some of the leftovers. And they've volunteered to go back and help pick some more! They've barely dented what would appear to be a bumper crop!

Fri Sep 01, 10:02:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger IsobelMagsBuchan said...

I do hope that you had washed your hands first. With men and little boys you just never know where they've had their hands.

Fri Sep 01, 10:48:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Span Ows said...

You 'saved' youself in that last reply...damsons, plums and sloe etc...who cares whether it's pies/ crumble/ wine whatever...after the mention in your post I was hoping for a plum and elderberry wine, which sounds, and I'm sure would be, devine.

P.S. Kingsmill white sliced? no no no!

P.P.S. Great post :-)

Fri Sep 01, 11:23:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

It is Span. Elderberries, apples and plums! But what's the reference to Kingsmill white sliced? Summer pudding?

Mags, it all adds to the flavour! :-)
No you cheeky whatnot! With wine you have to be as scrupulous about clenliness as with babbies bottles!

Fri Sep 01, 11:42:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Sarnia said...

How bucolic, Gavin - like something out of The Darling Buds of May.

I was in Sark last weekend and there were zillions of blackberries just aching to be picked.

My (solitary) tomato plant still has ripening fruit on it - of the ones that fail to ripen by end of Sept., I shall make a green tomato chutney.

Sat Sep 02, 10:02:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

We're 'perfick', Sarns!

My tomatoes are still laden with trusses, I think we'll have a lot more red ones, particularly the cherry toms.

We did a green tomatoe chutney earlier in the summer before the main crop had ripened. It's delicious. Needs 2lbs of green toms - will you have enough? If so I'll post the recipe.

Sat Sep 02, 10:10:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Tomatoe? I spit on my typing skills!

Sat Sep 02, 10:10:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Sarnia said...

I was wondering about the 'e' at the end too - tomato for singular and tomatoes for plural - is that right?

I won't have nearly enough for 2lbs but shall just scale down accordingly.

I have an ancient green tom chutney recipe but am always interested in more - post away please!

Sat Sep 02, 10:23:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Since you asked so nicely, Sarnia, I'll do you a special post!

Sat Sep 02, 12:10:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Paul said...

Excellent post Gavin, looking at the pictures I could almost smell the elderberries - I've done this myself many moons ago and you just want to stick your head in the bucket of warm liquor and die (okay a bit OTT but you know what I mean).

Elderberries, like Tayberries, Loganberries and George Berry are the forgotten heroes of English autumns.

P.s For those who don't know or care George Berry played for Wolves in the seventies and wore an Afro so big that it was a danger to low flying aircraft and kites flown by small children.

Sat Sep 02, 12:39:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Paul, I went out with George Berry. that afro was amazing ;-)

Sat Sep 02, 01:44:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Yes Paul curiously enough the juice smelt and looked like red wine immediately, with a bit of sugar, apple and plum in there, makes you want to slurp it all now!

You are playing word association football Baldy - that bloke doesn't bear any resemblance to my fruit!

Whence goeth youth Mags, hair today and gone tommorow eh?

Sat Sep 02, 07:02:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Paul said...

Too right Gavin but by playing WAF it yielded a surprise reply from Mags didn't it.

Sat Sep 02, 07:10:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Then we must 'tease' the story out of her...geggit? 'tease'... hair....oh well...

Sat Sep 02, 07:27:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Sarnia said...

Paul - I didn't realise you were Baldino from the MBs!

Gavin Viking - thank you very much indeed for the 'special post'.

Sun Sep 03, 02:21:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Sarnia, he's incognito ;-). He's been busily blogging years before us and never dropped a bloody clue on th MB! I think it was Six that outed him...

The story of Mags dating the Berry and his hair is afoot over at Baldinio's.

Sun Sep 03, 04:49:00 PM GMT+1  

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