Friday, September 15, 2006

Plans for My Elderberries

Once upon a time, I had a son who was obsessed with Redwall books. He loved the action and the moles' accents and the plots and the food. We actually bought a few elderberry bushes because he wanted elderberry wine. (What kind of a mother plants shrubs so her pre-teen can commence to growing fruit to make wine someday???)

Years later, the day arrived to make elderberry wine. It was our first attempt at wine. It turned out quasi-okay. (Hey, that was better than our attempt #2 at wine!) The problem was that it seemed like such a big hairy deal to make wine. We used it as a chemistry experiment, testing the amount of sugar, testing the amount of alcohol, testing the pH level of something or other. But overall, it was an experiment with big hairy instructions, using big hairy science-words instead of my kind of simple English. And on top of all that, there were all those sulfites we were putting into the wine for germ-killing. It's the sulfites that give me headaches.

So yesterday, during Mag's MRI, I was trying to make a dent in my magazine stack. I'm already up to summer 2004; I've made great headway this summer. In issue #88 of Backwoods Home I found instructions on making wine. Not like all the other instructions on making wine, with campden tablets and pectic enzymes and titration kits and sulfite powders. But just fruit and sugar and water and yeast. Like my kombucha brewing. It sounds reasonable just to set the fruit and water and sugar to ferment with a bit of yeast. Like it might even be do-able -- as do-able as my kombucha routine. Assuming, of course, the elderberries ripen at a convenient time.

Philip may get to taste the elderberry wine that the mice drank in Redwall Abbey after all.

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