Cylch Blodeuwedd

Druidic Grove in North-West Wales

May Blossom Wine

by Oak King - January 20th, 2009.
Filed under: Recipes. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , .

Equipment: All you need is a fermentation bin (available from shops selling home brew stuff), a sieve, a grater and a lemon squeezer. Clean glass bottles – corks are fine but screw tops are better, a length of syphon pipe.

Ingredients: May blossom, sugar, lemons and oranges, wine yeast (for amounts see below!).

Collecting the blossom: Ideally, you should be picking your blossom on a dry, sunny day; this brings out the best aroma. Although is is supposed to be a flower wine it is almost impossible to avoid a proportion of stalks (and even leaves) getting into you receptacle which I wouldn’t worry too much about. As far as the amount is concerned, for any kind of blossom and leave wine I use a one pint measuring jug which I fill twice fairly tightly to make one gallon of wine. Any surplus can only enhance the flavour but do try not to use any less!

Processing: This is done in two stages.

1.)When you get home with your blossom, place them in a clean fermenting bin, boil plenty of water and pour over them. All blossom should be well covered and the bin approximately ¾ full. Press the lid firmly down in order to keep the aroma in the bin. Let your bin stand out of direct sunlight for about three days, during which the water will absorb the flavour and colour of your blossom.

2.)After three days put sugar into your biggest pan and strain your ‘must’ through a sieve over it. For one gallon of wine you will need about 2½ lbs of sugar. Stir really well until all sugar is dissolved and add the peel of one lemon and one orange per gallon to it. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully pour the hot liquid back into your fermentation bin (which you will have rinsed out by then!) and, if necessary, fill up with just boiling water to make up to the amount required. Put the lid back on but this time leave a small section slightly open for the hot air to escape. Wait until liquid is hand warm and then stir in the juice of your lemon(s) and orange(s). Finally, add a sachet of wine yeast according to the manufacturer’s instructions. That’s it!!!

Fermenting:Leave your bin in a safe place out of the sun and not too cold (at least to begin with). Make sure the lid is still slightly open for the carbon dioxide to escape once fermentation has started. This should begin after about 24 hours and is indicated by a layer of bubbly foam on top of your liquid plus a lively fizzing sound. After three to four weeks fermentation will be slowing down and the bin can now be moved into somewhat cooler conditions. Altogether your wine will take at least four months to be ready to drink but it is advisable to wait another three to four months for the wine to clear, mature and develop its full aroma. Once you get into the habit of wine making, best thing is to work in a one-year-rhythm, meaning you syphon your wine into bottles at roughly the same time that you are making next year’s lot!

Syphoning: This can be a bit tricky if you have to move your bin! The sediment in the bottom is easily disturbed and can cloud your wine which will take days if not weeks to clear again. If at all possible, for the whole length of fermentation place your bin on a raised surface about twice the height of your bottles. Syphoning is much easier done by two people, one actually filling the bottles and the other keeping the end of the pipe just below the gradually lowering surface of the wine. The odd piece of lemon peel might still get into your bottles but, by and large, the wine should be clear. If there is some cloudiness, don’t worry! The last bottle to be filled is almost guaranteed to suck up some ‘dregs’ from the bottom of the bin; mark it and use for cooking! Otherwise, most wines should clear of their own accord. The rule is that the longer you leave your wine – either in the fermenting bin or in the bottles, the clearer it will be. Some wines might never quite clear, while others might come out sparkingly clear straight away – that’s home brewing for you! There are additives available to help clear wines but I personally am inclined to tolerate a bit of cloudiness rather than risking a funny aftertaste in my wine. It’s worth it


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