Christmas this year, in The Year of The Pestilence, has been different around the country. Those in southern England must celebrate alone. In the north, we were allowed to mix with one other household, but only for the day. Claire and I stayed put - our first Christmas in only each other's company since around 2006. And we had a lovely time. Being married to one's best friend is such a gift, and in this year of enforced isolation has been vital.
We spent much of the day on a 12 mile walk, which I had said would be nine, and watching The Crown (now that I have finally relented and subscribed to Netflix). The first thing I did, though, on Christmas Day, was to empty the freezer of fruit, weigh it and put it into the bucket to defrost.
|Much of the fruit|
In the order in which this came from the freezer, this wine has:
- 1 lb 10 oz blackberries
- 6 oz yellow raspberries
- 2 lbs 9 oz gooseberries
- 2 oz blackcurrants
- 1½ oz rosepetals
- 1 lb 2½ oz elderberries
- 4 oz red raspberries
- 1 lb 9½ oz damsons
- 3 oz red gooseberries
- 1 lb ½ oz sloes
- One clementine (2 oz) (which should have been a satsuma or a tangerine, but never mind)
|After attacking the fruit with a potato masher|
It defrosted until Boxing Day morn, at which point I attacked the fruit with a potato masher and poured over 12 pints of boiling water. The wine received 5 lbs 11 oz sugar in time, but I only had 3 lbs of sugar at that point in the house, which went in and was stirred until it dissolved.
|The discarded fruit|
I added two teaspoons of yeast (a new variety - and I checked it was working before adding it), two of nutrient and one of pectolase together with the additional sugar on 27th December. By New Year's Eve, where in normal years we would be in Cambridge, this was ready to go into its demijohn. This was a slow process enlivened by a You're Dead to Me podcast about vampires in Romantic Victorian Literature, and it was clear that I could have used two pints less water in the recipe. The wine is an alarming and wonderful burgundy-with-a-splash-of-purple colour, but it looks like the sediment will be huge.
|Two demijohns of alarmingly coloured wine|