Saturday, July 24, 2010

Todays effort of finally removing the fruit!

Well, today, prompted by our picking of some raspberries, has been a bit "spur of the moment".

To start with, after we'd picked the fruit, I decided it was time to make a bit of space. The resulting picture is what's left of last years efforts of making sloe gin.

I started with picking the sloes, then dug round the net to find a recipe. The one I picked was 1lb of sloes, 1 pint of gin and 8oz of sugar - I was a little concerned about that much sugar, so after asking a few people, I decided to change it to 5oz of sugar - mainly on the basis that it's a piece of piss to add more sugar if it needed it but it's a bugger to remove it if it's too sweet.

So, the mix was made, though I didn't waste my time individually pricking the fruit with a pin, I just froze it for a couple of days and then defrosted it enough to be able to pour it into the jar (picture later) and then add the sugar and gin - I did actually add a little cinnamon bark as well to give it (hopefully) just a hint of the spices.

I'd had some out of the jar, but the picture is of what's left - me being quietly pleased as after about a month or so (possibly as long as 2) it was good IMO, though some might have thought it a little sharp/sherberty tasting/acid.

I can reassure any reader that the acid/sharpness has mellowed quite well, hence it's been moved to the 1 gallon jar/demi-john and the 3 bottles (plus there was about a further 1/2 a pint so I've drunk that mixed 50/50 with lemonade, and now have quite a buzz as I type this...

Remaining fruit after it's been drained.
Ok, so here's the remaining fruit. There was about 16lb in total before it went into the gin etc. I've tried taking a bite to see what it's like, as it's possible to make jam etc from it, what with the sloes/blackthorn plant being related to plums (same genus - prunus).

I've decided that I don't want to do that, so it's gonna end up in the steam juice extractor, to remove any further flavour/juice/colour. Which will then be preserved in a jar so it can go into something later......

Raspberries in the steam extractor.
Here's what happening to the raspberries, they're being steamed in the juice extractor, which is also the ultimate destination of the sloes above as well.

I'm extracting the juice, because we haven't got enough space in the freezer for the fruit at the moment, plus if I extract the juice, I can use it to make a batch of raspberry melomel.

Mystery liquid ?

Ok, so what's this ? Well as you can see from the picture above, the raspberries are going into a batch to be made as "Raspberry Melomel".

Now it's fair to point out, that raspberry can be quite over powering if just used as a flavouring on it's own. So as there's about 2 or 3 kg of fruit in the steamer, this picture shows 1.3 kg of honey (part of what's left of the 6 or was it 7 jars of honey that my friend Sebastian brought me back from Poland on a trip home.

The honey isn't really anything remarkable, other than the 1.3 kg (about 3lb) jars as that's a bit larger than we normally see here in the UK - our normal jars being 1lb/454g in weight. Plus I've added 1 litre of red grape juice, not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, and as I suspect that with the honey and grape juice, once I've added the extracted raspberry juice it'll be too high a gravity for a 1 gallon batch, so I'll have to make it up to 1.5 or 2 gallons - only time and the hydrometer will tell.

I've already added 2 tsp of "Pectolase" pectic enzyme, because it's got the red grape juice, and will eventually (after extraction/cooling) get the raspberry juice as well. It might as well have a couple of days to do it's thing to reduce the chance of a pectin haze.......

The ultimate plan, is, allowing for the raspberry juice being quite powerful and only having grape juice and honey in it, I expect to have to make this quite a high alcohol batch, so it's likely to come out as a bit "medicinal" to start with, and hopefully a strong raspberry flavour, so I'll have to back sweeten it. I don't want to make it a "dessert" melomel if I can help it, but if I can finish it so it tastes like an alcoholic raspberry cordial then that'd be brilliant.

This is the first time I've actually thought about how I want the end result to be, rather than just throwing the ingredients into a fermenter and letting them do their thing and see what comes out at the end........

Ok that's about it for the moment........


No comments: