With all of the cool and wet weather lately it seems we have a second spring going. Although it isn’t doing the tomatoes any favors, the rhubarb is loving it. I made a second harvest today of 7 1/2 pounds of cleaned and diced rhubarb. Some of this will go into the freezer for Blackberry Rhubarb cobbler later this winter. But with 12 cups of the rhubarb I am going to make Rhubarb juice concentrate and can it. I came across the recipe last winter while thumbing through my Ball book. I think it will be good for instant homemade soda, just combine with seltzer in equal proportions. And I’m betting I can come up with a cocktail or two out of it as well.
We made our first attempt at blackberry picking earlier this week. We had scoped our usual spot about two weeks ago and though they would just be starting to come in now. We hadn’t been out picking the meager amount of ripe berries for more than 30 minutes when a big thunderstorm rolled in, complete with lightening (rare in these parts) and started dropping big fat raindrops on us. We ended up with about 1 quart of berries for our hurried efforts and those went directly into the freezer. They were still a bit tart and will be best baked in something with added sugar.
I am contemplating attempting rhubarb wine, or perhaps (if we ever do get a blackberry harvest) starting a second batch of hard cider with some blackberries thrown in. I racked the first batch of cider off to the original apple juice one gallon containers. It had stopped fermenting after the third week or so. It came out rather nice and I am sure it will improve with age. It is quite dry, none of the sweetness you get with store bought hard cider - but it still has a very appley undertaste to remind you of its roots. I could sweeten it if I wanted to, but I think I like it the way it is.I really should start saving the odd beer bottles round here instead of recycling, so I can put my cider in them and carbonate it.
Not a bad deal in all. The 5 gallons of apple juice cost me $22.72 and the supplies (fermenter, corn sugar and two packs of yeast) cost $24.07. This end product is almost 9 six packs worth of cider, which round here retail for $6.99 each on a good day (9x$6.99=62.91). So even adding the cost of the equipment and the second pack of yeast and remaining sugar I am still $16.12 ahead of the game. And the next batch will just cost the 22.72 for juice as I have everything else I need. We have plenty of get togethers here and it will come in useful to not have the big outlay of money for stocking up on beer before a party. If people want something else then they can bring it!