Fruit has generally been early to ripen this year, so Claire and I first visited York Victorian Cemetery to inspect blackberries on Sunday 11 August. Whilst it was clear that blackberry season had only just begun, the berries that were ready were the largest, most luscious blackberries that I have encountered. After only about half an hour's foraging we had more than 3 lbs between us.
The following Sunday we were in York again, making sure that Pop was alright in Mom's absence now Keith and Jaki had returned up north. He was fine and all three of us went to the cemetery to gather blackberries. This time we got nearly 7 lbs. For a triple batch I need 12 lbs of blackberries, so we went a third time on 25th August, making it a hat-trick of weekends in York - this time the excuse was to see Mom, freshly back from her 60th High School Reunion in Nebraska. It was a hot day and Pop and I went to the cemetery ourselves to finish the job. This was idyllic - the sun beat down and the place was full of birdsong. I had a lovely hour with my father, chatting about this and that, discussing blackberries and getting nettle-stung.
My father, picking blackberries
(I love this photo of him)
On Monday morning, 26th August, I mashed the blackberries and added 8 lbs sugar and 16 pints of boiling water. This cooled over the (hot and humid) day and I added a teaspoon each of yeast and pectolase, and two teaspoons of nutrient that evening. By Saturday night, 31st August, the liquid was ready for the demijohns. This went without a hitch and I now have three demijohns full of potentially delicious blackberry wine.