It is the Sunday before Christmas, 22nd December, and we have lots of travelling ahead of us. Making the Christmas Tutti Fruti today is the best fit with our plans, which involve York, Cambridge and York again.
I started wine making at around eleven this morning after returning from our pre-Christmas shop. This was not nearly as ghastly as feared and the highlight was overhearing a young father returning a pair of Gruffalo slippers because his two year old was scared of them. My first job was to clear the freezer of its fruit, to fanfares and celebration from Claire.
|Fruits of the Freezer|
This year we have 14 different ingredients in 8 lb 13 oz fruit. Running from most to least: blackcurrants (1 lb 12 oz), blackberries (1 lb 1¾
oz), red gooseberries (same), sloes (13½
oz), crab apples (13 oz), rhubarb (same), damsons of three different varieties (12½
oz), elderberries (10 oz), rose petals (4 oz), redcurrants (3¾
oz), blueberries (3½
oz), a clementine - no satsuma this year and this was the closest (2½
oz), green gooseberries (1 oz) and wild strawberries (¾
|Fruit in the bucket whilst frozen|
It was all in the bucket by noon and was well on the way to defrosting by half-five, at which point I put in a pint of boiling water to help. I then gave it a good mash, added 6 lbs sugar and poured over a further 11 pints of boiling water. I added the yeast and one teaspoon of pectolase and nutrient on Monday morning, gave it all a stir and then pretty much left it alone while Claire and I went to York for a rowdy and enjoyable Christmas.
|Fruit in the bucket whilst not frozen|
On Thursday, Boxing Day, I put this into its demijohns. The first stage was dipping a plastic collander into the bucket to fish out the fruit at the top. I did this a few times, each time pressing the fruit with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Then I did the usual jug-sieve-funnel thing, making my right arm ache in the process. I left a gap at the top of each demijohn in case of enthusiastic fermentation keeping back a bottle full of the incipient wine for topping up purposes. In fact, this gap was not needed, and I have poured what I kept back into the demijohns, leaving only a small gap between wine and neck.
|The wine in its demijohns|
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here