Children And Blueberries

Yesterday, with my wife still in Kenya, and the knowledge that blueberry season was “open” at The Happy Berry, the kids and I headed out to pick. After gathering 18 pounds, we headed home. That means, much as with the blackberries, we have enough fruit for a 3 gallon batch of wine (3 gallon carboy ready and waiting!) and 2 batches of blueberry jam/preserves. And, because my recipe for blueberry wine takes less blueberries than the blackberry recipe did, the kids can be overjoyed in the leftover 2 pounds of blueberries available for freezing (smoothies!) and eating. A win for all sides!

Thus, this morning I began to make the blueberry wine. I started with the most labor (and time) intensive task, crushing the blueberries. First, I had already measured out the 9 pounds of berries for my 3 gallon batch. Rinsing and removing leftover stems and a couple shriveled berries, then crushing in a pan with the backside of a wooden spoon, little by little I transferred the pulp, skin and juice to a nylon bag in my fermentation bucket. Thought it was never going to be done.

With berries mashed and the bag tied off, I threw 2 gallons of distilled (my tap water has been smelling funny to me) water onto a burner with 7.5 pounds of white sugar. As normal, I didn’t quite boil, just heated to where I could incorporate the sugar fully into solution – to the point the water becomes a faint yellow. That complete, I poured it onto the bag of berries in the bucket, and watched the purpley-red liquid rise from the bottom. I then added the remaining water – total water including the heated part was 3/4 cups shy of 3 gallons – to the pan. Wasn’t quite chilled, but it certainly wasn’t like the sugar-water.

Water, sugar and berries combined, I proceeded to chemicals: I added 6 tsp. of acid blend, followed by 3 tsp. of yeast nutrient and 3/8 tsp. of wine tannin. And I mixed it all in together well, though incorporating oxygen is a little premature at this point. Now I’m just waiting for it to cool so I can move on to the pectic enzyme and its 24 hour cycle. Cooling down is going to take a while, though.

I could start on the blueberry jam/preserves, but Jenna keeps on requesting a movie. I was planning a movie tomorrow, having been told that the dollar movie tomorrow was “The Lego Movie”…but it appears that was last week (sad face). With that no longer an option, I’m not against her desire to go see Maleficent. Not what I would normally choose to go see, though!

UPDATE: At just after 9PM, I added 1.5 tsp. of pectic enzyme. Tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel…

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