It’s Wine of Gorse

Budgets, credit crunches and recessions spark all sorts of enterprising attempts to save a few bob and here at Lothian Life, we’re trying some gorse wine. Plenty of the hills around are covered with gorse at the moment, so why not grab a pail and have a go.

I confess that I have tasted gorse wine that was unpleasantly dry and bitter and gorse wine that was soft and fresh, but the internet offers several different recipes, so you can experiment with different ones.  We have two demijohns on the go, plooping away happily. Ours are in a warm, sunny spot but we have a warming pad for overnight so that an even temperature can be maintained to prevent any stop-go cycle that interrupts the yeast.

Having collected the flowers (about 10 pints) , boil them in a large pan of water to extract the flavour, add the sugar and yeast and leave for 3 days in  a warm place. Some recipes add lemon juice or raisins and you should also add tannin. By that time the yeast should be active and you can strain off the flowers and place the liquid in a demijohn with an airlock.

Leave for 2-3 weeks until no more bubbles can be seen in the airlock. Add a camden tablet to completely stop the yeast and siphon into a clean demijohn. Leave for a few weeks, then siphon in to clean bottles. Try leaving some a little longer, or try combining some with another wine.

You can adjust the quantity according to how much you can be bothered to pick. Home brew shops are far less common than they were before cheap supermarket wines made it all seem like too much hassle but you can find them online. Make sure you use the correct yeast and make sure that all your equipment is sterilised.

If you try it, let us know how you get on!

1.5 litres fresh gorse flowers
1kg sugar
Juice of a lemon
Tannin or you can use a cup of black tea
Champagne Yeast if you can get it, otherwise brewer’s yeast

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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