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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Strawberry Wine

Now that I have made two versions of Strawberry Wine (see my Strawberry Rhubarb Wine), I have a few tips that I plan to try next time. Here's what I did this time though :-)

First step is the same as making any other wine: gather your material and put it in your primary fermenting container. For me, this meant a 3lb bag of frozen strawberries and a gallon sized glass jar - an ex pickle jar, lol!


Then boil enough water to cover the strawberries. NOTE: If using a glass jar, be VERY careful to pour the boiling water into the strawberries and NOT directly onto the glass!!! Glass shatters easily from temp changes. I haven't had one break on me yet, but I assume that's because I know to be careful :-)


Next, Pour the water over the strawberries and let steep up to 3 days.


To me it's such a shame that the strawberries are still so full of juice, so - and don't ask me why - I got it into my head that I should puree the berries and return them to the juice so that I have all possible flavor.


Which - in all honestly - looks and tastes really good, but (you sensed a but coming right? lol!) It creates a hassle you just don't want to deal with because NOW at some point you have to strain all that out. So here's what I am going to try next time and I recommend you try too. Rather than puree the waterlogged berries, simply scoop them into a colander over a bowl and gently squeeze the excess fluid out. Return that to the jar - straining out any pulp while you are at it. That will make things SO much easier!

Then, once you have the filtered juice back in the jar (you may want or need to filter what was left in the jar after you removed the berries as well), add the citric acid. This time, I used both lemon and lime juices instead of lemon and orange, because that's just what I had on hand. I used the juice of 1 lemon and 2 limes because limes are tiny, lol!

After that, add two to three pounds of sugar, depending on how alcoholic you want the end result. Two pounds will be about perfect IMO, but three can make it a bit more alcohol-y AND potentially sweeter. Stir until fully blended. If you taste it at this point, it probably tastes NASTY sweet, lol!

Then I added the raisins. Most recipes will call for a pound or two of raisins, but all they are really there for is to provide the culture of correct yeasts to make wine. You don't REALLY need that many. I only add a couple of handfuls, HOWEVER, I do have some on hand to add as necessary :-) Cover with a cloth or an actual cover or both to keep out bugs.

The only thing you must do from this point on is just let it sit out somewhere warm where you are fairly sure there are no wild strains of mold so that it can ferment. Mold loves dark and your brew is just fully of goodies, so each morning, check to see if mold took advantage of the night (You could try leaving a light on it, I hadn't thought of that before, lol). IF there's any mold - green, blue, black, etc - scoop if off. A quick taste of your juice will reassure you that there's no mold actually in it. I notice that the completely benign white mold starts to grow just before the brew starts to turn alcoholic. Again, scoop it off. Smell your brew. It'll start to smell like wine. NOTE! There almost certainly will be a brown scum that forms. This is not mold and is in fact the yeast culture that is necessary for fermentation. DO NOT skim it off!

This part of the fermentation process can take mere days of vigorous bubbling or it can take weeks to months of slow bubbles. Both are fine :-) One the bubbling stops completely, the wine can be bottled. Then simply let it age somewhere until you are ready to enjoy it. A good rule of thumb is that a wine should age for a year before drinking it... but there's no harm in sampling it from time to time before that :-D

Lastly, remember that puree (or mash)? It's awesome for making a smoothie or a slushie or adding to items you are baking. Don't just throw it out! It could also be used to make Strawberry Lemonade. Enjoy :-D

4 comments:

  1. Note: I did an initial taste test last night to make sure that it was fermenting - as opposed to going bad - and it tasted like a wine cooler :-) It was mildly effervescent and still sweet, so we ended up drinking some. Hubby loves it because it didn't really taste alcohol-y yet, but it was still too sweet for me. Knowing that it had little to no alcohol in it yet, I gave the kids some and they loved it too, lol! So, I guess I could always get one of those little alcohol level testers, and bottle the next batch when it tastes like a wine cooler, lol! Of course, if I do that, I'll probably also want to lessen how much sugar I put in it to start with :-)

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  2. Update: Another taste test (I've been doing one every day because this batch is just so darn good, lol) has proven that it is STILL yummy and a bit on the sweet side. I'm guessing that the initial ferment has slowed a bit, but not completely because there are still a bunch of little bubbles rising to the top. It'll continue to sit on my counter and brew until I'm sure it's ready to bottle :-)

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  3. UPDATE: My wine is ready to bottle!!! I'm so happy! Of course, bottling will have to wait until I have time and enough container to it in, lol! :-)

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  4. Finally bottled it, yea! Now I am completely and utterly out of jars, so if I make more wine or if the apple wine actually turns out (I don't think it will, it tastes weird), I'm going to need to buy more jars or - probably cheaper in the long run - buy more jars of fruit. The kind that comes in glass jars :-)

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