How To Make Vegetable Wines

MAKING WINES WITH VEGETABLES IS EASY

I believed for a long time believe that with so many modern ingredients available today for making top-class wines so easily and quickly the somewhat tedious chore of preparing vegetables for wine-making would be too much for anybody. But I was wrong. Visits to wine-making clubs where vegetable wines are still proffered proved this. I find that in most parts of the country indeed, even where the hurtling speed of big town life leaves so little time to spare, plenty of people are quite happy to scrub and grate their parsnips, potatoes and carrots to make incomparable wines.

How To Make Vegetable Wines I think the reason that vegetable wines are popular is that similar wines cannot be bought. It is all very well to make wines like those that can be bought at any off-licence, but it is not very difficult considering the ingredients available for making imitations of commercial products. However to make wines that are true country wines, the like of which cannot be found anywhere else, is something quite out of the ordinary. Indeed, wines made from the recipes on this site, as well as wines made from flowers, are unique. And what is more, each hobbyist develops a technique or knack of making some really exceptional wines that concentrated grape juice addicts would scoff at — but only because of a bit of snobbery that has grown up around the latest generation of wine-makers who have not tasted a true country wine of real quality and perhaps never will.

They smugly think that because they use imported concentrated grape juices their wines are real wines while those made with anything else are not. I have met them. I pity them. I am certain that if they made a really good carrot, or parsnip or other vegetable wine and were able to wait for it to develop — and I will confess that this often takes a long time — they might take another look at the cost of concentrated grape juice.

Vegetable wines, as I have suggested above, need at least a year to develop their full flavour, aroma and most of their quality. Given two years to come along, they really are very excellent wines, full of flavour, with a bouquet quite unique and a fullness and robustnesS that surprises many. And if you don’t watch the amount you drink at one sitting, they’ll put you flat on your back when you still think you are only half way along the road.

Vegetable wines made from roots such as potatoes or parsnips often present the maker with a clearing problem. This is caused by starch in the roots being boiled into the water, with the boiling that is necessary to destroy soil bacteria. One means of overcoming this problem is to starve the yeast of sugar during the earliest stages of fermentation. This will induce the yeast to convert the starch to sugar and ferment it out leaving a clear wine. This is why I recommend adding the sugar in two stages in certain of the following methods.

Unfortunately this little scheme does not always work. It is then that we have to resort to the use of a starch-destroying enzyme, known as fungal amylase. Starch, like pectin (in fruits) holds minute solids in suspension to form the cloudiness. Destroy the starch and the solids forming the cloud settle out. But it is worth waiting to see if the starve-the-yeast plan has worked before doing this. If your vegetable wines are still cloudy say a week after fermentation has ceased use of starch-destroying enzyme would be justified. The amount suggested by the manufacturers is 2.5 g per 25 ltr (5 gall). This amount is represented by one capful, using the cap on the bottle it is supplied in. If you are treating 5 ltr (1 gall) put a capful on a piece of clean paper and divide into four. Then mix a quarter, with the wine. This is a trifle more than is needed, but it will do no harm. If you mix the amount to be used with a little wine and then stir it into the buik, the wine should be clear in a day or so.

It will be seen that I recommend the use of dried fruits with the recipes here. This is because without them the wines would lack character and fullness, and, what is more, fermentation would not be so good. Acid in the form of citric acid obtainable from a chemist very cheaply is also needed because roots contain none. Tannin in the form of strong tea is needed for the same reason, but you can add a pinch of grape tannin instead of tea if you want to.

If you want to use concentrated grape juice in the recipes instead of dried fruit you may do so. For this reason I have added under each recipe the name of a concentrate and how to alter the sugar amounts given in the recipes to allow for the sugar contained in the grape juice, bearing in mind that the dried fruits contain roughly 225 g (½ lb) sugar per 450 g (1 lb) fruit. For example, if you leave out 450 g (1 lb) of raisins, you will have to add a 225 g (½ lb) sugar to make up for them because the sugar content of the fruits has been allowed for in the recipes. But if you add 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) grape concentrate, as recommended in other chapters, you will have to reduce the sugar by 350 g (13 oz dry weight). So if you use grape juice instead of dried fruit, you would in fact have to reduce the sugar stated in the recipe by 125 g (5 oz). You will find clear instructions under each recipe as you come to it.

Do bear in mind that the dry measure of 13 oz of sugar is not the same as the liquid measure of 13 fl oz of concentrate.

POTATO WINES

King Edward potatoes are best. Do not make dry potato wine.

MEDIUM

900 g (2 lb) old potatoes; 450 g (1 lb) raisins; 3 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of raisins, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

900 g (2 lb) old potatoes; 450 g (1 lb) raisins; 3 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1.250 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method below

If using grape juice instead of raisins, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD

Do not peel potatoes but scrub them thoroughly removing eyes and crevices. Cut them up finely or grate them. Put them in about 2 ½ ltr (4 pt) of water, bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for fifteen minutes by the clock, taking off all scum that rises. Put roughly half the sugar in the fermenting pail with the chopped raisins. (If using grape juice instead of raisins it is added later.) Strain the boiling potatoes onto them through three or four thicknesses of butter muslin. Allow to—drain for a few minutes and then press well. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar, cover closely and leave the mixture to cool to lukewarm or about 18°C (65°F).

The next step is to add the acid and tea. Then halve the oranges, press out the juice, strain it free of pips and stir it into the mixture. If grape juice is being used, this is the time to stir it in. Having done this, make the mixture up to roughly 5 ltr (1 gall) with boiled cooled water, then add the yeast and nutrient. Cover the vessel with sheet polythene, tie it down tightly with thin strong string

or fit the lid) and put the vessel in a warm place to ferment for eight or nine days, stirring daily.

Now strain out the solids through three or four thicknesses of muslin. Wring them out as dry as you can and return the wine to the cleaned fermenting pail.

To prevent accidents tie one cloth to the pail — allowing sufficient sag — and lay a second cloth on top. The hot solids may then be lifted off safely.

Put the remaining sugar in about 6 dl (1 pt) of hot water in a saucepan and bring it slowly to the boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Allow this to cool and then stir it into the wine. Cover as before, leave in the warm for a further three or four days and then pour gently into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar, leaving as muNeposit in the pail as you can. If the jar is not filled to where the neck beginsfill to this level with boiled water, then fit a fermentation lock and leave in the 4rm until all fermentation has ceased.

If you use grape juice instead of raisins, there will be no solids to strain out. So after eight or nine days, merely add the remaining sugar as advised above and proceed from there.

PARSNIP WINES

To make dry parsnip’ wine. Use parsnips that are old crop rather than new.

MEDIUM

1.3 kg (3 lb) parsnips; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce the sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

1.8 kg (4 lb) parsnips; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce the sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD Proceed as for potato wine.

CARROT WINES

A great favourite with an enormous number of people.

DRY

1.8 kg (4 lb) carrots; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml,spoonful citric acid; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose and reduce the sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

MEDIUM

1.8 kg (4 lb) carrots; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 1 -kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose and reduce the sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

2.2 kg (5 lb) carrots; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 3 oranges; 1 level 5 ml s onful

citric acid; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using concentrated grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose and reduce the sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD Proceed as for potato wine.

MANGOLD (OR MANGEL-WURZEL) WINES

A real old country favourite, having been made for centuries and still very popular today. Mangolds are obtainable from farms.

Follow exactly the recipes for carrot wine using mangolds instead of carrots, and follow the method for potato wine.

BEETROOT WINES

Yet another real country wine and still a favourite. Using young beets and be sure to keep the wine in the dark or in dark glass bottles otherwise it will lose its colour and character.

DRY

1.3 kg (3 lb) beetroots; 450 g (1 lb) raisins; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method.

If using grape juice instead of raisins, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

MEDIUM

1.6 kg (3 ½ lb) beetroots; 450 g (1 lb) raisins; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful

citric acid; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of raisins, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

1.8 kg (4 lb) beetroots; 450 g (1 lb) raisins; 3 orange’s; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of raisins, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD Proceed as for potato wine.

PEA-POD WINES

Another true country wine still very popular today. Do not allow one pea, however small, into the mixture.

DRY

900 g (2 lb) pea-pods; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

MEDIUM

900 g (2 lb) pea-pods; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) pea-pods; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD

Thoroughly wash the pea-pods and cut them up quite small. Put them in enough water to cover them well, bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for twenty minutes with the lid on. Put the sugar in the fermenting pail with the chopped sultanas (but do not add grape juice at this stage, if being used). Strain the boiling pea-pods over the sugar and sultanas through three or four thicknesses of muslin. Allow to drain, squeeze out the maximum liquor and discard the pods. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar, and make up to about 5 ltr (1 gall) with boiling water. Add the citric acid and tea, cover closely and allow the mixture to cool to about 18°c (65°F) — lukewarm. Halve the oranges, squeeze out the juice, strain and stir into the mixture. Then add the yeast, nutrient and the few drops of Pektolase. Then stir in the grape juice if being used. Cover the vessel with sheet polythene (or fit the lid) and tie this down tightly with thin strong string. Having done this put the vessel in the warm to ferment for ten days, stirring daily. The next step is to strain out the solids through several thicknesses of muslin, clean the fermenting vessel and return the strained wine to this. Cover as before and leave in the warm to ferment for a further three or four days.

Then pour carefully into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar leaving as much deposit in the pail as you can. Fill the jar to where the neck begins with boiled water that has cooled, then fit a fermentation lock and leave until all fermentation has ceased.

RUNNER BEAN WINES

These are surprisingly good wines which are still very popular in country areas or wherever they are grown.

DRY

900 g (2 lb) runner beans; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; two medium-sized grapefruit (or equivalent of tinned grapefruit); 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

MEDIUM

900 g (2 lb) runner beans; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 medium-sized grapefruit (or equiv.alent of tinned grapefruit); 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) runner beans; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 2 medium sized grapefruits and 2 oranges (or equivalent of tinned fruit); 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD

Wash well and prepare beans as for cooking. Proceed as for pea-pod wine, adding the strained grapefruit juce at the time when you would add the orange juice.

PARSLEY WINES

Parsley is a herb, but the method fits well into this catepory. Use young fresh parsley and wash it well.

DRY

450 g (1 lb) parsley; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method above for peapod.

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose or hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

MEDIUM

550 g (1 ¼ lb) parsley; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose or hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

SWEET

675 g (1 ½ lb) parsley; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 2 oranges; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

If using grape juice instead of sultanas, use 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock type and reduce sugar by 125 g (5 oz)

METHOD Proceed as for pea-pod wine.

21. December 2010 by admin
Categories: Vegetable Wine | Tags: | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *