Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Cider-making, October, Rowan Jelly

Its cider-making time again. The Farmer has been very busy over the last week or so processing vast quantities of apples from our own orchards and fruit given to us by friends & neighbours. The process is quite speedy with an apple scratter to crush the fruit which is then put in the press and the resulting golden juice is then put into the fermenting drums to sit in the kitchen for a few days until it has finished bubbling when it is then transferred into kegs to mature. Some of the juice is put into plastic bottles for freeezing as straight apple juice to see us through the winter or brought into the house for drinking straightaway. It is gorgeous. Last year's vintage of cider is proving to be very palatable and is a glorious clear honey-gold in colour. It is an amazing process...what starts out as very cloudy juice which oxidises almost immediately to a dark biscuit-y brown colour and is not all that appetising becomes this beautiful clear golden liquid, a transformation that is entirely natural with no additives or preservatives of any kind, just the naturally occurring yeasts working their magic.

October is already proving to be as busy as the rest of the year. The Sons have been out cutting silage again for neighbours as we are having such good weather at present, dry and still fairly warm in the sunshine but with quite strong winds now and then. A few days ago when we were still having showers of rain there were several amazing sightings of vast wide rainbows casting across the landscape, quite beautiful. The valley has been echoing with the rattle of hedge-trimmers out and about along roadsides and in fields. The hedges need to be c kept in check but I think the Farmer would agree with me that the trimming ought to be left until the winter so that the birds and small mammals can glean what food they can from the hedge-row berries of which there are still quite profusion. It is no longer worth me going out to pick blackberries but there are still lots of small fruits including the rose-hips & hawthorn berries to be had.
After a particularly windy night a week or so ago I found a goodly quantity of rowan berries had been blown off the high branches of the trees up one of the ancient lanes on the farm, so I gathered them up and made some beautiful rose-pink rowan jelly which is delicious served as an accompaniment to roast meat.

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