One of the 'First World Problems' caused by Covid 19 is the sheer amount of queuing that it creates. Whilst one might point to the 120,000 deaths in the UK, the mental health crisis, the vast unemployment and the failure to see loved ones, it was the time spent standing in lines that annoyed me most on Saturday, 6th March. The greengrocer, the butcher and the post office all had long, slow-moving queues and by the time that I got home Claire had to calm me down with cake.
|A crate of 24 oranges|
Making things better, though, the greengrocer had set aside a box of 24 oranges for me - large Spanish oranges looking like they had been plucked from their tree mere hours ago.
I started making my wine that afternoon by thinly peeling half of the oranges and covering the peel in two pints of boiling water. This is always the most tedious bit of making orange wine and this year I separated it out of the process by making it my first task, leaving the orange peel to percolate in its water for 24 hours. I did a particularly poor job of avoiding the pith and if this wine turns out too bitter, that will be the explanation.
|A particularly poor job of avoiding the pith|
On Sunday afternoon, 7th March, I squeezed all 24 oranges - changing hands every three oranges so as to avoid a painful and overused shoulder. This is a sticky job and required frequent handwashing.
|Some of the oranges with outer skin removed|
With the oranges being larger than most years I got far more juice - 6 pints (including all the bits of flesh). I added 6¾ pints of cold water and the two pints of water that had been covering the peel. Into this I poured 5½ lbs of sugar and gave it a good stir. I then started 2 teaspoons of yeast fermenting in half a pint of water with a teaspoon of sugar and put this into the mix once fermentation had begun. I added a teaspoon of pectolase and 1½ teaspoons of nutrient. Though my usual timetable would have me putting the wine into its demijohn on Friday, it was Book Group that night (Grownups by Marian Keyes - hated by some, loved by others) so I did this all on Saturday 13th March instead. There was little to sieve out so the process was quick. I am left with two demijohns of pure sunshine.
|Two demijohns of sunshine|