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This time of year (between Thanksgiving and Spring), that I don't have a whole lot of chors to do outside, unless 6" or more of snow falls. So this is the time of year I do most of the final bottling of all the wine I made this year, and make plans as to who gets what for Christmas and New Years. I have made some faces smile already.

It looks like Elderberry Wine and Jelly, Blackberry Wine and Raspberry Wine came out as good as can be expected. Since tasting the end results is the only taste of wine I ever prefer to get, I guess everyone else will be happy. I keep most of the Jelly for my self, but the Wine goes out the door, except I put one quart bottle away for safe keeping, in case I get company and they want some home made stuff. I make wine as a hobby, and it is a low cost hobby I enjoy. But when it comes to socializing, I like Beer or Ale. I figure a Dentist has to go to another Dentist to get his teeth worked on, and a Barber has to go somewhere else for a haircut, even a Surgeon has to go to another Surgeon for an operation. So when it comes to drinking alcohol, I go for a beer. (before you ask, I did ask my barber who cuts his hair... and he doesn't do it himself, he goes to another barber. He has a reciprical agreement with the other barber).

I never did find out how many people who come to this forum do any wine making, or who would like to try their hand at a new hobby, for the slow times.
 

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While I have turned my hand at making wine in the past that would have been a lost cause around here this year. We had that late freeze that nipped in the bud almost all the fruit bearing plants. I think I only got one or two strawberries of my patch. Last winter I had a hard time keeping the deer out of that patch so this season we harvested three (deer that is) in the general area. I am afraid that is only a drop i;n the bucket so to say as we are still seeing them on a regular basis. So far they have left the strawberry patch alone. It must be because of my fierce guard dogs, Ha, Ha. Do you know that blackberry, raspberry and strawberry leaves, picked while young and dried make a pleasant flavored tea?

RJ
 

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Ranger said:
While I have turned my hand at making wine in the past that would have been a lost cause around here this year. We had that late freeze that nipped in the bud almost all the fruit bearing plants. I think I only got one or two strawberries of my patch. Last winter I had a hard time keeping the deer out of that patch so this season we harvested three (deer that is) in the general area. I am afraid that is only a drop i;n the bucket so to say as we are still seeing them on a regular basis. So far they have left the strawberry patch alone. It must be because of my fierce guard dogs, Ha, Ha. Do you know that blackberry, raspberry and strawberry leaves, picked while young and dried make a pleasant flavored tea? RJ
It takes me less than an hour to get a batch together. That includes everything to make a gallon. I usually only make it in one gallon jugs. Sometimes 5 at a time, but only in one gallon jugs. I had a 5 gallon batch go bad on me long ago and I never seemed to go back to big batches after that. At least now if one goes bad the rest are still ok. I have quite a few 5 gallon carboys but I don't use them unless I get lazy. Over the years I collected roughly 43 one gallon glass jugs, about 6 five gallon glass carboys and a few crocks.

I am sure I mentioned this before, but I will put it out again. You can go to the supermarket and buy frozen berrys to make wine. The recipe doesn't change, just the fact that the only berry picking you did was in the frozen food section. I came up short once on a batch of raspberry wine, so I went to the store and bought a pound and a half from the freezer section. You can easily find frozen raspberrys and blackberrys year round at the supermarket. You can also make wine from any Jelly. (strawberry jelly comes in handy for this)

*

No, I didn't know those leaves make good tea. I will try it.

I do have wild Spearmint growing around here and I never miss a chance to have some fresh or dried in a tea.
 

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You might also try wild bergamot or purple monarda if it grows wild in your area. We have two species of it in Missouri. In the late spring we get Monarda russeliana and later in the year we get the Monarda fistullosa. Ether of these plants or even the common cultivated red bee balm will give a minty flavored tea with the dried leaves or blooms.

RJ
 
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