Preserves and Homebrewing

Once again, another busy weekend whizzes by. 

Saturday was preserving day.  I has some plums in the crisper that I wanted to use up, so decided to make a batch of spicy plum sauce.  I also had a glut of cucumbers.  Last year I made bread & butter cucumbers and they were a great hit in sandwiches during the cooler months, so I decided to made more for this year.  I also still have a mountain of jalapeno chillies, so a few jars of hot chilli chutney were on the cards.  Here is the end result after the water bath.

1 March 09 007

Notice the coke bottle at the back.  I was running short of sauce bottles, so found this coke bottle in the recycling bin, and decided that it would survive the water bath.  Waste not want not.

What you see in the photo is the result of about 5 hours of pleasurable work.  I started at 1200 and finished around 1730ish.  The HCC took about an hour all up, the plum sauce took about an hour, with the cucumbers take 3 hours sitting time with salt mixed in to get rid of the bitterness, then about 30 minutes to cook.  Finally the water bath took about and hour all up.

Today, besides visiting the neighbours in the afternoon and helping with the chooks, I managed to get the following done around the garden

  • Fed my chooks and gave them a health check (all fine),
  • Watered the veggie patch,
  • Cleared the corn patch and one tomato bed,
  • Composted the corn/tomatoes,
  • Fed the worms lots of rotten tomatoes,
  • Fed the capsicum bushes, and
  • Held a homebrew class.

Yes, I started sharing my homebrewing skills with a few mates.  David and Dale were my students, and I showed them how to start a batch of beer.  I decided to make a dark ale (Coopers) seeing we are now in autumn, and showed them how to sterilize the equipment, make the wort from a concentrate and dextrose, pitch the yeast at the right temp, and how to get an air tight seal with the airlock.  I really enjoyed being the teacher, and I thanked the lads for carrying the fermenting barrel from the rainwater tank to the shed for me.  I gave them tips and tricks for newbies during the class.  I also made them taste the concentrate, and got them to smell the yeast.  You have to try these things to get be able to get the full brewing experience!  And what would making homebrew be without having a bottle of beer during the process.  Ahh, the amber nectar never tasted so good!

I just checked the barrel and it has not begun to bubble yet, but the yeast has sunk to the bottom.  That is OK, because the temperature is still between 21-27C, so it should begin fermentation some time tonight.  I will check again in the morning. 

Next weekend, the lads are gathering at my place again for the next lesson, which is how to bottle the beer.  I reckon that in about 2 weeks after that, they will both be back again to sample the final product.  That should be a fun lesson of how to present and drink the beer.  Looking forward to that one.

A busy, but fun few days.



  1. says

    Another busy, productive weekend Gavin, don’t you love those?

    Homebrew question: we opened our first bottle of my first batch yesterday, three weeks after bottling. The flavour is nice and there are fine bubbles in it but it tastes flat? There was no head, but I poured it down the side of the glass in case it foamed everywhere so I don’t know if that was me or not. Thoughts?

    Cheers, Julie

  2. Danni- Neighbour says

    Wow, your homebrew class sounds like a hit! Haha I’m sure they can’t wait for the taste testing

  3. says

    @ Julie. I had this problem once. You need to leave the beer for another couple of weeks. Either you didn’t put enough sugar to start secondary fermentation, or you let the fermenter settle too long between the end of fermentation and bottling. You should really bottle within a day or two after the airlock stops. Hope it helps.

    @ Danni. It was a hit. I dare say the lads will be back on Saturday for the second lesson which is How to bottle it. Tell Dale that it is bubbling well.

  4. says

    Ah ha! Thanks Gavin :-) I bottled as soon as it stopped bubbling, so I suspect it either hasn’t fermented long enough, or I didn’t add enough sugar (although I used those sugar ‘drops’ which the guy threw in with the kit?). It’s only been 3 weeks so I’ll give it a bit longer and try again. If nothing else it’s OK for making beer bread LOL.

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