Decanting Day Part one: Potent pink

Remember that first batch of home brew, the one with blackberries in Dark Rum. Well, since I couldn’t wait for three more weeks and I had a couple of bottles to recycle. Today was decant day. I cannot remember exactly what I might have put in there. There was the staple dark rum, sugar and blackberries. Might have put some cinnamon and cassia bark in there.

The bottles were cleaned and washed. The muslin scalded with boiled water, jam funnel thing located.

And then we decanted. The blackberries hadn’t broken down as much as I liked, so armed with a masher I went about breaking them up in the jar. This did make the jar liquid a bit cloudy. Otherwise, the liquid is a  beautiful claret colour. Very rich, very deep. Fairly potent, you cannot escape the potent vapours.

Small amounts were poured into a pint glass and then passed though the funnel. The funnel was lined with a scalded piece of muslin. I got fed up of watching it drip, though that is probably  the best way to get the liquid beautifully clear. So I took it in hand, and squished the muslin to aid the process. The cloudiness from mashing was significantly reduced actually.

You’re all wanting to know what it tasted like?

Pops tried a bit-i couldn’t get it all into the smallest bottle, so a dribble was left. Pulled a face, shrugged a shoulder, waved hand, That means okay, I think. I tried another dribble. It really was a dribble, after the vapours, I wasn’t going to have a cocktail.You get the alcohol, and then you get spiced blackberries. Might need more fruit, the next time I might make it.

Bruno babies 2014

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This years Bruno is awaiting sacrifice. However the seeds of Bruno previous have been donated to ‘New shoots’ in Leeds, Gardening Leave in Ayrshire and Aston University allotments.

Gardening leave supports Veterans through Horticultural therapy. Aston university is my Alma Mater, and have this year started an on campus allotment.

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Baby of Bruno on the Mersey: Never walks alone

King Kenny, Sir BoB, Bill Shankly
King Kenny, Sir BoB, Bill Shankly

My thanks to @Redlegend68 for the above image.

As you may be aware, a few years ago I grew a ghostrider pumpkin that we called Bruno. When Bruno was harvested in 2011, I saved the seeds and sent them the length and breadth of Britain. Some of the progeny went to Liverpool, and have turned into some beautiful whopping specimens. Two of the above were donate to a harvest festival.

My own bruno is waiting on the window sill, and the seeds of bruno 2014 will then be saved. Once more, they will hopefully go to good homes.

chillies…taking their time, I tell you

thai_two thai_one serrano dorset_flowers

It’s been a wet and windy week in blighty, the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. With work, I’ve not been able to pop down to the plot during the week. I wandered down today in the vain hope that some of the superhots might have started to fruit, There is has been nothing in terms of habaneros yet, which is disappointing. What I do have, is quite a lot of foliage and white flowers dotted around. The number of flowers is certainly greater than during the summer, and to be frank, I have been ignoring the chilli plants.

What I have done, is walked into the poly, and done the shake shake. Shaken the plants from side, in the same way a breeze might. Hoping that this may help the self pollination. There are not many insects around, and touching the flowers risks them falling off. Even the serrano chilli plant is full of flowers now, Though these are slightly rusty looking, which doesn’t bode well.

Checked the aubergines, with their lilac floo’ers. There are quite a few now, so you never know if we are going to have more of those.

Did the hokey cokey with the hot thai chilli plant, and thought why is there a bit of red ribbon down there. It was not a red ribbon, it was a ripe fruit. There were exclamations of oh em gee.  And it’s hot, as i had a rather itchy palm just from holding it.

Final cauli collection

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These are the last caulis to be collected for this year. These were grown in raised beds, with lime added on planting, beneath a cover of debris netting. Most of them have been okay. Half, though, were blown and eaten by pestilence. I forget not what variety these were, but I do remember them being an F1 variety.

Some of the flower heads have been quite big with nice healthy looking curds. Others have been small. I guess putting them in 3×3 formation might need looking at. Using netting certainly helps. Without netting, it’s highly unlikely you would get a crop. I would also place stock in using plugs. My seedlings never survive the slugs.

Baby grapes?

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The grapevines have really developed this summer, and are creeping in every direction. Think I need to build the cane supports upwards as the vines are getting taller.

In something of a surprise, I’ve spotted what looks like a bunch of baby grapes. Odd, as grapes are usually ripening about now. Rather than forming baby bunches. Will be a nice surprise if they are baby grapes.

Purple rain: baby aubergines

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Tiddly tiny aubergines have been harvested. As the nights draw in and there is a distinct chill; the plants might hari kiri themselves at some point.

This is by far the most number of aubergines I have ever harvested. Ma assures me that these will form a curry of some description. They are small and some have been gnawed upon. Just don’t make me eat them.

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