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Plum Wine

Plum Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 3 months
  • Difficulty: easy but tedious
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Ingredients:
* 2.5 kg plums (picked fresh from beside the canal in our case)
* 1.5 kg sugar
* juice of one lemon
* 1 tsp wine yeast
* 1 tsp pectolase
* 1 gallon just-boiled water
Plums ready to be steeped for wine

Plums ready to be steeped for wine

Along a canal near us there are dozens of plum trees, all of them thick with fruit. In about half an hour we managed to gather 7 and a half kilos of fruit, and there are still plenty on the trees ripening away for us to try and grab another time. So naturally my first thought was of making wine.

Followed closely by a consideration of making chutney, especially as we have some nice chilli peppers for the extra hot stuff.

But as always, the wine comes first.

Firstly wash the plums, then slice them in half and remove the stones. We’re actually making about double the quantities in the recipe, but it should work for a gallon. Drop all of the plums into a bucket, and top it up with water just off the boil. Leave it for a few days to soak out the plummy flavour, stirring whenever you remember, before straining off the liquid into a new fermentation vessel. Add the sugar, top up to a gallon with water and stir energetically to dissolve.

Once dissolved add the lemon juice and wine yeast, and leave it to bubble away for five days – stirring regularly.

After the five days are up siphon the liquid into demijons, and leave it to ferment happily until finished. Rack whenever needed until it’s done, then bottle up and store or drink as needed.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Recipe, Wine

 

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Flower Wines: Basic Recipe

Basic Flower Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 2 months
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 1 large carrier bag of edible flowers
* 1/2 kg castor sugar
* 300g honey
* 1 tsp citric acid
* 1 tsp wine yeast

As has been mentioned everything seems to be in bloom at the moment and we’ve been making quite a few flower wines. The recipes for these are all pretty much the same, with varying flowers but everything else pretty similar. You can also mix flowers if you choose, so an elderflower and rose wine would use the same basic method.

They’re also very easy, simple, ancient country wine recipes (well, except for the rather modern castor sugar of course).

Essentially the method is:

  1. Remove the flowers from their stems/stalks as these will cause a woody taste to enter your wine
  2. Drop the flowers into a bucket
  3. Add honey (if you’re using it), sugar and citric acid
  4. Add boiling water to just over a gallon (you’ll lose some when you strain the flowers out, but you can always top up with cold)
  5. Leave to steep for a couple of days
  6. Strain through a muslin-lined funnel into a demijon
  7. Add yeast and stopper the demijon with a waterlock, then leave to ferment – racking as appropriate

As you can see, all very simple an easy. Mix and match whichever (edible) flowers you want for different flavours. Some (hawthorn) may be edible but rather unpleasant, while others will be gorgeous, but the best way to find out what you’ll like is to try different flowers and different mixes until you hit upon the perfect one for you. On top of that the foraging itself can be very rewarding, and a great way to get out and about.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Experimental, Foraging, Recipe, Wine

 

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Dandelion Troubles and Muslin Bags

After a while of sitting in the must bucket, it came time to siphon the second batch of dandelion wine into demijons. We use an autosiphon for this, which is usually good at leaving behind anything large enough to cause trouble. Unfortunately this time the dandelions had disintegrated, and within minutes had clogged the valve. This was somewhat annoying, and has led to us having to dismantle and clean out the siphon (even more annoying). Worse, even going back to traditional siphoning (and taking a shot of fermenting dandelion wine to the back of the throat as a result) didn’t solve the problem.

Eventually our local voice of reason (also referred to occasionally as the missus, my better half, the sensible one and/or the smart one) suggested just grabbing a funnel and pouring the whole mess through the funnel lined with some muslin. This worked perfectly, and the resulting mix then siphoned happily into demijons as intended. The autosiphon is currently undergoing treatment to remove the last few stubborn petals.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Equipment, Foraging, Preparation

 

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Flower Wines: Lilac

Lilac Wine

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Time: 2 months
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 1 large carrier bag of lilac flowers
* 1/2 kg castor sugar
* 300g honey
* citric acid
* wine yeast

Lilac wine bubbling enthusiastically

Lilac wine bubbling enthusiastically

It has been some time since the last post on here, but the busy period should be over (for now) as we settle back down into more of a routine again. Work’s still going on with the apiary project, which you can get updates on from , and we’ll be getting into fundraising at some point.

For now though there’s a few recipes which need to be shared. There’s a bit of a backlog and we have about 20 gallons on brew at the moment (as well as a new, so far untouched pressure barrel for experimental purposes with nettles and others). Today is a rather flowery concoction, made possible by the discovery of lilac plants growing in gardens and generous people in our local community. We’ve sampled it a few weeks into brewing and are pleased to say that it does seem to still have some of the flowery taste that you’d associate with lilac.

As with most flower wines the first thing is to extract the flavour. To do this strip the flowers from their stems, and drop them into your bucket. Boil up enough water to fill the bucket to the gallon mark, and pour it over. Then leave it all to sit for a couple of days. I tend to add the sugar and honey along with the boiling water, but that can be done later.

Strain the mix into a demijon and add the yeast, then seal and leave to ferment for however long it keeps fermenting. Rack as appropriate (I tend to go with every 2-4 weeks, or whenever the sediment builds up to about a half centimetre in the bottom of the demijon). Once finished, bottle and enjoy.

The basic method here will work for just about any edible flowers, and is a variation of the one we use for dandelions on a regular basis.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Foraging, Recipe, Wine

 

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Passion Fruit Wine – Mark II

Passion Fruit Mark II

  • Time: 4 weeks
  • Difficulty: simple
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Ingredients:
* 12l passion fruit juice
* 4l red grape juice
* 4kg castor sugar
* pectolase
* citric acid
* wine yeast

While I, and quite a few others who got to sample it, really enjoyed the passion fruit wine a lot of people found the results to be a bit too sharp for their tastes. As a result I’m having a rethink of the recipe to smooth out the flavour a little, and possibly to bring it more to a wine strength rather than the more powerful version I made before.

I’m using prepackaged juice again, rather than fruit, as it isn’t in season yet and I felt like making more. The recipe is simple – combine everything in a must bucket and allow to ferment until it’s stopped going mad, then rack into demijons and allow to rest. Rack again whenever the sediment starts to show above about a finger’s width at the bottom of the demijon and finally bottle when fermentation has well and truly stopped (lesson learned there).

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Recipe, Wine

 

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Beguilingly Brewed Beetroot

Beguilingly Brewed Beetroot label

Beguilingly Brewed Beetroot

Beguilingly Brewed Beetroot

  • Servings: 2 gallons
  • Time: two seasons
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
* 2 kg cooked but not pickled beetroot
* 2 kg sugar
* water to 1 gallon
* some grated ginger
* wine yeast
* yeast nutrient

I’m getting fond of colourful wines recently – something other than the usual red or yellow colours. I feel it makes them stand out a little, and gives a little variety to the (now full) wine rack, and the stacks of more wine beside it. So when I discovered that beetroot is supposed to make a lovely pink wine (although turning brown if left in a clear bottle in sunlight – so dark bottles in a dark place it is) I had to add it to the list. I’ve not actually made this one yet, but when I do this’ll be the recipe.

Slice the beetroots into itty bitty bits (or largish slices, it doesn’t really matter) and throw them into a big pot to simmer with the water. Adding the sugar and ginger at this point won’t hurt either, as the ginger will add a bit of warmth and the sugar will dissolve. Leave to simmer for an hour or so, then take off the heat and allow to soak overnight.

The next day add the yeast nutrient and yeast. Cover, and leave overnight again. Finally rack into demijohns (with a siphon, or through a cloth to avoid bringing across too much sediment) and allow to bubble away quietly for a while, racking regularly and keeping in a nice dark place. When ready, bottle it up and enjoy.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Experimental, Recipe, Wine

 

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Heritage Carrot Wine

Basic Spirit Mix

  • Servings: 2 gallons
  • Time: a few months
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
* 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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