For years we have been saying that our freezer is too small for all the excess fruit that I pick, and that we must investigate getting a small freezer just for wine making. Claire and I are great procrastinators. If you require further evidence, you only need to go into our front room. We have owned the house for six years now and have yet to paint the plaster.
|Some of our gooseberries, close up.|
Anyway, on Sunday 10th July I went on-line to investigate mini-freezers and about ten minutes later had ordered one. It arrived on Monday. Why I took about four years or so over this, I do not know. Mostly it will be filled with gooseberries this year. Our bushes are rampant. We have at least three varieties and all have had a good summer.
|Gooseberries being washed|
On Sunday 11th July I went out to harvest 6 lbs for this wine. Those in the back garden are not as far on as those in the front, but I still picked a few from each bush, getting lightly scratched in the process. Why are gooseberry plants quite so defensive of their fruit?
In the end, I picked 2 oz less than the 6 lbs required, but that was Good Enough. I put them in our largest cooking pot with 3 pints of water, brought them to the boil and let them simmer for 5 minutes. The whole lot went into my bucket with 2 lbs 14 oz sugar and a further two pints of cold water. I added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and tannin just before going to bed and by Monday morning it was all fermenting nicely
|Gooseberry wine fermenting|
The wine got one stir each day and I planned to put it in its demijohn on Friday evening. However, by then I had worked until 6:15 and was in a thoroughly bad mood, so I left it until this morning, 17th July.
Gooseberry does take a long time to put into its demijohn, though I had Radio 3's Record Review to keep me company. The wine is going to produce a huge sediment.
|The first demijohn of Gooseberry Wine|
It did - massive! I racked this on 20th August and I fit in most of 2 pints of water with 4 oz sugar dissolved.
I am making a second batch, this time crushing the berries rather than boiling them and 5 pints of boiling water. I started on Sunday 23rd August and racked it on 25th September. The sediment on this one was slightly smaller, but I put in 36 fluid ounces of water with 2 oz sugar dissolved.
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