Monday, 22 December 2014

Preparing for Christmas... 2015!

Here is just one view down 'our' Loke. A loke is a Norfolk word for a short, narrow lane which becomes a farm track that eventually leads to a dead-end. Ours fits that description with the bonus that it ends up as a fabulous footpath which includes some very fruitful hedgerows - great for foraging!
The colourful ingredients above are all collected from the loke - including Sloes, Rose Hips, Haws and Blackberries. You may notice that the berries are thawing out; this is because I have frozen them which helps to break down their structure and yield maximum juice. The pulp in the middle is my extra-special ingredient - this is what is left-over from Karen's amazing Spiced Blackberry Liqueur Syrup!! When she makes it she just lets it drain in a muslin bag without squeezing which means that the remaining pulp is still full of the yummy intense spicy Blackberry flavour.
My next task was then to pour over some boiling water and leave this to steep overnight. The following day I added sugar and yeast and left this in the brewing bucket for a further 7 or 8 days. I love the way it all takes on such a fantastic colour!
During the initial fermentation, the yeast loves plenty of oxygen, but as fermentation slows the liquid is then strained into a demijohn and air is excluded using an airlock. Above you can see that I have gathered all the remaining pulp and berries into a muslin bag...
... and used our press to extrect every last drop. This is also where the maximum flavour is produced in the creation of (little drum roll) my Spiced 'Loke' Wine :)
So what has this to do with next Christmas? Well using such fabulous ingredients it deserves to be left at least a year to mellow out before relaxing with a glass...
... and thinking of the lovely place where the fruit came from!!
Happy Christmas and I pray that as we celebrate the greatest gift of all, he will fill the lives of all my friends in 'blogland' with many blessings throughout 2015.