Creative Sustenance

Culinary and other adventures in foraging, gardening, urban farming and more, in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Filtering by Tag: wine

More wine

We had more apple pulp at the end of last fall than we had carboys to ferment it in. So I placed it all in lidded pails and let it sit outside all winter (I figured it was cold enough, and it did stay frozen through much of the winter). With the recent warm weather we've had I also thought I better follow up with that cache of pulp before it fermented too much, got moldy or turned to vinegar. So, last Friday I squeezed the juice from the pulp, filled a large carboy with it, poured in a couple of cups of blueberry pomegranate juice to top it off, added pectic enzyme and wine yeast, and capped it with an airlock.

The over-wintered juice had a subtle though decidedly wine-like flavor and aroma already. Clearly the pulp had fermented to some degree before I extracted the juice. So, we'll see how it turns out, and right now it is fermenting away with the airlock doing its little dance at an efficient pace.

I also racked and bottled from three gallon-sized jugs that had been fermenting, two of apple wine and one of marigold wine. The two apple wines were made from juice from the same batch of foraged apples but I used a different yeast for each jug: one a Lalvin EC-1118 and the other a Pasteur Champagne yeast. The wine made with the champagne yeast did indeed have a champagne-like quality to it. It was drier and slightly "fizzy." I think it still needs to age for a few months in the bottle before drinking.

Just bottled marigold and apple wines.

The EC-1118 wine was delicious right away. We'll probably drink that up over the next few weeks. We did set aside one of the bottles for our friend Steph Davies as a small gift for the Grand Opening of her new art gallery in Milwaukee, called Waxwing. 

A label I quickly sketched and glue-sticked to the bottle for the Waxwing opening.

The marigold wine definitely needs some time to age further, and I'll check it in another couple of months. It is beautiful wine though, with a lovely rose color. We got five bottles each from the apple wine jugs and four from the marigold wine jug.

Today I racked and bottled the carboy of apple wine to which we had added cloves and cinnamon. I suppose you could call it a mulled wine, although it is not as rich in spice as the kind of mulled wine you might make on your stovetop. We added cloves and cinnamon sticks during the last two months of the second fermentation. I think this wine will be a good one after it ages a bit longer. We got 23 bottles from that batch.

Apple wine with clove and cinnamon. 

We've got one large carboy of highbush cranberry wine yet to bottle. That particular batch has a story all its own, which I'll share when I bottle it.

Making Apple Wine

I've been posting a lot of images and status updates about our apple foraging adventures of the past several weeks on my personal facebook page (the title of the page is my name, David Smith, but the URL is We've been apple picking maniacs this autumn, keeping a sharp eye out for apple trees every time we go anywhere. We've harvested from single and multiple trees along country roads, amongst old farmhouse ruins, public parks, private properties and friends' backyards. Many dozens of bushels (well over a couple thousand pounds) and over two dozen varieties have filled our buckets, baskets and bags. It's been a lot of fun, not unlike a treasure hunt full of surprises and excitement.

We've consumed a lot of apples in the form of jellies and jams, apple pies and crisps, fruit pizzas and apple sauce, apple cider and fresh apples straight from the basket. Apples, apples, apples. I've also got the food dehydrator running with trays full of sliced apples as I write this. But the most fun has been in the making of apple wine. At the moment we've got glass jugs and carboys full of apple cider (juice that will become wine is called the "must") in various stages of fermentation.

I'm not going to provide a detailed a description of the process and recipes in this post, but rather just wanted to share a few images from a batch we made earlier this week (click on the images to enlarge):

1 & 2) Gather & wash your apples; Core & rough chop.

   3 & 4) Chopped apples ready for the processor; Kim turning them into pulp.

5) Buckets of apple pulp.

   6 & 7) Cloth bag o' pulp.

  8 & 9) Putting the bag o' pulp into the press.

    10 & 11) Pressing and getting the cider.

  12) 5 gallons of fresh cider!

13) Apple must the day after adding the pectic enzyme. Racked it to eliminate all the silt (lees) at the bottom; then added sugar, yeast nutrient and yeast; capped with an airlock; let 'er sit and ferment for two or three months.

I've got a good deal more to write about the apple press. It went through several modifications as we had to address design flaws. Look for that, as well as a more detailed look at the wine making process, in a forthcoming post.

Making Marigold Wine

This is a little video I slapped together with the Flip program, which doesn't have any creative features other than allowing you to edit the length of the videos and choose from a half-dozen pre-selected background music files.

This was just me playing around with the Flip. I don't videotape music every weekend anymore like I used to do at Stumpjack and just had the urge to fiddle around a bit. We're actually in the idea stage of creating a series of high quality video episodes of this sort of thing (foraging, local artisan food production, cooking, interesting personalities or projects, etc), and those will be "professional" in format and visual quality. But this was fun anyway.

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