|Elderflowers overhanging our fence|
We have had an absolutely splendid June. After the sodden May, it has been wonderful to bask in warmth and sunlight. The garden is looking terrific this year and everything seems to be thriving. Particularly the rhubarb. We have been having stewed rhubarb with our morning porridge every day for weeks and I have been trying every rhubarb cake recipe that I find (tomorrow is Rhubarb & Custard). Last month was rhubarb wine and of course this month it is Elderflower, Rhubarb & Mint. I had planned on a double batch but Claire, in her campaign to drink shop-bought wine made from grapes more frequently, requested that I stick to a single batch. And because I love her, I have.
|Some of the Rhubarb|
I started the wine on Sunday 13th June. Pulling up 3 lbs of rhubarb was no effort - some of that in the back garden has been starved of sunlight by other, taller, plants and so has the deep pinkness of forced rhubarb. I picked my elderflowers from the tree overhanging our fence from the synagogue. The mint came from our herb patch and, as last year, I have used only a small handful of spearmint.
|A small handful of spearmint|
Stripping elderflowers, as always, was the tedious part. I sat outside and turned my thumb pollen-yellow in the process. My haul only produced ¾ pint of elderflowers, but I was sufficiently bored by this time not to collect more to make it into a full pint.
|Yellow thumb and finger|
I sliced the rhubarb thinly and put this, the elderflowers and the chopped mint into my bucket. I poured over 6½ pints of boiling water and added 2 lbs 14 oz sugar. The following morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase.
|The main ingredients|
The wine got a vigorous stir each day until Friday 18th June, when I put the wine into the its demijohn. I spent some of this process worrying that Claire might have been abducted or dead - she had sent me a message at 5:45 saying that she was setting off and had not returned an hour and a half later. Happily, she had only got chatting to a colleague after sending a message so it was perhaps a little premature to be planning her funeral. Phew! Anyway, the wine is the same pastel pink as pure rhubarb and is now by the bath bubbling away.
|The finished product|