Monday, 3 July 2017

Monday night preserving - Rhubarb wine, rhubarb vodka, chamomile tea and drying herbs!

What feels like a long time ago now....On May Day, I harvested lots of rhubarb with Grace.  We needed 3kg to make some wine with.  We got a lot more than 3kg! 

The leaves went in the compost bin, which some people worry about as they're poisonous (Oxalic Acid), but fear not, the leaves are broken down rendered fine to use as compost.  People have done it and survived and that's scientific enough for me.

After washing the rhubarb we chopped 3kg up and put it into a sterilised fermenting bucket with 2.6kg granulated sugar.  I sterilised the bucket using a powder from "The Range" which you make a solution from.  It's £1 a pack and I hope it works as we have struggled with sterilising (or sanitising) in the past.

 

The bucket was sealed and left for 3 whole days. The recipe I used was John Wright's.

We added cool boiled water to make it to 4.5 litres and added the other bits and pieces which you can find in the link. We left it for a week and it nearly blew the lid off the fermenting bucket so we moved it to the demi John after about 5 days and fit a bubble trap.

Tonight we decanted it into sanitised wine bottles. I knew we were going to need wine bottles so I sacrificed a few Friday nights and managed to drink enough rose wine to free up enough bottles for the rhubarb wine! The things I do for preserving!! It looks really good and I am pleased with the outcome. We need to get the labels off still!


For the rhubarb vodka we added 600g chopped rhubarb to a litre of vodka, 200g sugar and some orange zest. It was left for 9 weeks then we strained it through a muslin and back into the bottle it came from! You don't need to use expensive vodka, we just got a lot on offer. It tastes nice and we are going to make some more so we're stocked up for Christmas gifts and visitors plus the odd tipple night of our own!


For the chamomile tea I harvested a pint size amount of chamomile flower heads and dried them out overnight in the dehydrator.


It turned out fab. I stored the dried heads in a clip top jar and tested some out. Pouring boiling water over a few heads, left it to steep for 2 minutes then poured back through a sieve into a mug. It tastes really nice and is very good for you. I'll be keeping this one.


I did the same for the herbs I harvested, mint, lemon thyme, rosemary and lemon balm then ground them up using the food processor and mortar and pestle. The rosemary had to go back on as it just won't dry! 


The rosemary went back on with some tomatoes from the greenhouse and mushrooms (from Aldi!).

I also managed to stew some rhubarb for the freezer for later in the year to make a nice crumble as we have not had one yet this year!!

All in all a good preserving night and a base for me to work on for next years ideas.


15 comments:

  1. Hi Tracy

    John Wrights books are the ones I use. With regard to sterilising the powder you can buy for sterilising wine equipment is called metabisulphate. However you can use baby sterilising tablets that you buy in a little box and they are in foil sachets. When it comes to sterilising the demi johns I clean them with the sterilising solution then bung them in the oven on a low heat just to finish them off. I normally leave them in the oven until they are cold. You can also clean the wine bottles in this way.

    I have some fancy fresh pasta, some tagliatelle and chestnut mushrooms and kale to bung in the dehydrator. I get plastic containers either oblong or round with lids from the pound shop to store things like stewed apple, tomato sauce carrot and swede crush in the freezer.

    The chamomile can be used as a hair rinse for blondes it is supposed to heighten the colour but can be used in a variety of ways notably in bath and beauty products. It is very soothing. Here is a link https://whisperingearth.co.uk/2010/04/13/five-things-to-do-with-dried-chamomile/

    I usually dry Rosemary in brown paper cones hung up off one of my dressers the paper cones keeps the dust and nasties at bay. It soon dries naturally.

    Keep up the good work.

    Pattypan

    x

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    1. hi Tricia, I didn't know that about the kids bottles tablets - I'll have to check them out thank you. Nor did I know you could dehydrate fresh pasta but obvious now you say it! Going to check the link for chamomile now. The rosemary is nearly done, there was quite a big lump of it! Take care and thank you for the valuable input! x

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  2. Perhaps I too should dedicate one even a week to such tasks...life is so hectic at the moment it's easy to push things aside. x

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    1. This is exactly why I do it Jackie - if I don't the days just keep on rolling - I have come to learn that if it isn't planned in, it won't get done x

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  3. Chic! I am sooo impressed. I really want to try making blackberry vodka for Christmas when I go foraging for them in August, or blackcurrant if we get enough of our own! I am going to do my best to get the cabbages processed for the freezer today. There are three good sized ones to slice, blanch and get in the freezer-looking forward to seeing it in there ready for the winter!x

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    1. Oh Louise I'm going to steel your idea of blackcurrant vodka I probably only have enough for a small bottle.


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    2. I keep thinking about the blackberries too! We didn't have any last year and I really hope they do well this year instead. Well done for doing the cabbages.
      I am going to make blackcurrant jam, this year is jam year lol! x

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    3. In one of the Sarah Raven books (cookery one) there is a recipe for Apple and Blackberry Gin/Vodka. I can dig the recipe out and leave it with Tracy if anyone wants it.

      Pattypanxx

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    4. I picked really quite a lot of blackberries last year but could have made a better effort so that is my plan. Would like to have enough to keep some in the freezer for over the winter, for the vodka, to make some puds with apple and rhubarb, if I am gifted some. Not sure with all that there will be any left over for jam. I'm just going to always make sure I pick some whenever I go out and to go on walks specifically to pick. Cabbages worked out ok I think!x

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    5. Hi Tricia - I'd love that recipe please, is it on your blog? I'll link to it!

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  4. Tracey it's great to see you try different things. We had our Elderflower champagne on Saturday and it was beautiful, the best yet.

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    1. I wanted to go back for more elderflowers to do champagne but I think they're done for the year now :-)

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    2. The Champagne is divine. When I process mine I use the tynes of a fork to take the flowers of the green stem. It is the green stem that can cause bitterness in the brew. It is time consuming but I sit on my Nan's kitchen stool have the radio on and sit and process the flowers into a bucket I then get the hot water, and lemon slices and sugar into the bin. There is no need to add yeast as there is a natural yeast in the flowers. The elderflowers have finished around here - the heat wave turned them into berries. It does look as though there are going to be a lot of berries there. Tracy think Pontack sauce, elderberry jelly (the secret ingredient in my home made barbecue sauce) bramble jelly, bramble and apple roll ups....

      xx

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    3. Oooh I can't wait!! I'll be looking up your barbeque sauce too! x

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  5. So impressed with how much you get done! This post guilted me into going out and picking my chamomile and some mint to dry. It's a start!
    I am awful at wine making and suspect it has do to with either sanitation or our water? There's always an off flavor even after aging. :(

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