April

PRIMROSE WINE

Ingredients:

1 gallon primroses 3 V2 lb. white sugar

2 oranges

Method:

Bring the water to the boil and stir into it the sugar, making sure that it is all dissolved. Put the peel of the oranges and lemon into a crock, bowl, or polythene bucket, being careful to exclude all white pith, to prevent the wine from having a bitter taste, and pour the hot syrup over the rinds. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F., then add the flowers, the juice of the fruit, your chosen yeast, and some yeast nutrient. Cover closely and leave for five days in a warm place, stirring each day. Then strain through a nylon sieve or muslin into a fermenting jar, filling it to the bottom of the neck, and fit a fermentation trap. Leave for three months, then siphon the wine off the yeast deposit into a fresh jar. A further racking after another three months is helpful, and shortly after that the wine will be fit to drink, if still young.

BROOM WINE

Later in the month, and right up till July, you can make another flower wine which is thought by many to be one of the most agreeable table wines, when made reasonably dry—broom, or gorse,

Ingredients:

1 gallon gorse flowers

3 lb. sugar

2 lemons

Method:

The best plan is to put your flowers in a calico bag, which can then be dropped into the water and simmered for a quarter of an hour, afterwards making up the water to the original quantity. When you remove the bag, squeeze it well to extract the liquor, and return this to the bulk. Then dissolve the sugar in the liquid, and add the lemon and orange juice, and the skins (no pith) of the fruit. Allow the liquor to cool to 70 degrees F., then add the yeast (a general-purpose wine yeast) or a level teaspoon of granulated yeast and yeast nutrient. Three days is sufficient a soaking period to extract colour and aroma, and for fermentation to get well under way, as long as the liquor is kept in a warm place (65-70 degrees F.), closely covered and given an occasional stir. Then strain it into a

1 gallon water 1 lemon

Yeast; yeast nutrient

2 oranges 1 gallon water Yeast; yeast nutrient fermenting jar and fit an air lock and put it in a slightly cooler place. Siphon it off the lees when the top third has cleared (after two to three months) and again three months later. Put in a cooler place still (55 degrees F.); it will be ready to drink after another two months or so.

COLTSFOOT WINE

Coltsfoot grows abundantly in the British Isles but the flowers are not always easy to come by in quantity unless you have previously earmarked the plant's position. It is usually to be found in waysides, railway embankments and waste places, the bright yellow flowers putting in an appearance from March onwards, long in advance of the heart-shaped leaves. Because of this the old country name for this plant was "Son Before Father"! (Those who do not live in the country can obtain the dried flowers from a herbalist.)

Ingredients:

1 gallon coltsfoot flowers

1 gallon water

2 oranges

Method:

Dissolve the sugar in the. water and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Peel the oranges and lemons thinly, and put the rinds into a bowl or stone jar with the juice and the coltsfoot flowers (just the heads). Pour over the cold syrup, and stir. Add the yeast mixed with a little of the lukewarm liquid, and leave to ferment for seven days in a warm place, and well covered. Stir daily. Strain into a fermenting jar, cover, or insert an air lock. When fermentation ceases, siphon off and bottle.

COWSLIP WINE

Ingredients:

1 gallon cowslip flowers 2 oranges; 1 lemon

1 gallon water Yeast

3 / lb. white sugar Yeast nutrient

Method:

Do not use the green stalks and lower parts of the flowers, but only the yellow portions. This is rather fiddling, but does protect the taste and colour. Boil the water, dissolving the sugar in it, and then pour the hot syrup over the peel of the fruit, having been careful to exclude all white pith, which will give a bitter taste. When the liquor has cooled to 70 degrees F. add the flowers, yeast nutrient, the juice of the fruit, and finally the yeast. Leave to ferment in a closely covered crock for four to five days (no longer or

3 / lb. sugar Yeast and nutrient 2 lemons the taste will be impaired), then strain into fermenting vessel and fit trap. Siphon off for the first time when the wine begins appreciably to clear, then leave for another three months before the final racking into sterilised bottles.

DANDELION WINE (1)

Ingredients:

3 quarts flowers 1 gallon water 3 lb. sugar

2 lemons, 1 orange Yeast and nutrient 1 lb. raisins

Method:

The flowers must be freshly gathered (traditionally St. George's Day, April 23rd, is the correct occasion), picked off their stalks, and put into a large bowl. One does not need to pick off the petals: use the whole heads. Bring the water to the boil, pour over the dandelions, and leave for three days, stirring each day. Keep the bowl closely covered. After third day, turn all into a boiler, add the sugar and the rinds only of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour. Return to the crock, and add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand till cool, then add wine yeast or a pinch of dried yeast, and yeast nutrient, since this is a liquor likely to be deficient in desirable elements. Let it remain closely covered for three days in a warm place, then strain into fermenting bottles and divide the raisins equally amongst them. Fit traps. Leave until fermentation ceases and rack when wine clears. This wine, made in April or early May, is ready for drinking by Christmas, but improves vastly by being kept a further six months.

This recipe makes a pleasant alternative to the foregoing one. It is important that the flowers should be picked in sunshine, or at midday, when they are fully opened, and the making of the wine should be done immediately.

Measure the yellow heads, discarding as much green as possible (without being too fussy about it), bringing the water to the boil meanwhile. Pour the boiling water over the flowers and leave them to steep for two days. Again, be careful not to exceed this time or a curious odour often invades and spoils what is a most pleasant table wine, properly made. Boil the mixture for ten minutes with the orange peel (no white pith) and strain through muslin on the sugar, stirring to dissolve it. When cool add the yeast nutrient, fruit

DANDELION WINE (2)

Ingredients:

2 quarts dandelion heads

3 lb. white sugar 1 gallon water

4 oranges Yeast nutrient Yeast

Method:

juice and yeast. Put into fermentation jar and fit trap, and siphon off into clean bottles when the wine has cleared. It will be just right for drinking with your Christmas poultry!

FARMHOUSE TEA AND RAISIN WINE

Ingredients:

2 lb. large raisins 1 lb. wheat

2 lb. sugar

4 lemons 1 gallon water Yeast and nutrient

Method:

Tie the tea loosely in a muslin bag. Pour the boiling water over it and let it mash, leaving it in the liquor until it is lukewarm. Remove the bag, and to the liquor add the chopped raisins, wheat, sugar and sliced lemons. Add a Campden tablet. Dissolve ^ oz. of baker's yeast in the liquid and stir it in. Leave it to ferment in a closely-covered pan for 21 days, stirring often, then strain into fermenting bottle and fit trap. Siphon off into clean bottles when fermentation has ceased.

The "key" to the recipe is: 5 oz. sugar to the pint of tea. Save the leavings from the teapot daily until you have accumulated four pints. It should be noted that this should not be "strong" tea but rather the weaker tea one obtains from the "second pot." When you have the half-gallon, bring it to the boil in a one-gallon saucepan, add the sugar, and boil just long enough to ensure that it is thoroughly dissolved. This will give you a specific gravity of about 1100, or sufficient to produce a wine of about 13% alcohol by volume. Pour into an earthenware jar, add the juice of the lemons, half a teaspoonful of yeast nutrient, and, when cool, a pinch of dried yeast. Keep closely covered in a warm place. When the first vigorous ferment is over, stir, transfer to a fermenting bottle, and fit trap. When it begins to clear, after about six weeks, siphon off into sterilised bottles and keep for a further 4-5 months. If you wish to make a larger quantity, the second half-gallon can be prepared in the same way (except for the addition of yeast) and added, when it has cooled to blood heat, to the first, which by then will be fermenting nicely.

TEA WINE

Ingredients:

4 pints tea (the leavings in the pot) 1 H lb. sugar

2 lemons

Yeast and nutrient

Method:

RHUBARB WINE

Rhubarb contains an excess of oxalic acid, which is rather unpleasant and is best removed by the use of precipitated chalk.

Ingredients:

6 lb. rhubarb (preferably red)

Method:

Wipe the rhubarb with a damp cloth and cut it into short lengths, and crush it in a crock with a piece of hardwood. Pour the cold water over it and add one crushed Campden tablet. Leave three days, closely covered, stirring several times daily. Strain, squeezing the pulp as dry as possible, and then add 1 oz. of precipitated chalk (obtainable at a chemist); the juice will fizz. This may suffice, but if the juice still has an acid taste add up to another / oz., but not more. Then add the sugar, the yeast, the yeast nutrient, and the juice of two or three lemons. It is worth using a good wine yeast (Sauterne, Tokay or Sherry). Put into fermenting vessel and fit trap, keeping half a pint or so separately in a bottle plugged with cotton-wool. When the ferment quietens top up with this. Leave until the wine begins to clear and the yeast settles; then rack for the first time. If you wish to remove all colour add half a dozen clean, broken eggshells. This is an excellent wine for blending, since it will take up the flavour of any other and its own will be virtually lost.

MEAD

Ingredients:

4 lb. English honey 1 lemon

1 orange 1 gallon water

Yeast and nutrient

Method:

Put the honey into the water and bring to the boil, then pour into a crock and allow to cool. Add the juice from the orange and lemon, and the yeast, preferably a Maury yeast, or all-purpose wine yeast, and nutrient.

N.B.—It is most important to add a good nutrient, since honey is deficient in essential minerals. Pour into fermentation vessel and fit airlock. Allow to ferment to completion—this is liable to take much longer than with most country wines—and rack

1 gallon water Yeast; nutrient 1 lemon when no further bubbles are passing. Mead should preferably be matured for at least a year after this, but one needs to be very strong-willed to follow this advice!

HAWTHORN BLOSSOM WINE

Ingredients:

2 qts. of hawthorn blossom 2 lemons

3 / lb. white sugar 9 pints water Yeast and nutrient

Method:

Grate the rind from the lemons, being careful to include no white pith, and boil with the sugar and the juice of one lemon in the water for half an hour. Pour into bowl and when it has cooled to 70 degrees F. add the yeast (and, preferably, as with all flower wines, a good yeast nutrient). Leave for 24 hours, then tip in the flowers. Let the mixture stand for another eight days, stirring well each day. Then strain through two thicknesses of butter muslin into fermenting vessel, and fit fermentation trap. Rack for the first time when it clears, and after a second racking about three months later (about six months in all) bottle in the usual way. This is a light and delicious wine.

LEMON THYME WINE (By Mr. L. Foest, Penygraig House, Ammanford, Cams.)

Ingredients:

1 pint lemon thyme leaves 1 gallon water

(no stalks) 4 quart measures of rhubarb

1 lb. raisins Yeast and nutrient

3 lb. sugar

Method:

Cut up the rhubarb into / in. lengths, and chop the lemon thyme (to approximately the size of mint when making mint sauce). Pour boiling water over them, and then add the raisins. Stir every day for two weeks. Strain on to the sugar, stir thoroughly and add yeast, wine yeast, or a level teaspoonful of granulated yeast. Leave to ferment, closely covered and in a warm place, for another two weeks. Strain into fermenting vessel and fit air lock, and leave until it has fermented right out. Ladies may prefer to add / lb. - l lb. more sugar to obtain a much sweeter wine, but this is best done finally, to taste, and not at the outset.

NETTLE WINE

2 quarts young nettle tops 4 lb. white sugar / oz. root ginger

1 gallon water

2 lemons

Yeast; yeast nutrient

Method:

Pick only the tops of the nettles, rinse them in water, and drain. Simmer them in some of the water with the bruised ginger and lemon peel (being careful to exclude any white pith) for forty-five minutes. Strain, and make the liquor up to a gallon by adding more water. Pour this hot liquor over the sugar, add the juice of the lemons and the yeast nutrient, and stir until the sugar dissolves, and when the liquor has cooled to 70 degrees F. add the yeast, preferably a general purpose wine yeast. Keep the crock closely covered in a warm place, and after four days stir thoroughly and transfer the liquor to fermentation vessels and fit air locks. When the wine begins to clear, rack off into fresh bottles, and leave for another three months before the final bottling.

Many, out of curiosity, want to try making sack, once a favourite English drink, mentioned by Shakespeare and earlier writers. It can be made as follows:

Ingredients:

Wash the roots and leaves and boil them in the water for 45 minutes. Do not be tempted to add more fennel or you will get an unpleasantly strong flavour. Then pour the liquor through a nylon sieve and add the honey. Boil the whole for nearly two hours, skimming off any froth or scum which arises. Allow the liquor to cool to 70 degrees F., then add your chosen yeast and yeast nutrient, and put into cask or fermenting jars and fit traps. Sack, like most meads, may be a little slow to ferment and mature, and it is important not to omit the yeast nutrient, or this will be aggravated. Rack after four months if the sack has cleared, if not, delay racking until it has. It is fit for drinking after a year.

SACK

Three or four fennel roots 3 or 4 sprays of rue Yeast; yeast nutrient

2 gallons water 4 lbs. honey

Method:

VANILLA WINE

6 lb. rhubarb 1 gallon cold water 1 gallon hawthorn blossom

4 lb. white sugar 2 lemons

Yeast and nutrient

Method:

When boiling water is used in the making of rhubarb wine jellification is often caused later, during fermentation. It is safer, therefore, to employ a cold water method. If cold water is used, of course, the natural yeasts present in quantity (the bloom on the rhubarb) may complicate your ferment if you are using a wine yeast and it is therefore best to add a little sulphite (one Campden tablet per gallon) at the outset. Alternatively you may care in this case to ferment with the natural yeast (in this case, since there is so much of it present, the method usually works quite well). If you do, omit the Campden tablet, and add no yeast.

Cut the rhubarb into small pieces, cover with the cold water, and add the hawthorn flowers and the juice and rind of the two lemons, excluding any white pith. Add also one crushed Campden tablet. Keep the pan closely covered (not in a warm place) and stir daily for ten days. Strain on to 2 lb. sugar, stir thoroughly until all sugar is dissolved, and add yeast. Keep in a warm place, closely covered. After four to five days add the remainder of the sugar, stirring thoroughly, then transfer the liquor to fermenting jar and fit trap. Siphon off the lees after three months, and again three months later, when the wine may be bottled. At the second racking it will be vastly improved by the addition of V to V pint of glycerine, to counter any over-acidity.

Ingredients:

2 quarts of Balm Leaves, or a packet of Heath and Heather Dried Balm Leaves

3 lb. sugar and 1 lb. raisins (1 lb. barley if required) 1 lemon and 1 orange and yeast; nutrient

Add boiling water to the bruised leaves, raisins, sugar and the juice and rinds of the lemon and orange. When cool add yeast. Allow to work for seven days then siphon into fermenting vessel with air lock until fermentation is finished. The tender shoots should be used if aroma is considered of most importance.

BALM WINE

Method:

ELDERFLOWER

2/3 pint elderflowers 1 gallon water 3 / lb. white sugar lb. raisins Juice of 3 lemons Yeast; nutrient

Method:

Gather the flowers on a sunny day when they are fully opened, and trim them from the stems with a pair of scissors, until you have a pint (pressed down lightly) of petals. Bring the water to the boil and pour over the flowers, then add the sugar, chopped raisins and lemon juice. When cool (70 degrees F.) add the yeast (a pre-prepared wine yeast is best, but a level teaspoon of granulated yeast can be used) and nutrient. The nutrient is most important in this case. Cover well and leave to ferment in a warm place for four or five days. Strain into another jar, fit air lock, and leave to ferment. When it clears siphon it off the deposit for the first time; two months later rack it again, and bottle it.

Slice the lemons and oranges and put them in a crock with the flowers, ginger and sugar. Pour on to them the boiling water, and add the yeast nutrient. When the liquor has cooled to blood heat add yeast, and allow to ferment for four days, keeping closely covered in a warm place. Then strain, put into fermenting bottle, and fit trap. Leave for about two months, then rack off, cork tightly, and keep for another two months.

ELDERFLOWER (2)

Ingredients:

1 / pts. stripped elder blossom

2 lemons 2 oranges

2 pieces root ginger

3 / lb. Demerara sugar 1 gallon boiling water Yeast

Yeast nutrient

Method:

SPARKLING ELDERFLOWER

3 quarts elderflowers 1 gallon water Wine yeast

3 lb. sugar 2 lemons Yeast; nutrient

Method:

Cut the elderflowers from the stalks, add a gallon of boiling water, and leave for a few days, stirring occasionally. Strain on to 3 ^ lb. of sugar and the juice of two lemons, add a teaspoonful of yeast nutrient, and a wine or champagne yeast.

This wine will be nearly dry but when it has started to clear and while there is still some sugar present it may prove suitable to convert into a sparkling wine. A bottle containing some of the wine is stood in a warm place and lightly plugged with cotton-wool. If after a week a slight yeast deposit has formed it is quite safe to transfer all the wine to champagne bottles which are either closed with corks well wired down or by screw caps similar to cider flagons. The bottles are stored on their sides in a cool place and after six months or so should be sparkling and ready to drink. If on the other hand when trying the wine out for its suitability for bottle fermentation a heavy yeast deposit is noted then fermentation must be continued for a few more days or even weeks till there is less sugar in the wine. A further test then should show a smaller yeast deposit, in which case the wine can be bottled and complete its fermentation in the bottle. Bottling a wine which shows a heavy deposit will inevitably lead to burst bottles.

Top, tail and wash the gooseberries, put into large crock and squeeze by hand until they are pulpy. Then pour on the boiling water and allow to stand for three days, well covered, stirring occasionally. Strain through two thicknesses of muslin, and add the sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved, then add yeast and yeast nutrient. Put into fermenting bottle and fit trap, leaving until bubbles cease to pass; then rack off and leave to mature, siphoning off the lees again after another six months. Leave for a year before drinking. Indistinguishable from a good hock.

GREEN GOOSEBERRY

Ingredients:

6 lb. gooseberries 6 pints water

2 lb. preserving sugar Yeast

Method:

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