Friday, July 2, 2010

Found Fruit - Plum Wine

Need a reason to celebrate?  The fruit season is on with plums and apricots adorning our neighborhood trees.  What better time than to start a batch of plum wine or jam?  Found Fruit happens simply by asking -  Place a want ad on Craigslist or Freecycle to get started.  Many of our neighbors have fruit trees and are simply too busy to utilize the fruit or their trees produce more fruit than they can use.  I usually offer to share jam or wine with our neighbors if the batch turns out well.  The plums pictured to the left were small and tangy - too tangy to eat - but boy did they make some good wine.  The owners would never have utilized this fruit.  Neighbors sometimes are happy to part with fruit because it damages their lawns or their dogs eat the fruit.  If you have fruit that you wish to part with, you can also try bartering with your neighbors for other fruit or vegetables.  You can also contact fruit gleaning programs who will deliver the produce to shelters.  Here is a simple recipe for starting a 1 gallon batch of plum wine:

Plum Wine Recipe:

Food grade 1- 5 gallon bucket
Plums - 4lbs
Water - 31/2 quarts
Sugar or honey - 2lbs
Pectic Enzyme - 1/2 tsp
Yeast energizer - 1tsp
Wine Tannin - 1/2 tsp or 1 cup strongly brewed black tea
Acid - 2tsp or the juice of one lemon
Yeast - 1 packet of Montrachet Yeast
Campden Tablets - 1

Add all ingredients into a food grade plastic bucket except yeast.  When you add the plums, crush them with your hand into a straining bag.  Tie the bag off with the fruit in it.  Stir everything together.  Taste.  It should taste like really sweet, yummy juice.  Cover bucket with a clean, soft cloth and wait 24 hours.  Add the yeast.  The yeast should start to get the mix fizzing after a day.  Stir every day for 1 week.

After one week, pull the bag with the fruit from the mix.  Siphon the liquid from the original bucket into a fermenting jar.  Add the airlock and wait for about 6 months.  Once the liquid clears, you can rack it carefully back into the food grade bucket.  Then clean the fermenting vessel out and add the liquid back to sit for another 6 months.  Then it should be ready to bottle.  Stop back for more fermenting techniques later.

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