With summer in full swing at the moment, our vegetable patches and allotments
seem to be working in overdrive, producing bumper crops at a phenomenal speed.
Even those people who don’t have their own vegetable garden or allotment will
have noticed how many tempting offers there are currently at the greengrocers
and farmers markets, as there are so many fabulous fruits and vegetables that
are currently in season.
At this time of year, it’s always a challenge to find new and interesting ways to use up those gluts that we all find ourselves with, and in today’s blog post, we thought we’d offer some helpful ideas in the form of recipes for homemade wine. Since we always like to bring you some more unusual ideas that you probably haven’t considered before, get ready for some quirky and intriguing suggestions! So dig out your wine bottles and your brewing equipment and have a go...
Marrow Or Courgette Wine
One of the most common ‘glut’ vegetables is the marrow or its smaller cousin, the courgette. Whilst you can make a very nice jam from marrow and some sensational chutney using courgettes, the options for preserving marrows and courgettes are more limited than for a lot of other vegetables. So why not turn them into tasty and very drinkable wine, instead?
- 2.5kg marrow or courgettes
- Zest and juice of an orange
- Juice of two lemons
- 200g raisins, chopped
- 25g fresh ginger
- 2.25kg brown sugar
- 5 litres water
- Wine yeast
- Yeast nutrient
- Chop the marrow or courgettes into small chunks, along with the raisins, peeled and sliced ginger and the orange peel, and add it to your fermenting bin. Throw in all of the marrow seeds as well as the flesh. Pour boiling water onto the mix and stir it well.
- Once it has cooled, add the lemon juice, yeast and yeast nutrient and cover with the lid for the fermentation bin. Leave to stand for 5 days, occasionally pressing down the pulp mixture with a large spoon or a potato masher.
- Strain the mixture into a sterilised demijohn and add the sugar. Fix an airlock on the demijohn and leave to clear. Once it has cleared, siphon it off into another container and leave to stand for around 6 months. After that time, your wine will be ready to transfer into sterilised glass bottles. Store in a cool, dark place.
Elderberry & Runner Bean Wine
If your runner bean crop has run away and become too stringy to eat, why not consider a runner bean wine recipe? Here’s our favourite - blended with lush elderberries.
- 1kg elderberries
- 500g runner beans
- 250ml red grape juice concentrate
- 1kg sugar
- 2 tsp wine yeast
- 2 tsp yeast nutrient
- 2 tsp citric acid
- 4.5 litres water
- Strip the elderberries from their stalks using a fork and wash them to remove any leaf debris. Wash and chop the runner beans. Add both to a large preserving pan, along with 4.5 litres of water and simmer on a moderate heat for about 20 minutes. Strain onto the sugar and citric acid and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red grape juice concentrate and the wine yeast and yeast nutrient, and cover.
- Allow to stand overnight and then pour into clean, sterilised demijohns and fit an airlock to each demijohn. Leave to ferment and when the air has stopped bubbling through the demijohns, rack off and then transfer to clean, sterilised glass bottles.
- The addition of the runner beans helps to give depth and body to a regular elderberry wine, so this could become a firm favourite.
Hopefully, these two recipes have given you some ideas for making your own homemade wines, as the only limit really is your imagination. If you have a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable, do some online research and you’re sure to find an intriguing recipe. One of the joys of homemade winemaking is that you are free to experiment with whatever you have to hand, adding in some kitchen basics such as chopped raisins and using up things like overripe bananas if you wish.
Once you’ve invested in the basic equipment, such as glass bottles, a fermenting bin and some demijohns, you are free to create your own unique flavours. Of course, not all of your experiments will work and some will taste much nicer than others, but it can be a really enjoyable hobby.
You will often be surprised at just how good your homemade wine is, especially when compared to the budget blended wines that fill our supermarket shelves these days. And there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a shelf full of wine bottles in your pantry, all made in your own kitchen.
If you have been inspired to try your hand at wine-making and you’ve got a few wine bottles ageing in your larder, why not share your recipes and tips with us via social media? You can find us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter