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It's looking a lot like late-summer harvest season...

8:29 AM

As of 2 weeks ago, the storms have started.  This usually marks a turbulent time for changing weather and seasons.  The crows (which seem to disappear every spring when the migratory birds arrive) are making their presence known and the geese are flocking together into noisy airborne groups.  I've been picking blackcaps in our backyard for the last month and they stopped producing this week.  I ended up with about 3 gallons (full ziploc bags) of berries that I put  daily in the freezer to keep.  

I took out the frozen berries and made them into black cap wine, and jam.

Black cap wine is something that I made for the first time last season and it turned out fantastic.  Deep red, sweet, and wonderful chilled in a pretty glass.

Summer 2013 Blackcap wine

Wild Blackcap Wine
regular blackberries or mulberries would work well in this recipe too
4 lbs (1.8kg) Blackcaps 
8 oz sweetened cranberries (or raisins)
1 package cider or champagne yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 1/4 cup apple juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 1/2 lbs (1.6kg) sugar
1 tsp acid blend

In a large, stainless steel pot crush the berries and add the cranberries and 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water. Let sit 24 hours, well covered.

In a jar, make a yeast starter culture by combining the yeast, yeast nutrient, apple juice and lemon juice in a mason jar. Cover and shake vigorously and let stand until bubbly.  

Strain the juice from the must into a 2 gallon plastic bucket.  Discard the pulp.  Add half the sugar, the acid blend, and enough water to make 1 gallon (3.8 liters).   Add the yeast mixture.  Stir until well combined and then let mixture ferment for 5 days lightly covered with a cloth.  
 3 days into the initial ferment it's ALIVE!  You can hear it fizzing!

Stir in the remaining sugar and let ferment for 10 more days.  Rack the wine
into an airlocked fermentation vessel and let it complete the fermentation process. 

 When the wine is clear and no longer bubbling, rack into bottles, cork, and cellar the wine.  

Wait at least 6 months before opening your first bottle.


And we can't forget the jam!  My kids love this stuff and I've made it every year since we moved into this house.  

I follow the directions in the Certo brand pectin box for "Raspberry Cooked Jam".  But I'll write it out here for you.

Wild Blackcap Jam
4 cups crushed blackcap berries
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 package certo pectin

This makes about 7-8 cups of jam

In a large pot bring melted sugar to a rolling boil. 
Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and put aside.  

Combine berries and sugar and bring to a rolling boil. 

 Add Pectin and stir constantly for exactly 1 minute.  Ladle the jam into the jars and put on caps.  Process the covered jars in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Removed cooked jam from the water bath and allow to cool and self-seal on the counter at room temperature.

Will keep for up to 1 year on the shelf.  

Enjoy!   And Happy Harvest!

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