How to Make Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Wines

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I’m very pleased to reintroduce you to a guest blogger who first appeared on Lovely Greens a year ago. Since then, Ben’s piece on making your own Country Wines has proven especially popular and has no doubt helped many get started making their own wine at home. Today he’s expanding on his first post with his piece called ‘A’ is for Apple – a Wine Alphabet.

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your continued support of this site!

Last year, Tanya asked me to write a guest blog in her ‘DIY Homesteading’ series about my wine making activities. I was honoured to do so, and received positive feedback from her readers. Much of this centred around a flippant comment I made, saying that I wanted to make at least one wine for each letter of the alphabet. My quest continues, and here is how I am getting on.

How to Make fruit, flower, and vegetable Wines from the comfort of your own kitchen! #wine

Essentially there are three types of country wine: fruit, flower and vegetable. I will use all three to reach my goal, and the basic method for each is a little different. Below I have produced a skeleton recipe for each, and you can adapt them to suit whatever ingredient you want to use. Often this will be dictated by your garden surpluses, or what looks cheap in the market.

There are of course many letters where I have made multiple wines, and my list below is a suggestion for your starting point. The letters B and E are particularly traumatic in recommending just one wine. Blackberry or Blackcurrant? Elderberry or Elderflower? All are excellent, and you should try each one. However, I have picked Blackberry for B because it is easier to source the fruit, and Elderflower for E as it is a flower wine, and my list is mostly fruit.

You will note that there is only one vegetable in the list, unless you count Rhubarb. Prune wine is genuinely nice. Beetroot is okay, as is Peapod. Potato and Celery are not. My wines are mostly made from fruit. Fruit, after all, is sweeter and juicier than either vegetables or flowers and it is no coincidence that grapes are fruit!

A – Apple (of course). One recipe I tried called for 24 lbs, but that is excessive. Use 6 lbs fruit.
B – Blackberry. This is exquisite, easy, and virtually free. Use 4 lbs fruit.
C – Cherry. I have only made this once (and yet to drink a bottle) but it tasted fabulous on bottling. Use 6 lbs fruit.
D – Dandelion. This gets better the longer you store it. Try for at least 2 years. Use 6 pints flowers.
E – Elderflower. Irritating to make (all that flower plucking) but summer in a glass. Use 1 pint of flowers.
F – Fig. I have only helped make this, and not tasted it, so don’t know if it is successful. Use 6 lbs fruit
G – Gooseberry. When it succeeds, this is possibly the best white. It doesn’t always, though. Use 6 lbs fruit.
H – Hawthorn Blossom. My only H, and rather bland. Use 4 pints of flowers.
– I have yet to tick this off.
J – Another missing letter
K – Kiwi Fruit. I have only done this once, and had one bottle, but enjoyed that. Use 5 lbs fruit.
L – Lemon & Lime. My only L and still in its demijohn. I used 11 small lemons and 4 limes.
M – I haven’t done this yet, and am thinking ‘Mango’.
N – Nettle. Don’t bother. But if you must, treat it as a flower wine and use 4 pints of nettle tops.
O – Orange. One of my regulars, with a sharp taste. Use 12 oranges.
P – Prune & Parsnip. This produces a sherry-like wine and is fabulous. Use 2 lbs of parsnips and 8 oz prunes.
Q – Quince. Floral, yet dry. Use 20 quinces.
R – Rhubarb. This comes close to tasting like real wine. Use 3 lb fruit.
S – Strawberry. Delicious and refreshingly dry. Use 5 lbs fruit.
T – Tea. Again, don’t bother. It isn’t fruit, vegetable or flower. Use 2 oz tea if you must.
U – This will be difficult. I don’t know where or when to source Ugli Fruit.
V – By the time you read this, I hope to have made Vanilla Wine . But for the moment, it is untried.
W – Whitecurrant. I made this last year, but have yet to drink a bottle. It tasted good on bottling. Use 3 lb fruit.
X – Xmas Tutti Frutti. Okay, this is a bit of a cheat, but how else am I going to get an X? It is all the leftover fruit in my freezer at Christmas. Use whatever is in your freezer.
Y – Not done. Yam wine anyone?
Z – This will be my last letter to tick off. I will pander to my half-American heritage, and do Zucchini.

How to Make fruit, flower, and vegetable Wines from the comfort of your own kitchen! #wine

Ingredients for Fruit Wine
A quantity of fruit – usually between 3 to 6 lbs (1.3-2.6 kg) (see above)
6 ½ pints (130 fluid ounces) (3.7 litres) Water
3 lbs (1.3 kg) Sugar
1 teaspoon Wine Yeast
1 teaspoon  Yeast Nutrient
1 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme

Equipment – the below product from Amazon has everything you need to get started:
Premium Wine Making Equipment Kit – with Auto-Syphon

For a detailed explanation of the winemaking process and equipment please read this post.

How to make Wine using fruit & flowers. Includes recipes, detailed instructions, equipment list, and an A-Z of edibles you can make wine with.

How to make Wine using fruit & flowers. Includes recipes, detailed instructions, equipment list, and an A-Z of edibles you can make wine with.

Method
1. Sterilise all equipment you are going to use. (NB – you must repeat this every time you begin a new stage in wine-making. I have a useful, if long, footnote about it here. It deals with many other things besides and is worth reading.)
2. If using soft fruit (e.g. berries) crush it in your bucket with a potato masher. If hard fruit (e.g. apples), chop them into small pieces – using a food processor helps – and put those in the bucket.
3. Boil the water and pour over the fruit.
4. Add the sugar and stir.
5. Leave 24 hours, and add the yeast, nutrient and Pectolase (Pectic Enzyme).
6. Between four and seven days later (depending on when is most convenient to you) strain the fruit out and put the liquid into a demijohn.
7. Let the demijohn sit for approximately 2 months, preferably in your warmest room (but don’t over-worry about the temperature).
8. Siphon the liquid off its sediment into a new demijohn, picking up as little sediment as possible.
9. Top up the gap left in the new demijohn with a sugar and water syrup. As a rough guide, the ratio of water to sugar should be a pint : six ounces (0.5 litres : 150 grams) but you may need more or less of this, depending on the sediment’s size.
10. Leave the demijohn to stand until at least 6 months after starting the wine and bottle.

How to Make fruit, flower, and vegetable Wines from the comfort of your own kitchen! #wine

Vegetable and Flower wines are only subtly different in ingredient and method to Fruit wines.

Ingredients for Vegetable Wine
A quantity of vegetables – usually between 2 to 6 lbs (0.9-2.6 kg)
7 ½ pints (150 fluid ounces) (4.25 litres) Water
3 lbs (1.3 kg) Sugar
1 teaspoon  Wine Yeast
1 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient
1 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme

Equipment – the below product from Amazon has everything you need to get started:
Premium Wine Making Equipment Kit – with Auto-Syphon

For a detailed explanation of the winemaking process and equipment please read this post.

Method
1. Chop the vegetables into small pieces (don’t peel them) and put into a pan with the water.
2. Bring water to the boil and simmer for half an hour.
3. Pour the water into a bucket, discarding the vegetables (or saving them for soup)
4. Continue the Fruit Wine method from stage 4 (though for stage 6, ignore the bit about straining out fruit).

How to Make fruit, flower, and vegetable Wines from the comfort of your own kitchen! #wine

Ingredients for Flower Wine
A quantity of flower petals – between 1 and 6 pints (0.6-3.4 litres) (see above)
6 pints (120 fluid ounces) (3.4 litres) Water
A carton of white grape juice (in the UK this comes in 1 litre cartons)
2 Lemons
3 lbs (1.3 kg) Sugar
1 teaspoon Wine Yeast
1 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient
1 teaspoon Grape/Wine Tannin (or a small mug of cold black tea)
1 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme

For a detailed explanation of the winemaking process and equipment please read this post.

Method
1. Thinly peel the lemons, trying to avoid the pith, and put the peel in your bucket with the flowers and grape juice.
2. Squeeze the lemons and pour juice into the bucket.
3. Boil the water and pour into the bucket. (Alternatively, for Elderflower I put in cold water, but I add a crushed Campden Tablet to remove any yeast on the flowers.)
4. Continue from stage 4 for the fruit wine. The tannin goes in at the same time as the yeast.

Now you have these three basic methods, you can make up your recipes – though (at least to begin with) refer to a wine recipe book or blog for exact quantities and variations to these methods.

Ben Hardy is the author ofBen’s Adventures in Wine Making’, a wine-making book published by The Good Life Press. When not brewing, he can be found playing the bassoon or being a property solicitor in Leeds. For more on his wine making exploits, please visit his blog and to read his first piece on wine making please visit this link.

How to Make fruit, flower, and vegetable Wines from the comfort of your own kitchen! border=

 

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4 Discussion to this post

  1. Julee Gray says:

    Funnily enough I've just bought some demijohns from a jumble for 50p and I was going to look for some wine recipes. Catching up with Bloglovin and there's your guest post, just what I needed. Thank you, very helpful and informative x

    • Ben Hardy says:

      Hello Julee – 50p for a demijohn? Bargain! You will need a plastic bucket with a sealable lid as well. Warning – making wine can get to be addictive (ask my long-suffering wife!). And let me know how you get on. Ben

  2. Suzanne Morrow says:

    My husband suggests Juniper for J. It’s used to make gin.

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