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Heritage Carrot Wine

Basic Spirit Mix

  • Servings: 2 gallons
  • Difficulty: Easy
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* 2 kg bright purple heritage carrots, peeled and chopped
* 1 kg castor sugar
* water to two gallons
* wine yeast
* yeast nutrient

While walking through town last weekend we found that our local food stall was selling carrots. Purple carrots. Naturally on seeing these heritage carrots (I’ve heard of them, but never actually had a chance to try them) my immediate thought was ‘I bet those would make great wine’.

Purple carrot wine

Bubbling away very enthusiastically still

It has been suggested that my priorities may be slightly off, and some people would have wondered how these organic heritage carrots would taste as a foodstuff. I dispute this, as the evidence so far is that they will indeed make very interesting wine. It’s certainly colourful, though I was hoping for a more distinct purple out of the mix.

The recipe itself is very simple. Get a big pot. Put in lots of water and throw in the chopped carrots, as if you’re going to cook them. Simmer gently, and keep simmering for a few hours. Throw in the sugar at some point as well, as it’ll dissolve nicely.

Once you’re fed up of the smell of boiling carrots, let the whole mess cool and pour it into a must bucket. Top up to two gallons, throw in your yeast starter and nutrient, cover the bucket and leave for a couple of nights. After that you should have a nice froth on top of the bucket – siphon the liquid into two demijons, top off with an airlock apiece, sit back and listen to it bubble away happily. Wonder curiously about how it’ll taste.

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Ingredients, Recipe, Wine


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The Perils of Tapping

The highly sophisticated sap collection arrangement

The highly sophisticated sap collection arrangement

Last weekend we went off to do a trial run of some birch sap harvesting (commonly, and much more accurately, referred to as tapping). With the whole foraging party (of two) being complete amateurs, we’d carefully studied the available material and planned ahead. Heavily equipped (two clean coke bottles, one knife, some twigs and a lot of string) we strode out to confront our destiny. The aim, naturally, being to get some sap to make either wine or syrup (with this initial plan being for syrup, as wine will require a more concerted effort with a little more foresight). The method is one of two advised by various people, and simple in its execution. Rather than the more obvious, less subtle method of drilling a hole in the tree, and using a cork to plug it we went for the primitive route which involves stabbing the tree at an upwards angle, working the knife back and forth a bit until sap starts running, and wedging the cut open until done.

Of course having sap running out of the tree doesn’t do much for your collection, so a bottle was then fixed to the tree through a highly complicated and technologically intensive method, as shown on the right.

Four hours-worth of sap collection

Four hours-worth of sap collection

I wouldn’t exactly say the sap flowed at high speed, but we did manage to collect nearly a full bottle in only a few hours from just two trees. Of course, ideally this would have been done in slightly warmer weather, a little later on, when the sap is flowing more heavily – but for a trial this worked just fine. Birch sap doesn’t seem to have much of a distinctive taste (admittedly I was somewhat distracted by grevious wounds incurred while trying to tap said birch trees), but I think there’s enough there to make a wine that stands alone. I’ll also be planning, if we can gather enough, to bottle some and try for secondary fermentation (don’t tell the missus, she’s somewhat concerned about exploding bottles being more sensible than me).

Birch sap wine is another one of those very, very old wines which occasionally crop up again. I’m looking forward to making it, and have been collecting bottles so that we can get a cycle going to collect enough over a few days next week. With the current batch we’re looking to make some birch syrup, though whether we’ll manage in time before it expires is another question (it’s been rather a busy week).


Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Foraging, Sap


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New Batch


The mass of raw ingredients.

So here we go, ramping into production. What you see here are 6 litres of pinapple juice (which is going towards a rather experimental pineapple-rum concoction), 12 litres of red grape juice, 6 litres of apple juice (going towards appleade once the champagne yeast turns up), 2 kilos of parsnips, 2 kilos of beetroot, 2 kilos of mushrooms, 2 kilos of lychee and 2 kilos of kiwi.

Of course there were also the mandatory lemons, and a lot of sugar, but they’re barely worth mentioning.

The parsnip, pineapple and lychee recipes will be up soon and everything should be on to brew by the end of the week. Just sitting in a house full of boiling parsnip and lychee smell, with a bucket full of pineapple just waiting for some dissolved demarara sugar and turbo yeast. Some odd looks were received at the supermarket, but I’ll show them – I’ll show them all!

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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Ingredients


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