Strawberry wine

Herald Series:

IF you have so many strawberries in the house that you don't know what to do with them, then turn them into wine.

Strawberry wine is absolutely delicious and turning strawberries into wine is certainly one way of enjoying your summer produce during the winter months.

This recipe follows one written by the late Mollie Harris - she adds a few drops of whisky to her strawberries, whereas I prefer to let the flavour of the strawberries, which I picked at Millets Farm, Frilford, come to the fore.

For one demijohn, which will give you approximately four to five bottles of wine, you will need: 4lb (2kg) fresh strawberries 3lb (1.5 kg) granulated sugar 1 sachet dried yeast Juice of 2 lemons Equipment: One glass demijohn, one airlock, one cork designed to hold airlock, two buckets, large strainer, large funnel and a piece of muslin. Also sterilising tablets.

Method: Place the strawberries in a bucket and mash with a potato peeler or wooden spoon - or use your fingers, which are usually far more effective Pour a gallon of cold water over the mashed strawberries, stir well and cover for three days - or until the mashed fruit begins to float to the top Strain into another bucket (discard the squashed fruit). Add the lemon juice and sugar, stir well, then add the yeast and stir again Cover and leave for at least four days, only straining it into a sterilized demijohn, using a funnel and muslin, when you are confident that the yeast activity has calmed down Top with a little water, if needs be, to ensure that the demijohn is full Fix the cork securely into the demijohn and add the airlock, having half-filled it with water. Make sure the cork is secure and that bubbles are moving through the airlock, before placing the wine in a dark cupboard until December.

NOTE: You may discover that a sponge-like substance has formed in the middle of the demijohn once the wine begins to age. Don't worry - all strawberry wine develops this strange extra. It's the sign of an excellent wine.

Bottle when the wine is clear and you are quite sure all yeast activity has ceased. If you bottle too early, the corks may shoot out due to the build-up of gases.

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