Generally I go to Harewood to forage for my elderflowers. This year, however, to save both time and petrol, I thought I should check out the local playing fields on Stonegate Road. It was a good idea; this had elder trees flowering in abundance. Whilst going to Harewood makes elderflower gathering more of an event, there are definite attractions in picking them a five minute walk away.
I collected elderflowers from several trees and met virtually no-one whilst doing so. A large German Shepherd came sniffing around and I said "Good Dog", hoping that it was, rather than being the sort that would leap at my throat with a snarl. It trotted off again after its owner, and I continued with my foraging.
Picking elderflowers is the fun part of making this wine. Stripping them is not. I needed two pints for a double batch and my work rate is just less than a pint an hour. The last half-pint felt like it took forever. I helped things along by listening to Radio 4 comedy on i-player. John Finnemore's Cabin Pressure is very good.
|Two pints of elderflowers and half a glass of sloe wine|
I broke the stripping up by going to Sainsbury's to buy sugar and an extra litre of grape juice, but had to make do with 'Grape & Peach Juice Drink'. So, I put 2 pints of elderflowers in my bucket, then 5 lbs sugar, 1 litre of 'Grape Juice', 1 litre of the aforementioned 'Grape & Peach Juice Drink', 12 pints of cold water, one-and-a-half teaspoons of tannin, 1 teaspoon of pectolase, two crushed vitamin B tablets and two crushed camden tablets. I added the yeast and between a teaspoon and two of nutrient 12 hours later on Sunday morning.
|Elderflowers in bucket|