Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free Fruit Means Cheap Wine

A friend stopped by the yarn shop with about a dozen "past their prime" satsuma oranges. She thought I might like them and I appreciate her thoughtfulness. There were a couple in there that were too squishy for wine making. The compost worms got those. I didn't take a bunch of pictures of this, because, quite frankly, it wasn't a pretty process. I had a couple of bananas that were really (no, I mean REALLY) over ripe. I decided to add those to the oranges and see what comes of it. I placed the cut up bananas into a pint of water and simmered them for 20 minutes. Then strained those into the primary fermenter. I added a 12 oz. can of frozen (thawed out) orange juice and 6 cups of sugar. Then I set about preparing the oranges. They had to be peeled and then I took my time and removed all that I could of the white pith from the segments. That part is bitter and will ruin your wine. Removing it was the most time consuming part of the process. Once they were cleaned up and segmented I put them through my juicer. The juice went straight into the primary. The pulp was placed into a nylon bag, along with 3 cups of chopped up golden raisins. That bag (the contents are called must) was closed and left to steep in the wine. I added some yeast nutrient and a crushed campden tablet. The tablet will kill off any wild yeasts that are present. Here is my wine in its fermenter (my largest crock pot).

Now the mixture needs to be covered and left to sit for 24 hours before the yeast can be pitched. The tablet will give off sulphur while it is working, so the fermenter needs to breath, but it must be covered to keep more wild yeasts (or other nasties) from entering the wine. I opted to use a kitchen towel and then set the crock pot lid on, at an angle, to keep the towel from slipping down into the juice.

Next up was an apple raisin wine. I had some frozen apple juice on hand. I defrosted that and put it into my Mr. Beer (Mr. Wine?).

I no longer intend to make beer in that, so I need to get my $5 worth. I added the juice, 3 cups of chopped dark raisins, 2 1/4 cups of sugar and 4 cloves (which I may later regret). To this I added the yeast nutrient and crushed campden tablet. It is also being covered by a kitchen towel.

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