A couple of years ago, we boiled quinces, (probably a few days later) put the juice in the shed fridge in jars and planned to make Quince jelly with it. A few months later rediscovered the jars. Some were rotten, but some had turned into the delicious mild fermented drink (?wine) that we had a little of on special occasions for the next year - I was raised teatotaller, did not taste alcohol till I was thirty, and probably drink about half a cup every year on average since then, so this wine was the exception. The last quinces are falling off the tree here in New Zealand, and we would like to try repeating the experiment. I can find no recipe that is just Quince Juice without all sorts of other additives. I do know from bread-making, that if you put dough in the fridge then the yeast activity slows right down and the lactic / acetic acid forming bacteria can take over more. Any knowledge of this in making fermented drinks?
Primo fermentation of fruits and vegetables takes place at 60°F for the lowest and 70°F at the highest. Refrigerated fermentation just takes a lot longer to accomplish. I'm not sure if you had any sugar added when you stored your Quince, but sugars are what yeast feeds on to make alcohol (wine, beer, etc.). There is natural sugar in fruits, so adding sugar, 3 cups per gallon, yields a much sweeter product and usually better fermentation - but not always! After playing around, you can either add or subtract sugar from future batches to your taste. If you liked the flavor and the sweetness of your accident, follow that recipe and put the juice right into fermenting jugs. I'd be very leery of capped jars or other containers. You were EXTREMELY lucky you didn't have some bombs go off from CO2 pressure! Take containers such as gallon glass jugs, or you can use 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon plastic buckets as long as they are certified food grade. Walmart and other stores sell food grade plastic containers. Drill a 1/4" hole in the lid and seal aquarium tubing into that with aquarium grade (food safe silicon) caulk. Make the tubing long enough to drop into a container of water. This serves two main purposes; it keeps bugs like fruit flies out, bacteria and foreign molds, and when its done fermenting, there will be no more bubbles of CO2 coming out. When the bubbles stop, that tells you the fermenting process is done. You can either let it sit for a few days to be sure, or you can add chemicals to stop the fermentation. I gather that you, like me, prefer the natural method and would rather not add chemicals, a lot of them trigger asthma for my wife. The next step, is to siphon off the liquid into another container, leaving as much of the mother (sediment) behind as possible. This too serves at least two purposes; separating the mother and shaking any leftover CO2 out of the liquid, like shaking soda-pop. You can let the wine age in this container, sealed so that bugs and bacteria can't get in, and allowing more mother to settle, keeping in mind, you should crack the lid at least once a week to let any remaining pressure buildup poof off. After aging for at least a month this way, and until you're sure there is no more pressure being built up, siphon off again, into bottles or jars which you will be able to seal and permanently store and age ... and sample!
I made Sunchoke (AKA Jerusalem Artichoke & Fartichoke) flower wine last fall. I used three hand-pressed quarts of flowers, washed the bugs off, simmered them for about 15 minutes, which made them smell like squash! I drained the cooled liquid off into a gallon pickle jar with a bubbler hose in the lid. Added three cups of sugar dissolved in a quart of hot water and a 1/4 cup of raisins for natural yeast and topped off the jar to within about 1 1/2" of the top with more water. Capped it off and dropped the hose into a small jar of water and let it work at about 68°f until it quit bubbling, let it sit for over a week, then bottled it up. Its a very earthy, oddly flavorful wine, not what I'd call a drinking wine, but after it ages for bit longer, we'll try it as a cooking wine. It should be great for that. Now that I know what I got from three quarts of flowers plus three cups of sugar in a one gallon batch, I think next fall I'll try one batch with two quarts and another batch with one quart of flowers and see how those taste.
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