It is Blackberry time of year again. I have been watching them ripen on my daily walk to work over the past few weeks. Whilst there is about a month of picking left, this weekend straddling August and September was the most convenient for us. Pop was keen to help out but was busy Sunday (our traditional day of picking blackberries), so we went to York Victorian Cemetery
on Saturday afternoon, 31st August, with baskets and plastic bags. Keith and family were also visiting, so came along. I didn't see Keith, Jaki or Ellis once we got to the grave yard, but based on the blackberry-coloured smears round Ellis's mouth it looks like he enjoyed himself.
|I forgot my camera. This is a photo from a Google search|
Before Pop and Kai arrived I struck up conversation with an old man who was also picking blackberries for wine. We met at the grave of Robert Burton (1830-1904), whose fruit was particularly lush, and swapped notes. Other graves providing blackberries included Walter Rymer, Amos Howe Harris, Walter John Underwood and Eliza Jane Dunkley. We will drink a toast to them when the time comes.
Claire picked 6 lbs 4 oz blackberries, I picked 6 lbs 1½
oz (with help from Pop and Kai) and Mom got about 2 lbs. This was plent for the 12 lbs of fruit needed for a triple batch, with a manageable quantity for the freezer.
|Blackberries picked by Claire|
I started the wine on 1st September. Weighing the fruit is a messy job and produces hands that Lady MacBeth would find distasteful. I did not wash the blackberries, though I picked out the mouldy ones and got rid of as many grubs as I found.
|All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand|
I crushed the fruit in its bucket and poured over 15 ½
pints of boiling water. Later that evening I added 7 ½
lbs sugar, and the next morning I put in the yeast (burgundy) and two teaspoons each of nutrient and pectolase.
|The blackberries before crushing|
On Thursday night, later than I had wanted - mostly due to a large pile of washing up - I transferred this all into three demijohns. For some reason blackberry wine takes the longest of any wine at this stage, and Claire had to remind me that I was enjoying myself. I have left a little space at the top of each demijohn as the fermentation is at the assertive stage and I have kept some wine back in a bottle for topping-up purposes.
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here
(and see me get a drenching)
|When will we three meet again?|