The Easiest Way to Harvest Blackcurrants

It is early July, early evening and it’s cold.

The stove is lit.

The weather systems all over the world appear to have gone wild, but as I sit here, sipping tea and typing, the reality of life is more to do with getting the harvest of blackcurrants into the freezer!

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageI have returned from the kitchen with a cuppa and red-tinted fingers from all the handling of the currants as I weigh them into bags.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants in the Permaculture GardensWhatever the weather is like we have to adapt as best as possible and Blackcurrants don’t seem to mind any way!

There is no sense in this weather here at the moment, or in the fact that Summer in Ireland started in March of this year and ended in April…take a look at the blogs I posted during that time, bearing in mind that I take photographs on a daily basis, real-time so to speak!

However, life at the permaculture smallholding goes on in quite a pleasant way, harvesting, freezing and making chutney.

I have found that the easiest way of harvesting the currants is to cut whole stems and wheel-barrow them over to the veranda where I can sit quietly and harvest the berries, listening to the gentle tinkling of the wind-chimes…it’s pleasant work with lots of time for fleeting thoughts!

It saves a lot of backache and gives the bushes a good pruning too!

The sky seems to be perpetual grey blanket of cloud, with the very occasional peek through of blue sky and sunshine…very occasional that is!

It does remain fairly bright, being that this is the west of Ireland  and we are surrounded by ocean.

Visitors to Bealtaine tell me about droughts in western USA and torrential rain in England.

It does all seem rather mad!

I’m hoping for a beautiful Autumn!

Home Made Wine from the Permaculture Garden.

 

Checking out the demijohns of various wines yesterday, I realised that some were ready to either rack off-that means transferring them to another, clean demijohn, or bottle up…so I spent a couple of hours doing just that, as well as sampling each one…well, it has to be done!Making wine from the abundant harvest of organic blackcurrants is one of my favourite summer tasks.

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

Plenty of bees in the permaculture gardens ensure masses of fruit and vegetables

I also use Strawberries, Redcurrants, Rosehips and Jostaberries, all grown here at Bealtaine.home made wine at Bealtaine Cottage

The wine here is Strawberry and Redcurrant.

Bealtaine Cottage redcurrants from the permaculture gardens

After bottling it needs to be laid down for about 3 months minimum.

This improves the taste and helps maturity.

Bealtaine Cottage wine makingMost of the flower and fruit wines I have made over the years have needed this, with the occasional wine being drinkable straight from the demijohn!

The big freezer in the pantry is still in the process of being cleared out.

Blackcurrants in the freezer at Bealtaine CottageKilos of Blackcurrants and Redcurrants remain, as well as the Rhubarb added this year.

Wines and jams will be on the ‘To Do List,’ for the coming week!Bealtaine Cottage wine making

Keeping everything clean is very important in wine making and bottling.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrant and Redcurrants

I use a baby equipment sterilising fluid and find this cheap and effective.

A bowlful is enough, making sure that lots of swirling takes place!

Dried herbs from Bealtaine Cottage

I use one pound of sugar to one pound of fruit. each demijohn takes about four pounds of fruit.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants

I add 1 teaspoon of wine yeast and fill with spring water, which thankfully comes out of the tap here!

I use a hand corker as you can see.

It is effective and works well in corking the bottles efficiently and completely.

Home made wine to celebrate Imbolc at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 005All in all the process uses absolutely no imported energy, as all the bottles are re-cycled from friends.

*************

This website, Bealtaine Cottage, is free and has over eleven hundred blogs, as well as over six thousand photographs!

PLEASE SUPPORT THE BEALTAINE PROJECT THROUGH A SUBSCRIPTION TO BEALTAINE COTTAGE GOOD LIFE...

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…