Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blackcurrant Melomel (clearing out the fridge.....)

Blackcurrant Melomel (soon)
Ok, so one of the things that Clare wants to do over the weekend is to make me some "Lemon curd". Which is wonderful (nice that she's making it and nice to eat, on bread and butter :-p ).

So after having a look at our stock of empty jars (jam, honey, pickles etc etc), we find that we're running low on them.

I remembered that after last years visit to the local PYO, we came home with 6 or 7 pounds of fruit (don't recall the exact amount) and I promptly put it all through the steam juice extractor (reduces the size/volume of original fruit - excellent for "red" type fruit) and jarred it, the jars went straight into the fridge once cooled.

I also had the last of the 6 jars of generic Polish honey that my friend Sebastian brought over with him, last year or the year before. The were all crystalised anyway and would need warming through to use.

So I figured that as Clare needed some empty jars and I'd been thinking about what to make next, presented an opportunity/idea. Black currant Melomel.

Now I love black currant anyway, so the picture is showing the empty honey jar (1.3kg size), the last of the re-sealable jars of steam extracted black currant juice and the bucket being used as the primary fermenter (containing the honey from the jar, a jar of juice the same size as in the picture and 3 x 1lb jars of fruit juice).

The reason why I haven't put all the black currant juice in, is that I'm going to ferment this, but once it's finished and racked off the lees, I'll add the last of the juice to make it more fruity/black currant in flavour. The honey taste is less important as it's nice tasting but it's processed and of unknown provenance.

I haven't taken a gravity reading yet, just mixed up the honey, black currant juice and made it up to just over a gallon with water. That in turn, has had about 2 teaspoons of pectic enzyme and 1 crushed campden tablet whisked into it.

I'll leave this for 24 or maybe even 48 hours for the pectic enzyme to do it's thing, as the BC juice seemed a little thicker than I remember, and while it tasted fine, it's probably set a little pectin from when the juice was being extracted, hence the 2 tsp per gallon amount used (I'll probably have to add more once I add the rest of the juice anyway.....)

I haven't decided on which yeast yet, though as black currants are a malic fruit, it might be sensible to use 71B, due to it's property of being able to metabolise some of the malic acid. I'm also in 2 minds as to whether I really need to add any tannins as there's gonna be some in the fruit juice.

Finally, whether this ends up as a 1 or 2 gallon batch is dependant on the gravity when I measure it today or tomorrow.


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