Cab's Wild Food Page
Blackberry and Elderberry Wines

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Amongst the best red wines made from wild fruit

You will need:
2kg of blackberries and elderberries, mixed in whatever proportions you've managed to forage.
1.25 - 1.5kg of sugar
Yeast (general winemaking yeast or red wine yeast)
Enough water to make up to a gallon
1-2 Campden tablets
The juice of half a lemon
1 teabag
1 tsp Pectic Enzyme (optional)
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient (optional)
Put the fruit (in whatever proportions you have) into a straining or muslin bag. Get most of a gallon of water, with the sugar, lemon juice and yeast nutrient if you are using it to the boil. Add the teabag for a minute or so, and remove.
Sterilise a bucket with a campden tablet solution (4-5 tablets in half a pint, you can reserve this and use it many, many times). Put the bag of fruit into the bucket, pour on the boiling water, and crush the fruit with the end of a rolling pin or a big spoon. Wait till the whole mix is colled to blood temperature and add a crushed campden tablet. Cover with a sheet of plastic held on with a rubber band or a lid, and leave it be.
The next day, activate your yeast with some luke warm water and sugar, and pour that into the bucket. Mix in the pectic enzyme too (you don't need this, but it'll help reduce the fruit to a pulp).
Mix this every day, keeping the whole covered between mixes, and after 5-7 days rack it into a sterile demi-jon and add an airlock. When it slows down a bit (when it isn't bubbling so fast) top it up with water that you've boiled and allowed to cool a bit, and rack it off any sediment when it seems to have almost stopped. Let it settle till it's fully stopped, rack it again, and wait till you really have to bottle it; if you can give it 6 months that's super. Let it age in the bottle for at least a month or two, and it's ready. If you like, or if it's still sweet, add another campden tablet before bottling.
Note that although I advise letting your wine age, I seldom have the patience to let this one age so long. If you pick the berries really early it'll be bottled by Chistmas; it'll be even better next Christmas.
Depending on the berries, what mix you use or what kind of year they've had, this can turn out anything from a sweet, port-like red to a superb dry table wine. It'll always turn out well, though!

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