Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Bubble Bubble Bloop

At this time of the summer, as well as harvesting I’m busy ensuring the harvest extends throughout the year. My preference is drying fruit, fruit wines, pickling vegetables, making sauces, jams & chutneys (although some are frozen to be processed on cold winters days on the wood stove.)
The first batch of fruit wine is bubbling away .I wait till the mad rush of Christmas berries are over before starting on the wine. Many fruits are best frozen first, as when the thaw many of the cells are broken & this helps mash up the fruit so as the yeast can work on the fruit. After much trial & error I make only 5 litres of wine at a time as this gives you 6 ½ bottles which is plenty for me & you can make more variety. More importantly the processes can be done on time, Straining, filtering & racking 5 litre takes only a few minutes.
Making fruit wines is simple once you have organised the equipment. The main difference is that grapes have everything you need to make wine contained in the fruit where as other fruits need tannin, acid & sugar and often you add some grape to give body & smoothness. The first wine of this season is mulberry.
Mulberry wineIngredients to make 5 litres around 12.5% alcohol per volume
1.7Kg mulberries
380g sultanas
1kg sugar
½ cup strong tea (tannin)
2 oranges.
¼ teaspoon malt extract
1 teaspoon all purpose wine yeast.
Stage 1
Dissolve sugar in ½ litre hot water adds malt & orange juice allow to cool.
Mash berries in fermenting container (I use a 7 litre glass jar) many people use a bucket.
Chop sultanas add to berries.
Add strained tea & sugar syrup. & make up to 4 litres with cold water.
Sprinkle yeast on top, cover & leave to ferment in a warm place for 10 days. Stir twice daily. (I actually swirl the jar, this saves having to sterilize a spoon each time.
Stage 2
Strain through muslin cloth into a 5 litre fermentation vessel Discard solids.
Top up to the neck with cold water
Close with air lock
Leave to ferment to dryness. This can take 4-5 weeks.
Wait 2 weeks after fermentation has finished
Stage 3
Rack wine (siphon to a clean 5 litre container leaving sediment behind.)
Top up to the neck with cold water. Fit a cork & keep in a cool place for 10 months.
Stage 4
The wine should be clear & ready for bottling. Once bottled leave 2-3 months to condition & mature.

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