BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘home brew’

#365daysofbiking Respecting the elders

Tuesday, September 29th 2020 – Out and about the leaves may be starting to turn but there are still plenty of fruits, berries and seeds about. Crab apples and conkers litter the ground and edges of roads; acorns crunch as you ride past oak trees overhanging canal towpaths; one often startles birds picking at the last, dripping blackberries clinging on to wayside thickets.

The black and glistening favourite of home wine-makers, the elderberries, did not seem to have a good season this year with small, sparse fruit with only the odd profuse bush. But some still cling on, mainly to feed the birds.

As usual, there are still plenty in Victoria Park, Darlaston. For some reason the local winemakers generally leave these for the birds.

Seeing these handsome berries is bittersweet, like the fruit itself, for they signify the end of summer.

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#365daysofbiking Berry wet

August 14th – On Clayhanger Common, the elderberries are ripening slowly. These beautiful, tiny back berries, beloved of winemakers for centuries make a great home brew red wine that’s known for potency and taste.

Elderberries always look beautiful in the rain and are a lovely indicator of a fruitful season ahead.

Although I’d personally not gather these particular ones due to the history of their location, I’ll be out gathering others for a relative when the time comes, continuing a family ritual that’s gone on for decades, if not centuries.

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#365daysofbiking Respect your elders

May 30th – Also blossoming now is the delightful and humble elder, a shrub beloved of winemakers for hundreds of years. It grows in woods, hedgerows, on wasteland and anywhere it can. Here in Harlaston it’s thriving at the back of Victoria Park.

The tiny, beautiful white flowers have a gorgeous scent and can be used to make wine or champagne: the berries they make way for – deep red, almost black – make a heavy, heady wine that’s almost legendary.

This gives the winemaker a tasty dilemma: White and floral or red and strong?

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September 2nd – This year, as usual, I’m charged with foraging fruits and other goodies for the family winemaker, and precious jewels indeed are the sloes.

Thankfully on my ride out to The Roaches, I found a plentiful crop I’m not going to give the location of!

Thes dark red berries with the blue sheen, very similar in appearance to damsons make a lovely warming gin and are much prized.

A great find!