What an unusually busy weekend we have just had. Saturday was spent yomping in the North York Moors with Bob & Judith - the first time that we have seen them since January. Then on Sunday, 23rd August, we went to York to pick blackberries and see my parents, whose 56th wedding anniversary it was.
|Sarah Moore's grave|
We arrived at the cemetery at around 11 and mostly went our separate ways to collect brambles. Claire found a bountiful patch that was sufficiently overgrown to be secluded and which led to a bee hive. I was rather less successful, finding the odd stem laden with fruit here and there, but mostly found whole areas where the blackberries were already rotten or covered in grey mould.
|Claire picking blackberries|
During this search I coincided with a man and his pre-teen children: Elliot and Isobel, who were enthusiastic bramble pickers. Isobel had a large tub full of blackberries, reserved for crumble, and they were interested in how I turned blackberries into wine. The father commented that the beauty of the cemetery was that there was enough fruit for everyone. "Yes," I agreed, secretly not agreeing at all and seeing him and his children very much as the competition. We went our separate ways and finally, finally I found an excellent area for foraging - near to, but behind, the chapel. Here the graves were Mary Ann Nightingale and her husband George, Sarah Moore and Jane Oldfield. Earlier I had picked from Harriet Atkinson and Robert Burton. Thomas Douthwaite did not figure this year: his grave had been cleared of brambles.
|Near the Chapel|
Once back in Leeds I weighed the fruit. I had picked 4 lbs 1 oz and Claire won convincingly with 6 lbs 5oz. I used 8 lbs, putting the rest in the freezer, and mashed them in my bucket. I poured in 5 lbs 12 oz of sugar and 11¼ pints of boiling water (though could have used half a pint less). Next morning I added the yeast (Mangrove Jack's R56), 1½ teaspoons of nutrient and a teaspoon of pectolase.
|Blackberries in their bucket|
I put the wine into its demijohns on Friday 28th August whilst listening to the first Prom of 2020 - played to an empty Albert Hall. And now I have two demijohns of blackberry wine bubbling away.
|Two demijohns of Blackberry Wine|
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.