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Elderflower Fizz (Non-Alcoholic)

Elderflower fizz (Non-alcoholic)
elderflower, or white flower from the elder tree
 
Elderflower fizz has a subtle floral essence, is sweet tasting refreshing effervescent drink with a tang of lemon. It is simple to make and is ready to drink in a few weeks. The recipe can easily be adapted to make a champagne with the same ingredients with the addition of one ingredient champagne yeast. We will post this separately.
 
*** For the recipe to work, it is critical that the flowers be gathered on a dry sunny day, as these conditions are necessary to preserve the wild yeast that is present on the flowers. ***
 
1 gallon (4.5 litres) water
Rind of 1 lemon & juice
1.5 lbs (700g) raw organic sugar
2 tbsps (30ml) white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar can be used)
12 head of elderflowers
 
1. Bring the water to the boil. Pour into a sterilised container, add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
 
2. When cool, add the juice and rind of the lemon, vinegar and elderflowers. Cover with several layers of muslin clothe and leave for 24 hours.
 
3. Pour through a sporage bag or muslin clothe into strong glass bottles. Stir out of direct sunlight, at room temperate for two weeks.
 
Don’t be tempted to check for gas formation as this tends to spoil the end result.
Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume. if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic. This will be slightly alcoholic and by definition a non-alcoholic soft drink. Consider this most soft drinks are slightly alcoholic including coca-cola and pepsi, because of fermentation of the sugars.  Effervescent usually means it has dissolved gas or a reaction chemically within the drink forms gas.  As few soft drinks today are fermented, most are artificially gassed through carbonation.  In the fermentation process sugar is digested by yeast and a one of the by products of this process is carbon dioxide.  Few manufactures want their products to continue fermenting, as this would affect its shelf life, risk the product exploding and exceed mandated alcohol content. When you are depending on natural yeast, it can be hit and miss.  You might not get any, get a large amount, or very active yeast and this can affect results.  If stored will continue to ferment and generate more alcohol and gas, therefore it should be consumed after it has sat for two weeks.  If you don’t there is a risk of the bottle exploding.
Thanks to Dave Clarke for this explanation and his experience.
“No need to add yeast you have natural yeasts in the flowers and the sugar feeds the yeast to produce alcohol and the by product is carbon dioxide bubbles (fizz). The citric acid in the lemon juice and the acetic acid in the vinegar helps the fermentation along ad stop nasty bacteria from spoiling the product. The longer the natural fermentation lasts the more pressure you will get in the bottles along with a higher alcohol content and it is advised to release the pressure every couple of days to minimise the chance of them exploding. I make mine in a pressure barrel. If you don’t want alcohol in it you need to reduce the sugar by at least half and drink it within the fortnight suggested in the text to produce it or alternatively store it in a fridge, as the cold will stop the fermentation.”
 
 
 
 
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How to make lilac wine

Lilac Flowers

I have always loved the smell of lilac, especially of a Summer’s evening, when the temperature has cooled and there is a bit of humidity in the air, the fragrance is uplifting.

This is again a first for us, if the wine captures the essence of the fragrance, it should make a lovely wine.

Pot of lilac flowers

  • Ingredients:
  • 3.5 quarts/3.5 kilograms lilac flowers, fresh
  • 2.5 lb/1.5kg raw organic sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 1.2 US gallons/4.5 litres water
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient & yeast
  • Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
    A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.Equipment:
    Any bucket size above 5 litre, in food grade plastic
    Siphon
    Stirring rod
    4.5 litre/1 gallon demijohn
    Air lock & Bung
    Travel/Luggage scale
    Nylon straining (sporage) bag or muslin cloth

Bring the water to the boil.  Switch off the heat.  Add the lilac flowers to a fermenting bucket and add the hot water.  Leave the sealed bucket to stew for 2 days.  Sterlise a demijohn, airlock bubbler and bung.  Rince out the demijohn and equipment well to remove the sterilising agent.  Add the sugar, yeast and citric acid to the demijohn.  Strain the flowers through a muslin clothe and funnel in the demijohn and top the level up with water if needed to the level shown in the picture below.

 

 

Add a airlock value and keep beside a fire or in a warm place for 3 – 6 months, depending on your preference for sweet or dry wine.

Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution, as the airlock is filled with distilled water.  Remember to put a cap on the top of the airlock bubbler, this prevents airborne bacteria or yeast floating down into the bubbler.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.

The colour was not what we expected.  It reminds me of rosehip syrup.

 

How to Make Parsnip Wine

Parsnip wine we have been told is one of the nicest wines the homebrewer can make.  Again we are relying on the following book for the recipe.

Front cover book 130 new winemaking recipes

We had plenty of good sized parsnips left over.  We left them in the ground to keep them fresh until we were ready to use them.  Despite our best efforts, and I mean parsnip for dinner many, many evening in a row, we still had loads over.  The raised bed they were in needed to be cleared for this years growing, in any case.Peeled and chopped parsnip

The parsnip was washed to remove any dirt before peeling and chopping.  Chop the parsnip into small pieces like shown in the picture.  A travel scale is a handy tool for measuring the weight of large quantities of fruit/flowers/roots/leaves and can picked up in most discount shops for around €3/£2.  Add your parsnip to a large saucepan or pot, with 11 litres of water and bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 40 minutes.  Check the parsnip regularly as you do not want the parsnip to go to mush, boil them to tender.  Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool for several hours until tepid or it is safe to pour.  Strain through a muslin clothe/sporage bag.  Add the strained juice to another 11 litres of cold water already in a fermenting bucket.  Add the sugar and stir.  Pour into a pot and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes.

Boiling the parsnip

You may need to split the liquid between two pots as we had to do.  Cool to about 22°C/72°F, or add yeast and nutrient, pectin enzyme (this helps to clarify the wine) and then pour back into a sterilised fermenting bucket, cover with a muslin clothe or lid and keep beside a fire for at least a week.

Parsnip wine in fermenting bucket

 

Racking parsnip wine from bucket into carboy

Racking parsnip wine into carboy

After the week, rack (siphon from one container to another, leaving the sediment at the bottom) it into a carboy and add a airlock value and keep beside a fire or in a warm place for 3 – 12 months, depending on your preference for sweet or dry wine.

 

 

 

 

Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within a couple of minutes to 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.

 

Rack (siphon) off into a sterilised brewing bucket after 6 weeks to help clear sediment and clarify the wine.  Pour back into the washed carboy and then again after three months, repeat the process of racking off, before bottling.

Our tip: Once you are happy with the finished taste, specific gravity, alcohol content.  Then add a 1/2 beaker of silver colloidal water to the brew to stop/slow down fermentation.  Stir in and bottle as normal.

Ingredients:
7kgs/15lbs Parsnip
5kgs/11lbs Raw Organic Sugar
4 tbsp Citric Acid
1 & 1/2  tsp Yeast & Nutrient
Pectinol/Pektolase (Pectin Enzyme) – Consult manufacturers recommendations
1/2 cup of silver water
Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.

Equipment:
27 litre/7.5 Gallon (UK) Brewing bucket
Siphon
Stirring rod
27 litre/6 Gallon Carboy
Air lock & Bung
Travel/Luggage scale
Nylon straining (sporage) bag or muslin cloth

All brewing equipment and the winemaking book are available from Mullingar Homebrew – mullingarhomebrew.ie (Coming Soon) – Until the website is launched you can contact Brendan: +353 (0) 86 8127 305

Fitted Airlock

Airlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not levelAirlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not level in the airlock.

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

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Making Rhubarb Wine

Making wine is simple, it requires very little equipment to get going and you can make delicious home grown or foraged wines.

Front cover book 130 new winemaking recipes

There is a glut of rhubarb in the garden at present and every year we wonder what to do with it.  There are only so many rhubarb tarts you can eat!  So last year we tried the rhubarb wine and it was very pleasant.  Problem solved.

Sunday 15th May 2016 was a fantastic day to gather the rhubarb and sit outside chopping it up.  10 kilos is required for a final volume of around 23 litres

bucket of chopped rhubarbChop the rhubarb into small pieces like shown in the picture.  A travel scale is a handy tool for measuring the weight of fruit and can picked up in most discount shops for around €3/£2. The rhubarb is washed to remove any dirt before chopping.  The water is filled to 22 litres of cold well water.

bucket filled to 21 litres

Then lid it and keep indoors for the next three day.  Twice daily, stir the rhubarb to help infuse the juices of the rhubarb.  After three days.

The rhubarb after 3 days

Strain off the rhubarb and pour the juice into a sterlised 23 litre carboy, adding 6kg of raw organic sugar, stir well add 1 & 1/2 teaspoon of yeast and nutrient and 4 teaspoons of citric acid.  Stir the sugar until dissolved.  Fill to the level indicated in the picture below, add additional water if required.

Straining the rhubarb juice into carboy

Next fit an airlock to the carboy and place beside a heat source, such as a range, open fire, for the next three months, so the brew can ferment at at average of 22°C/72°F, avoid allowing the wine to go below 22°C/72°F or above 27°C/80°F . Label your carboy with the name of the wine and date it was made.  Fit a temperature sticker to the carboy.  Within a couple of minutes to 24 hours, the yeast should start converting the sugar into alcohol and in the process produce gas.  The airlock is to allow gas to escape and no contaminants to enter the sterile solution.  The yeast kills all other micro-organism to maintain a sterile environment.  Remember to place the cap on the airlock, as shown in the picture below, in this case it is red.

Carboy with rhubarb juice, sugar, yeast and citric acid added. Now fitted with airlock

Rack (siphon) off into a sterilised brewing bucket after 6 weeks to help clear sediment and clarify the wine.  Pour back into the washed carboy and then again after three months, repeat the process of racking off, before bottling.

Our tip: Once you are happy with the finished taste, specific gravity, alcohol content.  Then add a 1/2 beaker of silver colloidal water to the brew to stop/slow down fermentation.  Stir in and bottle as normal.

Ingredients:
10kgs/22lbs Rhubarb
6kgs/13lbs Raw Organic Sugar
4 tsp Citric Acid
1 & 1/2  tsp Yeast & Nutrient
1/2 cup of silver water
Sterilising agent: peracetic acid, Milton, or silver colloidal water
A small amount of distilled water to fill the airlock.

 

Equipment:
27 litre/7.5 Gallon (UK) Brewing bucket
Siphon
Stirring rod
27 litre/6 Gallon Carboy
Air lock & Bung
Travel/Luggage scale
Nylon straining bag or muslin cloth

All brewing equipment and the winemaking book are available from Mullingar Homebrew – mullingarhomebrew.ie (Coming Soon) – Until the website is launched you can contact Brendan: +353 (0) 86 8127 305

Fitted Airlock

Airlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not levelAirlock just fitted to carboy, notice that the water is not level in the airlock.

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

Airlock, water now level after a few minutes

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Spring is almost over – New life

For a Spring its been a mixed bag, but now the weather is picking up and the growing season is in full swing.  Sorry for the lack of posts recently, the workload has ramped up of late.

There is so much to do and it’s a blessing to have the good weather and longer days to do it.

We have been propagating and planting seeds.  Growing a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than last year and introducing new medicinal herbs for home remedies such as the the burdock plant.  A fantastic detox herb, we plan to harvest the root with dandelion root and make our own root beer/soft drink.  This year we are introducing courgette, squash, gerkin and aubergine to the variety of vegetables we already grow.

We set a Rhode Island Red hen, on 9 eggs and hope on Monday 2nd May 2016, we will have adorable baby chicks.

Here is the proud Mammy to be, Reddy Penny, nicely snuggled up in her box of straw.  We separated her from the other hens to prevent them from laying in her nest and disturbing her clocking.  She ventures out into her separate run only very occasionally to eat, stretch and do her business.

Reddy Penny on her nest

     Reddy penny clocking chicks

Hen Ark

      The hen ark where Reddy Penny lives

The red grape vine we brought back from Romania is thriving and hopefully before too long will be supplying us with lovely homegrown grapes for juices and wines, salads and snacks.

The rhubarb is flourishing and it will be ready soon to harvest and make the first wine of the year.  We have been gathering up wine bottles from friends and family, enough to hold about 125 litres.  We prefer the swing-top bottles, but they can be expensive.  Aldi/Lidl do have natural lemonade/soft drinks in swing top bottles, so we buy a few of those from time to time to have them for wine.

Red Grape Vine from Romania

   Red Grape Vine from Romania

The kiwi plant has survived the Winter, as have the asparagus and it has 14 spears sprouting already.  We are excited, as it will be our first time to harvest them.  Steamed and sprinkled with cilantro or coriander leaves, mmmm.

Cilantro is a new herb for us.  Despite the misunderstanding that its another name for coriander, which it is too, it is slightly different in its properties.  It tastes and looks the same, but has more active/potent chemicals that are good for liberating toxins/heavy metals from the body.  So it’s a welcome gift from two lovely people.

The parsley has burst into life in the polytunnel, so it’s time to dust off the de-hydrator, a great buy last year, that dries from the top down as oppose to the bottom up, avoiding juices dripping down into the fan/motor and then breeding germs to blow onto the food your drying.  It’s BPA free, a rarity in domestic appliances, I think.  Here is the one we bought. BPA Free De-Hydrator

We have a few homebrews on off late, and recently we have tried a high specific gravity beer, called the “Hammer of Thor” it’s a 6%, so a strong one at that.  Thanks to Matty for the suggestion and the trial.

We don’t drink much despite the fact we make our own drinks.   Mostly the wines are used in cooking and we bring them with us to barter and exchange as gifts, when we visit friends.

A friend from Mullingar, County Westmeath is setting up a homebrew company, with a physical shop and online presence.  He has a real passion for quality, and customer satisfaction and will only stocking products and kits he has tried and tested.

At the end of this year, we hope to have enough material to publish a book of off-grid/self-sufficient living and publish the book in hard copy and e-copy formats.  It will cover herbalism and home remedies, growing, keeping poultry and bees, off grid electricity, home preservation of foods, off grid transport, spirituality and homebrewing.

Another project is to get the 4kw off-grid system assembled and wired in, there is a few things to get to be ready, but most of the equipment is there.  Exciting times ahead. 🙂

So it’s going to be another wonderful year, growing ever closer to the goal of self-sufficient living.