Sunday, November 23, 2008
Apple blossom and raspberry leaf alcopop!
I'm pretty sure it's Sandor Ellix Katz who is responsible for popularising (among us westerners!) home-made t'ej - Ethiopian style honey wine. It's the first, and simplest recipe in his book 'Wild Fermentation'.
Basically - 1 part raw honey to 4 parts water. Stir to dissolve honey. Cover. Leave in a warm room for several days. Stir at least twice a day, and wait for the wild wine-making yeasts to take up residence. Once the liquid is bubbly and smells and tastes like wine - well, it is.
You can use the basic principle to experiment with any sweeteners and additional ingredients you like.
Recently I tried using sugar instead of honey, and using water infused with blackberry leaves (tannins for some dryness) plus the last blossoms on our apple tree. The idea was that the sugar would be less strong-tasting than the honey, and allow the subtle apple blossom taste to come through more.
I'm not sure if sugar water is as good a breeding ground for wild yeasts as raw honey though! The result (above) was a nice tasting drink that tasted somewhat fermented, but was only very slightly alcoholic. More a home-made alcopop really!
Oh well. Further apple blossom experiments will have to wait till next year (and this time, I'll get started before they've almost all fallen off!) Meanwhile I'll find some other things to try and make wild wine from ...