Thursday, January 04, 2007

recent ferments

The folks that came to visit us in December were fermentation-friendly.  They were willing to try anything I had made.  Seemed like a good time to break out the things that were hiding in the corners.
wild blackberry wine
Last summer my brother and I picked about 2 quarts of wild blackberries on the side of the road.  I ran them through the blender to make a juicy mush, about 1 quart.  Added 3 quarts of water.  I probably dumped in a cup of some other ferment that was already going in the kitchen, but I don't remember.  Let it ferment in a jar for a week or two, then moved to a narrow-mouthed jug with an airlock.  Put that in the back of a closet until last week.
It was good, but not great.  Biggest problem is that there was too much water.  I probably should not have added any, and just gone with the juice.
Water & honey, in a 4:1 ratio.  Stir often until fermentation gets active.  Once it settles down, bottle.  Let it sit in the back of closet.
Excellent.  Each bottle is a little different.  Some are dry, some are sweet.  All are very fizzy, with tiny champaign-like bubbles.  Everyone loves it.
I've decided to make lots more of this, and make it more often.  I have a quart of it sitting on the counter now, which I stir often, trying to get a good culture.  It doesn't seem to be going well, so I think I'll need to start over.  Once I have a good bubbly mix, I'll be making a bunch.
I'm thinking of a two-week cycle.  Every other weekend I bottle what I have, saving a little to start another batch.
I may need more bottles.
Before my thanksgiving trip I started some kraut.  I had 3 heads of cabbage sitting in the fridge that I couldn't find time to make.  With the trip coming, I decided to take shortcuts.  I cut the heads in to big peices, no where near the shredding that is common with commercial sauerkraut.  Salt, in to crocks, add some water to cover.  As an experiement, I kept the heads intact and put them on the bottom.  It's like a prize. :-)
They turned out really well; the kraut is very crisp.  Plenty of people are enjoying it. I look forward to having a generous cellar one day, where I can keep gallons of kraut around all winter.


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