Sunday, November 9, 2008

The CRUSH is on...

     Today was end of the season garden clean up day. I decided it was time to trim up the grapevines and was really surprised at the amount of grapes still on the vines. They ranged from very small and hard to basically raisins. Not being one to waste prompted a quick internet search. So today I am making wine.

     As with all of my Internet recipes I only use it as a starting point to get the basics and then go from there. I took all of my grapes and soaked them in a large bowl with cold water to encourage all of the “The Guests” to leave. I am trying to make wine here, not BUG juice. After removing the larger stems I ran the grapes thru the food processor to a course chop. I ended up with almost a quart of  “wine starter”. Next I took 1 cup of water and brought it to a boil along with 2 cups of sugar. When everything was dissolved that was set aside to cool to room temp. Again my impatience raised its head again and a tray of ice cubes hurried that along. In another container I dissolved two teaspoon of dry active yeast in 2 cups of warm water. Everything was loaded into a large glass container along with another 13 cups of water to bring the total water to a gallon. The top was covered with three layers of plastic wrap and tied in place with twine. This was placed in the cabinet about the dryer, a cool dark place and its future home for the next few weeks.

     I was surprised to see how quickly everything has started to work. Within 2 hours of combining everything I was able to look at the mixture and watch it churn and bubble. The plastic wrap has extended to a tight skin and now I just wait for the process to continue. I did make sure to inform my partner about “the experiment” so he wouldn’t freak out if he opened the cabinet door and see something growing in there.

      A recap on the recipe is:

1 quart crushed fruit (in my case, end of the season grapes)

2 cups sugar dissolved in 1 cup water (dissolved completely)

2 teaspoon of dry activated yeast in 2 cups of warm water

13 cups of water

     Combine everything in a clean vessel and seal to keep stuff out and fermenting stuff and smells in. Wait until the MAGIC stops and then filter, bottle, let everything settle and then re-bottle.

     As this is my first foray into wine making since I was a kid at home with my mom I will be interested to see how things work. I expect the process to take about 2 to 3 weeks for the MAGIC part and will update from there.

     I have told folks in the past that I grew grapes and they always asked if I made wine. Now I can answer with a resounding YES!

     Other things on the horizon include a new ENVIROCYCLE composting system and work on the garden. I recently celebrated a birthday and received a few books on gardening, Living Like Ed and a couple of windmill books so look for an explosion of activity. 

     Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

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