March

BANANA WINE

Ingredients:

4 lbs, of peeled bananas / lb. of banana skins H lb. of raisins Yeast and nutrient

1 gallon of water 1 lemon, 1 orange 3 lbs. of sugar

Method:

Use black or spotted bananas, whatever you can scrounge. Place bananas and fruit peel into a cloth bag and put the bag, tied up, into a large saucepan or boiler with the water. Bring to the boil, then gently simmer for half an hour. Pour the hot liquor over the sugar and fruit juice, and when the cloth bag has cooled squeeze it with the hands to extract as much liquor as possible. When all the liquor is lukewarm (70 degrees F.) add the yeast. Leave it in a warm place for a week, stirring daily, then pour into a glass jar and move to a cooler place; it will be a thick-looking mess, like a lot of soapsuds. Keep it well covered and in a couple of months it will have a large sediment at the bottom. Siphon off, then add the chopped raisins. Fit an air lock and siphon off again after four months; by then it will have started to clear. Leave a further six months before sampling. It improves the longer you keep it.

Buy a big juicy pineapple and try your hand at making this really delightful liqueur. Slice the pineapple thinly, sprinkle with a little sugar, and leave for 24 hours. Press out the juice, measure it, and add an equal amount of brandy to which sugar has been added in the proportion of 2 ozs. sugar to every half pint of brandy. Put in a jar with a few slices of fresh pineapple and leave for three weeks, then strain and bottle.

This is a wine, which, intriguing by its novelty, is also an excellent wine in its own right. It is probably of Baltic origin and during the last century was a popular drink in Russia, so much so that upon occasions whole forests of young birch trees were killed by the peasantry, who tapped them too enthusiastically . . . so beware of that error. No

PINEAPPLE LIQUEUR

BIRCH SAP WINE

harm will come to a tree by the loss of a gallon or so of sap in the spring (about the first fortnight in March) but the hole must afterwards be plugged with a wooden plug, and can then be used again next year. I am also told, although I can produce no written authority for it, that birch sap wine was a favourite with the Prince Consort, who doubtless had plenty of trees at his disposal!

The main precautions to observe are that you do not tap a very young tree—it should be at least 9 in. diameter—that you bore only far enough into the tree for your tap or tube to be held securely (bore to just beyond the inside of the bark, where the sap rises, and not into the "dead" wood of the centre of the trunk), that you do not take more than a gallon of sap from one tree, and that you plug the hole afterwards. Neglect of any of these points may harm the tree.

Sycamore And Birch Sap Wine

1 gallon birch sap

2 lemons

1 sweet orange 1 lb. raisins

(or quart of honey) 1 Seville orange Yeast and nutrient

3 lb. white sugar

Method:

Obtain a wooden beer or wine-barrel tap, a piece of glass or plastic tubing, or even a piece of bamboo cane with the pith removed. With a brace and bit of the same diameter as tap or tube bore a hole into the trunk of the tree to just beyond the inside of the bark, and insert the tube, which should incline slightly downwards to allow the sap to run easily. In March, when the sap is rising, it should be possible to draw off a gallon or so of liquor in two or three days. Plug the hole afterwards.

Peel the oranges and lemons (discard all white pith) and boil the peel in the sap for 20 minutes. Add enough water to restore the volume to one gallon, then pour into a crock containing the sugar and chopped raisins. Stir until sugar is dissolved; when the liquor has cooled to 70 degrees F. add the fruit juice and yeast. Cover the crock with a thick cloth and keep in a warm place until fermentation has quietened. Then strain into fermenting jar and fit trap. Leave for about six months, then siphon off and bottle. Use strong bottles, tie down the corks, and store the bottles on their sides for at least another six months before sampling.

Sycamore and walnut sap wines can be made in the same manner and an excellent beer can be produced by reducing the sugar to 1 lb.

PINEAPPLE WINE

Ingredients:

4 pineapples 2 lemons 9 pints water

Method:

"Top and bottom" the pineapples, then slice them into a one-gallon saucepan and cover with three pints of water. Bring to boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain on to sugar in earthenware crock, and add remaining six pints of water, cold. Add the juice of the lemons. Stir well to dissolve sugar thoroughly, and leave to cool to blood heat. Then add yeast (wine yeast, a level teaspoonful of dried yeast, or % oz. of baker's yeast), and a yeast nutrient if desired. (I used a general-purpose wine yeast and a teaspoonful of a proprietary nutrient). Cover the pan closely for a week and leave it in a warm place, giving a daily stir, and then transfer to fermenting jars or bottles, which should be filled to the bottom of the neck and fitted with fermentation traps. Keep in temperature of about 60 degrees until wine begins to clear and has thrown a substantial sediment, then siphon off into clean bottles. Allow it to throw a fresh sediment, then siphon off into clean bottles and cork. This is a delicious light wine with a delightful bouquet.

RAISIN WINE

Dried fruits, like grains, are a good standby in the winter months when fruit is not plentiful. Try this easy raisin wine:

Ingredients:

1 gallon water 2 lb. white sugar

1 lb. raisins Yeast and nutrient

Method:

Chop the raisins and boil them in the water for an hour, adding more water to restore the volume to the original one gallon. Then rub them through a sieve. Restore them to the water and dissolve the sugar in it, and when cool add the yeast, in this case preferably a pre-prepared wine yeast starter but a pinch of dried yeast will do if necessary. Ferment the liquor on the raisins, and it is preferable to use a wide-mouth bottle. Fit trap, and rack for the first time as soon as the wine begins to clear. Re-bottle as soon as it throws a fresh sediment.

3 / lbs. preserving sugar Yeast

Yeast nutrient

RICE WINE (or Sake)

Ingredients:

3 lbs. rice 3 lbs. sugar

1 lb. large raisins

Method:

Put the rice and sugar into a bowl, cover with warm water. Add the chopped raisins and dissolve the yeast in a little warm water and add. Sprinkle the isinglass over the top. Stir often the first three days, then leave to ferment, keeping well covered. Leave nine days in all before straining and putting into fermenting jar. Bottle when completely clear.

This produces a strong, sparkling wine which is inclined to be harsh at first but which improves greatly by being kept.

A variation which you may prefer is to add a little citric acid to the basic ingredients (say the juice of one lemon), and use a sherry yeast.

DRIED PEACH WINE

Ingredients:

2 lb. dried peaches Yeast

3 / lb. granulated sugar Yeast nutrient 1 gallon water

Method:

Soak the peaches for 12 hours in the cold water, then place all in a large saucepan or preserving pan, bring to the boil, and simmer for five or six minutes. Strain the liquid off into a crock, add the sugar and the yeast nutrient, and stir well until all is dissolved. Allow to cool to about 70 degrees F., then add a pre-prepared general-purpose wine yeast starter or a level teaspoonful of granulated yeast.

Cover the bowl closely and keep in a temperature of 70-75 for four days, giving it a daily stir; then stir, transfer to fermenting jar, and fit air lock. When wine clears and fermentation has finished, siphon it off the sediment into clean bottles and cork securely.

Yeast and nutrient 1 gallon water A pinch of isinglass

VIN ORDINAIRE

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