To Brew List

Between Simone conjuring up new and unusual ideas of things to make for our Christmas hampers, and my reconnaissance for foragables we’re coming up with quite a list of future brews. So much so I think it’s about time I spent some time on one of my favourite pursuits… making a list! This is very much a working document, and I’m sure we’ll be adding things along the way. I’ll try to refer back to this as things progress so I can add some notes of successes and failures.

Wines and other alcoholics

I found a whole host of goodies around Bensham and Gateshead and I can’t wait to make them all into booze! On top of that Aldi have some figs coming in for super cheap (29p for a box), and I dug out an old book on wine making from the 70s that’s full to the brim with recipes I want to have a stab at. Some of them are on the more unusual side, like oak leaf, and birch sap (one of the oldest country wines in the UK apparently), and some are made from fruits that have fallen out of favour, such as the medlar - a fruit popular with the romans and Shakespeare alike. I’ve been lucky enough to find a medlar tree growing in our area so I shall pop by and knock on the owner’s door one of these days. I’ve tried to organise them into some sort of loose time scale just for my own reference:


  • Fig wine

  • Elderberry wine

  • Elderberry & blackberry wine

  • Apple cider (harvest around the end of September)

  • Oak leaf wine (harvest as they’re just turning brown)

Winter (or “harvest after first frost”)

  • Medlar wine (harvest late in November)

  • Sloe gin (November - December)

  • Sloe wine (November - December)

  • Rose hip wine (November - December)

  • Hawthorn berry wine (November - December)

  • Rowan berry wine (November - December)

I’m sure somewhere down the line I’ll get the urge to have a try at making beer, but for now I’m enjoying the simplicity of the wine recipes. Though I do think one of the main reasons we stopped making the wine last time around was our lack of patience, so to remedy that I want to make a nice big batch of cider. I figure between the cider and our stock of last years sloe gin that should about see us through until the first wine is ready!

Jams, Jellies, and Chutneys

Some of the jellies are made from the same fruit I’ll be using in the wines - rose hip and rowan are both tried and tested, and apparently medlar fruit makes a very fine Christmasy jelly that I’m sure will end up the our hampers for friends and family.

  • Fig jam

  • Fig chutney

  • Medlar jelly

  • Medlar chutney

  • Crab apple jelly

  • Sloe jelly

  • Sloe and bramley apple jelly

  • Rose hip jelly

  • Rowan jelly

Christmas Hampers

Simone says she’ll put together a little list for this in another week when she has some time off.

Other fermentables

I stumbled across Brad Leone’s It’s Alive! youtube channel the other day and I’m hooked, the man is a ball of positive energy and I really love his can-do, let’s-just-try-this attitude! He makes a whole bunch of weird stuff, some of it appeals, some of it not so much…

  • Cultured butter

  • Fermented garlic honey (check it out)

  • Tepache (fermented pineapple drink)

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kimchi

  • Hot sauce (traditionally made from fermented peppers, who knew?!)