This month’s look at the Home Brew scene is focusing on the outdoor entertainment - “Barbie’s” or “Soirées”
Strawberries are now coming into season. The “Pick-Your-Own” signs are springing up along the roadsides of the Island- though sometimes it is cheaper to buy the fruit from the greengrocer.
I prefer to freeze my strawberries as the chemical process of freezing and thawing seems to make much better wine.
You will need for a gallon of wine (6 bottles)
Re-activate the yeast by emptying the sachet into a cup of lukewarm water (⅔ full) and leave it covered for half an hour.
Dissolve the sugar into 900ml/1½ pts of boiling water, stir until the liquid becomes clear and then leave it to cool.
Crush the strawberries in a 2-3 gallon fermenting bucket. Always buy a bucket that is food grade plastic and is too big for the job, as this will prevent splashing.
Add the cooled sugar syrup and 2.2lt/4 pts of cold water. Stir well and add the remaining ingredients including the yeast culture, but not the Campden tablet.
Cover the fermenting bucket loosely for 5 days, stirring daily.
Strains off the solids-DO NOT SQUEEZE them or you will have hazy wine. Put this liquid into a Demijohn with an airlock (bubbler) fitted. Keep the Demi-john in a war, place- i.e. anywhere you feel pleasant will be ideal for the wine, don’t keep it in an airing cupboard, anywhere in the living area of your home will be fine.
After approximately 10 days the air passing through the airlock (bubbler) will be one “plop” per 30 seconds. When you reach this stage “rack it off” (i.e. transfer by syphon) to another clean Demi-john. Transfers to a cooler location-I use the concrete floor of the garage- never use a floor surface of wood and certainly not a carpet-covered surface. If you do this you will not need a commercial type Wine Fining. (You can always resort to one if the garage floor method fails.)
After a further 17 days, it’s time to taste the wine. It is sweet, but that’s strawberry wine.
Stop the wine at the required sweetness by adding a crushed Campden tablet to the wine.
Strawberry wine can be drunk quite young, but it will improve given a little time. However be very careful, as this sweet strawberry wine is so pleasurable that you will drink more than you normally do. So remember where home is and enjoy the conversation.
As a final remark, one gallon of Strawberry Wine does not go far so I suggest you make at least five gallons for the summer.
My second wine is one I haven’t made for many years Pea Pod Wine.