Spring finally sprang, and we’ve had a few weeks of beautiful weather. The grass grew all at once, the trees blossomed, and the rhubarb plant went wild.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
I love rhubarb, it’s exactly the kind of low maintenance perennial I want to fill my property with. But it is seriously prolific. By mother’s day I had already exhausted my family’s patience with rhubarb crisp, rhubarb pie, and rhubarb quickbread. So today I decided to start another batch of rhubarb wine.
Last year’s rhubarb wine came out pretty good - dry, light pink, and quite quaffable. It’s nice to be able to start a wine in springtime, because most homemade fruit wines are only possible in the fall - blackberry, plum, hard apple cider. Rhubarb can be started now, in May, and be ready for drinking in September when the other wines are just getting started.
It’s cheese season. The mama goats still have nursing babies on them, and will for the next few weeks. So I’m only getting about three quarters of a gallon daily, but that’s still plenty for making some cheese.
This year I decided to switch up the cultures I usually buy. In years past, I have bought an all-purpose mesophilic starter that says it is suitable for chèvre, queso fresco, feta, and cheddar. And it is suitable for all those purposes. But this year I decided to spend a little bit more for a fancier culture from France, and I’m so glad I did. My chèvre is leaps and bounds better than last year. It’s smooth, tangy, and delicious. It was a big hit at mother’s day brunch.
Tonight I’m making cheddar with the same culture. I’ve made two batches of hard cheese before now, and they have been drying in the shelf during this nice dry weather. Today I broke out the vacuum sealer and sealed them up for long term storage in the fridge. That’s the best system I’ve yet found for keeping hard cheese at home without molding. It’s not ideal - the cheese doesn’t “breathe” if it’s vacuum sealed - but it does keep the cheese from molding for a good six months, which means we can enjoy cheese in December.