Spring is brewing season around here for everything but ciders, which are best done as the apples are pressed in autumn. I fell a bit behind so I am restocking the wine cellar heavily. Last month I brewed 12 gallons, and this month another 18. I will brew another 18 gallons in May, for a total spring brewing season of 48 gallons, and that will finally get us back on track as I didn’t do much last year and the wine cellar was running low.
We aim to use two bottles of wine per week between cooking or a daily glass of wine each, which is 18 gallons of wine per year. Despite North America’s paranoid love-hate relationship with alcohol (no wonder, in a country where the goal of drinking is to get drunk), wine, when used in moderation, is positively linked to a clean and healthy cardiovascular system, and a glass at dinner is an old French tradition I’ve always adhered to.
We aim for about 18 gallons per year of ale or cider, too, especially for those warm months when a lot of outdoors work is happening. Nothing like a cold wheat beer or oat ale or bubbly cider after a hard day in the fields. And come autumn, nothing like pumpkin ale to toast the spirits round the bonfire.
Daphne used to complain that it was a tragedy to waste the yeasty dregs. Well, we waste them no more! She’s figured out how to make vegemite and marmite (god, I hate them and refuse to touch them!), and we’ve started using the yeasty dregs–rich in all the B vitamins–in stews and other dishes. Tonight, she is going to experiment with the elderberry wine dregs–just drained from today’s brewing activities–in making a sweetbread or cake.
As I was working on this, I got to thinking of the number of fermented foods we make in our traditional lifestyle, and it is amazing. Bread, cheese and yogurt are but a few. A while back Daphne started applying medieval methods of vegetable preservation by fermenting vegetables, which isn’t half bad.
To see a brief video on “The Three Stages of Brewing”, shown in the photo above, follow this link.