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Alternatives to lemon and raisins in wine making  RSS feed

 
Sam White
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Hey folks,

Quite a lot of hedgerow wine recipes specify lemon juice, lemon zest and raisins as part of the concoction. Considering I live in an area where growing lemons successfully is unlikely (especially as we have little space in our tiny conservatory or polytunnel for a lemon tree), does anyone know of any suitable alternatives? I know I could use citric/malic/tartaric acid but I'd prefer to use something that I can grow and make myself. Would verjuice work in place of the lemon? I have crap apples and could potentially grow grapes from which to make it. If I can grow grapes I can also potentially make raisins - anyone got experience of this? If I can't grow grapes, what could I replace raisins with in wine making?

Cheers,

Sam
 
L. Jones
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Grapes are often there as a source of natural yeast, so you could use yeast...or grapes, non-rasined.
 
Leila Rich
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Dunno about acid, but I do know to be very wary of commercial raisins, as non-organic ones are heavily sulphured and if I don't want a handful of raisins killing my yeast!
 
Sam White
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L. Jones wrote:Grapes are often there as a source of natural yeast, so you could use yeast...or grapes, non-rasined.


Aye, thanks. Obtaining yeast is something I need to look into anyway (that and fermentation with wild yeast as you say).

Leila Rich wrote:Dunno about acid, but I do know to be very wary of commercial raisins, as non-organic ones are heavily sulphured and if I don't want a handful of raisins killing my yeast!


Cheers Leila, I completely failed to think about that (not even sure my dear old dad has and he's a biochemist). Organic raisins it is!

 
tel jetson
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the fruit of flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) is sometimes compared to lemons. lots of pectin in there, though, which could give you troubles. is the lemon for pH adjustment? there are plenty of acidic fruits that could fill that role for you. verjuice and crabapples both seem like good options, but there are a lot more, too.

and what are the raisins for? extra sugar? yeast? unsulfured prunes or dried cherries could do the same thing, as could any number of sweet fruit juices. or honey. there's generally plenty of wild yeast on fruits, especially if they've got a sort of white powdery bloom on them.

sounds like some experimentation is in order. just about anything with some sugar in it can potentially be made into booze.
 
Sam White
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tel jetson wrote:the fruit of flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) is sometimes compared to lemons. lots of pectin in there, though, which could give you troubles. is the lemon for pH adjustment? there are plenty of acidic fruits that could fill that role for you. verjuice and crabapples both seem like good options, but there are a lot more, too.

and what are the raisins for? extra sugar? yeast? unsulfured prunes or dried cherries could do the same thing, as could any number of sweet fruit juices. or honey. there's generally plenty of wild yeast on fruits, especially if they've got a sort of white powdery bloom on them.

sounds like some experimentation is in order. just about anything with some sugar in it can potentially be made into booze.


Cheers Tel.

The use of lemon/acid is to adjust the pH as you say. Wines made from sap or flowers generally don't contain much acid as far as I'm aware and, with acid being important for crispness, complexity of flavours and possibly prohibition of unwanted micro-organisms, I guess they're a necessity. I'll give the crabapples a go I think, and maybe raspberries once ours start fruiting.

The raisins are, again, to do with flavour but also to do with smoothness/mouthfeel (I think) and add body to the wine. I don't think this would be necessary in blackberry or other fruity wines but for flower/sap wines it's probably desirable.

You're right, some experimentation is in order. I'll be happy as long as the results of said experimentation are alcoholic and, to some degree, palatable!
 
tel jetson
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crabapples also have the advantage of contributing some tannins for more body and better mouthfeel.
 
Philip Zoghbi
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I'm pretty sure you can replace the grapes with ginger, but you would have to make a few tests. I've recently been catching yeast with ginger to make a kind of beer/wine/slightly alcoholic drink. It is on it's way to becoming good alcohol but I have negliged it, though I know it works. It's basically a ginger bug starter you have to make. One cup water in a small glass jar, add one tsp of grated ginger and one tsp of sugar. Cover it with a cheesecloth and leave it in a cool dark place. Every day, stir it a bit, give it another tsp of grated ginger and sugar and some love for 7 days. It will bubble, and that is your starter. Then, add that to whatever you want to turn into wine, with a lot of sugar for the yeast to feed on. Cover with a cheesecloth or a device to release the carbon without letting in oxygen (or simply a baloon with wholes you poked with a needle) and let it for a while, checking it every couple of days if it smells and tastes right. When you think it is ready, put it in bottles and leave it longer, but I didnt get to that point yet so use your intuition!

A question: crab apple can replace the lemon? Can I also catch yeast with crab apple either with the technique I mentioned above or with another technique? Please enlighten me, because I have a shit-ton of crab apples in my backyard! I wanted to make an ice-crab-apple cider with them. Would I need grapes and lemon or some other yeast or the crab apples can do the whole job on their own?
 
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