a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Friday, 16 July 2010


a busy week of jam making.
started with 3lb of gooseberries from parents' garden with lemons and a dash of elderflower cordial.
rhubarb, lemon and ginger preserve yesterday - not really to be used as a spread but to add to plain greek yogurt with maybe ginger nuts sprinkled on top

and lastly - and certainly the 'pinkest' - apple and blackcurrant made with 3 1/2 lb of thinnings from the apple trees and about 8oz home grown blackcurrants to add flavour and turn it such a gorgeous colour.

wine making

I've been inspired over the last month or so to take up wine-making again. I used to make gallons of it - most of which would be put in a dark cupboard to mature and then be forgotten about. By the time it was opened, it would taste more like paint stripper than wine.

This year's experiments started with a bumper crop of dandelions in my parents' front lawn, then elderflowers and lastly lemon balm and mixed herbs from the garden


I forget to read the whole of the recipe for the elderflower 'champagne' and only when I tested it, after being bottled for 14 days, did I realise that it isn't actually alcoholic - at least not at this stage - several people have since said that I should leave it several months to have proper alcoholic wine. Still it tastes lovely and bubbly, just like elderflower fizz.

straining dandelion wine

The herb wine is the only one still bubbling away and not bottled yet. Sitting on the kitchen windowsill, on dull days the bubbles die down but start up again with some sunshine. I'm hoping this works well. I've made a variant of it before which tasted rather like Cinzano Bianco (which rather sadly I love with lemonade) but this year there's no fennel in the garden, so no aniseed taste in the wine. Hopefully it will be drinkable.

herb wine bubbling