Thursday, 12 August 2010

Berry Nice.

Well, on my travels wandering around the woods today I could not believe the amount of Blackberry's and other fruits that are ripening. It seems to me that it has been a bumper year for the old Blackberry.  Though not all the fruit is completely ripe as yet, but I am thinking that the old fashioned pie will be on the table. Of course you can make alcoholic drinks with the berry. A recipe:


4lbs of Blackberries (Brambles), 12 oz of cane sugar and a bottle of Whisky (I use the cheapest I can find that's 40% or more) make in same way as Sloe gin, wait until the Whisky has gone dark red and bottle until Christmas! strain the whole lot before you bottle! 

I have found a nice little Raspberry bush on my travels! I believe it to be wild as it is in the most out the way spot.  That said it may have been planted / dumped years ago? either way the fruit is lovely.  When I first found the bush earlier in the year it had just a few raspberry's that had ripened.  I duly took them and ate them all up.  I forgot all about them until today I thought I would pay the secret berry bush a visit.  On arriving I had missed all the one single remaining berry which I duly photographed.

The Elderberry has not quite ripened in all cases and is still a bit green yet.  Though ones that I did spot which had ripened, the birds had had a small feast on them.  I spotted a lovely little Wren today, not quick enough with the camera though, I digress.  You can use both flower and Berry from the Elder to make drinks with, I am  beginning to sound like a man with a problem.... However, here are a couple of recipes for you to have ago at if you wish.

ELDER FLOWER CORDIAL (non alcoholic)

25 Flower heads, 2 oz Citric acid, 3lb sugar. 2 1/2 pints cold BOILED water. 2 dessert spoons lemon juice. A wine demijohn is fine or 3 litre plastic cider bottle. Put water in container, add sugar, acid and lemon juice shake to dissolve. Take a pair of scissors and cut out and discard the main stems of Elder flowers leaving the small stems and flowers, add them to bottle. Shake a couple times a day for two days. Strain off the flowers using a plastic sieve. Can be drunk right away. Store cordial in fridge (Will safely keep for 2/3 months). 


2½ lb elderberries  
Campden tablets  
2¾ or 3 lb sugar  
Wine yeast  
    Strip the elderberries from the stalks and wash well.  
    Put into a fermenting bin and crush. Pour on 4 pints of water. Add 1 campden tablet, crushed and dissolved in a little warm water.  
    Boil half of the sugar in 2 pints of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, mix into the pulp.  
    Add the yeast and nutrient and cover and allow to ferment for 5 days, stirring daily.  
    Strain and press and return to a clean fermenting bin.  
    Boil the rest of the sugar in 1 pint of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, add to the rest.  
    Cover again and leave for 3 or 4 days.  
    Pour carefully into a gallon jar, leaving as much deposit behind as possible.  
    Fill up the jar with cooled, boiled water to where the neck begins.  
    Fit a fementation lock and leave until fermentation has finished.  
    Rack, as necessary, and add 1 Campden tablet after the first racking.    
    Syphon into bottles.
    Makes 1 gallon of wine.
    Although a berry it might not strike you as one that you would normally eat.  You have to process the meat before you can eat the Hawthorn Berry (Haw).  They are still quite green and will not be ripe for some time when they are bright red. Yes you are getting the hang of things its another recipe for alcohol.... We have berry's here the Haws are the green ones.  If you look in the bottom right of the picture there are a couple of haws ripening.

     One of my favourite winter tipples is Sloe alcohol most people like sloe Gin, me included.  However, my favourite Sloe recipe is Sloe Whisky.  There seems to again be a bumper crop of Sloe's this year and although still quite a way from ripening or picking.  I found some that are ripening not well enough to taste. Even at the height of the picking season late Sept through to Dec they can dry the most wettest mouth up, bitter. That said they make great drinks and the Sloes can be recycled for other types of drinks. We made last year Sloe Gin, Whisky, Sherry and Cider not too keen on the cider though.


    Here is a repeat of the very simple sloe gin recipe - but with approx weights added.

    For one empty 1 litre bottle:
    1) add approx 400g sloes (to occupy about half the bottle). Remember to cut or prick the sloes before bottling.
    2) add approx 150g ordinary white sugar (this is about a wine goblet in volume).
    3) top-up with gin (about 500ml).

    If you leave a small space for air in the neck of the bottle you'll find mixing the contents, to dissolve the sugar, easier! Just turn the bottle occasionally for the first few days, whenever you're passing. Then leave in a cool cupboard for a few months (still with the occasional mixing of the contents).

    Quantities and times etc are NOT critical!

    I also found a lovely Rowan (Mountain Ash) today full loaded with Berry's. I went to take a photo and the camera was full, unlucky.  I also have a wine recipe for Rowan if you would like it? just drop me a line I will forward it too you.  Talking about fruit as we are I was fortunate to also discover a a couple of Wild Damson trees today the fruit however seemed not quite ripe yet.  However, I will return to sample the fruit of the tree.

    As with all things before touching or eating ensure you clearly recognise what it is!!! never take chances.  The recipes that are shown above are for you guidance.  I take no responsibility for your actions....after you have made and drank it.

    Well I hope that you have found this article of interest.  The next Blog will hopefully be about Wood Carving tools.

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