When people call you and let you know they have a load of rotting fruit that's all yours if you will come fetch it, you know you have thoroughly made a reputation for yourself. I used to be part of a organization called Gleaners. Gleaners is a wonderful nonprofit organization for those who are willing to pay their dues, donate their time and pick through old, random food to glean what is useful and share that with an elderly or disabled person. The program saves amazing amounts of food from the landfill while helping feed thousands. I am no longer a part of the group but luckily I have not been forgotten. When I recently received a call from a member about some rotting pomegranates, I was all over it. I was expecting cases of actual pomegranates so imagine my delight when I realized it was cups the seeds already separated from the fruit! Pomegranate wine, beg no more, I'm on it!
You can make pomegranate wine any number of ways with varying ingredients and methods. I have sifted through recipes online as well as in my amazing book all about fermenting, "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz, which focuses on natural fermentation capitalizing on the yeasts and sugars in plants, to come up with this recipe. I won't know if it's good for close to a year so stay tuned. I will rack the wine several times over a year's time, sampling it frequently. I look forward to seeing how it turns out and I'll keep this page updated.
Recipe - 4 gallon batch:
- 2.25 gallons (aka: 9 quarts, 288 ounces, 36 cups, roughly 20 pomegranates) - pomegranate seeds
- 1 pound - Raisins ~ The raisins add sugar, flavor, body, and nutrients. Getting them organic ensures there will be no sulfates not to mention the regular benefits of organic like reducing exposure to toxins. If your raisins aren't organic just rinse them before use.
- 1 pound - Dried Black Currents ~ The black currents are because they were next to the dried raisins in the bulk section and they were begging me to use them. If you don't want to use a pound of dried black currents, use two pounds of raisins.
- 4 - Oranges (peel only - grated) ~ Since we are using the peel organic is best.
- 4 - Lemon (peel only - grated) ~ Same story, organic if possible.
- 12 cups - Sugar ~ Yes, I used organic. In addition to being safer, I anticipate a nice flavor from the maple like characteristics found in organic sugar.
- 1 package - Champagne Yeast
- 2 gallons - Water
- Using a sanitized food grade 5 gallon bucket add enough water to the pomegranate seeds to cover, probably a couple quarts, and let it sit for a few days. Stir it frequently throughout the day. I like to keep the bucket in or near the kitchen so it will not slip my mind.
- After 4-5 days the mixture should be bubbling and smell like it is fermenting (aka rotting). Add the raisins, black currents, orange and lemon peel, water and sugar. Let it go a few more days and enjoy watching the bubbles go crazy every time you stir the mixture.
- After 2-3 more days and especially if you notice less bubbling, add the packet of Champagne Yeast. Watch and stir 3-4 more days.
Let the bubbles and smell dictate when you add the yeast and when you think it's time to strain and transfer to a carboy. In warmer conditions this process could take just a few days total, in colder temperatures it could take a couple weeks. Be flexible and go with your gut - it doesn't actually matter that much, the fruit is going to ferment no matter. The most important thing is to stir often, no less than 4 times a day I would say, to ward off mold from forming on the surface and to promote fermentation.
Strain & Transfer:
By now most of the juice will be separated from the pomegranate seeds. Strain out the solids reserving the beautiful crimson colored liquid. To strain I used another 5 gallon bucket.
- Transfer the mixture through a fine mesh colander one batch at a time, reserving the solids.
- After the initial straining, filter the wine once more using a thin cloth. Place a sturdy cheese cloth, a Birdseye flat cloth diaper or any thin sheet of fabric over the strainer and transferred the wine back into the rinsed original bucket. You will need to rinse the cloth several times as the sediment clogs it.
- After the final straining take the solids which will still have some juice in them and tie them up in a fresh cloth over a long wooden spoon. Hang the pouch over a bucket to drip overnight. I was able to extract another 4 cups of liquid by doing this - that's one more bottle of wine!
- Transfer the wine into a carboy pouring it batch by batch into a funnel resting in the carboy. If you don't have a funnel, just aim properly. Insert the airlock and you're finished for a few weeks! I will leave the wine alone for about 3 weeks or so before I rack it and then I will wait about 3 months between each racking for a year's time.
- Have your brew shop get you hooked up with the correct size rubber stopper and airlock. I assume most 5 gallon carboys use a size 7 stopper like mine.
- Insert the airlock into the rubber stopper. Do not fill the airlock with water before you put it into the carboy or it will be prone to popping off.
- Dry the inside of the carboy lip as well as the stopper.
- Push it while twisting. Do not push in more than half way. You don't want to get a rubber stopper stuck in your carboy. It's a hassle. It just needs to be in tight enough to not pop out.
- Fill the airlock with water to the fill line.
UPDATE - 3/15/12 I Racked the wine for the first time.
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