|Summer Soft Fruit|
The summer of 2018 produced a bonanza of soft fruit. I stored much of our garden's harvest in the freezer. Claire would argue too much. There has been little space for anything else. Of course I exaggerate, but certainly two of the four drawers have become jam-packed. Therefore, at Claire's suggestion, rather than wait until Christmas to do a double batch of Tutti Fruti, I have done a single batch of mixed fruit wine now and will do another in late December.
|A freezer bursting at the seams|
On Saturday morning, 20th October, I pulled out about half the fruit from the freezer, weighed it and left it in a large mixing bowl to defrost. I made careful notes about how much of each fruit I used and, irritatingly, in the intervening six days those notes have gone missing. I know that the dominant fruit was blackcurrant - at 2 lbs 2 oz - and that I used 6 lbs fruit overall (which may be too much). Otherwise, all I can tell you is that the wine also contains raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, sloes, an apple or two and a handful of white rose petals.
|The fruit defrosting in a bowl|
I chopped the apple into small-ish chunks and then waited until the evening, when everything was mostly defrosted, put the fruit into my bucket and gave it all a good mashing. I boiled 6 pints of water, poured this over and added 2 lbs 12 oz sugar, giving it all a good stir. On Sunday morning I put in one teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase.
|The fruit once mashed|
Once I was certain that this was fermenting, on Monday evening 22nd October, I sliced some of a red chilli thinly, making sure that I got at least a couple of seeds, and put this into the mix. I have read that chilli peppers can block fermentation, hence the wait - and the small quantity. There is probably too little chilli to give this wine a kick in any event. However, in honour of the chilli and the time of year I have named this mix 'Halloween Wine'.
|I put in just a little bit more chilli than that sliced|
I had a rare night in on Thursday 25th October and used the time to put the wine into its demijohn. This was a longer job than anticipated. Due to the amount of fruit and its ratio to the water, the mixture was thick and took an age for each jug-full to drain through the sieve. The wine is the colour that I had expected (maroon) and the sediment could end up being a third of the demijohn.
|The wine in its demijohn plus the discarded fruit|
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here
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