On Saturday morning, 11th July, while chatting to Claire in the front garden, I glanced at our gooseberry bushes and noticed two things: one of the bushes, at least, was laden; and some of the gooseberries had started to split. This meant that they needed to be harvested, and they needed to be harvested Now. I grabbed a plastic bowl from the kitchen and set to work, getting only mildly scratched in the process.
One of our bushes, though small, produced three pounds. The rest, added together, gave a further four and a half pounds - and one of our bushes (the one which I suspect is popular with an audience of pigeons) only had two. That's two gooseberries, not two pounds. My harvesting activities were interrupted by a lunch spent with Rodney, meaning that I was somewhat less focussed and efficient during the second session.
Once the gooseberries had been picked, we needed to decide what to do with them. Ordinarily I use 6 lbs for wine, but Claire made a good case for wanting to make gooseberry tart and gooseberry jam and gooseberry other-stuff. However, our freezer is already too full to store that weight of fruit. So, I checked my recipe books and Brian Leverett has a recipe using only 4 lbs, which is a good compromise. In fact I used half a pound more than this, put them in a pan, covered them with 3½ pints of water and brought them to the boil, giving them about 5 minutes of boiling time. This broke down the fruit, so I didn't need to mash them.
I put the boiled gooseberries and liquid into my bucket, poured over a further 2½ pints of (cold) water and 2 lbs 14 oz of sugar. When cool enough, I added a teaspoon each of nutrient, pectolase and tannin.
|A vigorous ferment|
Over the next few days I stirred the wine, if I remembered, and then on Friday 17th July I put the wine into its demijohn. This took longer than ideal: the sieve kept clogging, so getting the liquid through was a slow process. The wine is fermenting vigorously, and I anticipate a large sediment.
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.