How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
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How to Make Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Wines

How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner’s equipment list

Last year, Tanya asked me to write a guest piece on how to make country wines. I was honored to do so and received positive feedback from her readers. Much of this centered 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.

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 basic 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.

How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
Orange wine nearly finishing fermenting

 

Make Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Wine

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 true vegetable on 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! Vegetable and flower wines are only subtly different in ingredient and method to fruit wines. With the three basic winemaking methods that follow, you can make wine with any of these fruit, berries, and wine. Though, to begin with, refer to a wine recipe book or blog for exact quantities and variations to these methods.

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How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
One of the best country wines is homemade rhubarb wine

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 of 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 – 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 – Ugli Fruit Wine
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 using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
Winemaking equipment including a brewing bucket, demijohn, siphoning hose, and sieve

Wine Making Equipment

You don’t need much to get started with basic winemaking but you will need the items in the list below. Pick things up individually or alternatively get them as a bundle from a winemaking supplier. This product from Amazon has everything you need to get started: Premium Wine Making Equipment Kit and for a detailed explanation of the winemaking process and equipment please read this piece.

Sterilize all equipment you are going to use. You must repeat this every time you begin a new stage in wine-making — I have a useful footnote about it here. It deals with many other things besides and is worth reading. You can sterilize your heat-proof equipment in the oven, but an easier method and the one you use for plastic items is sodium metabisulphite dissolved in a pint of cold water. Swirl it around all of the surfaces of your winemaking equipment including demi-johns, buckets, utensils, and siphoning hose.

  • A large bucket with a lid
  • Two demi-johns
  • Length of clear tubing
  • A rubber cork
  • Rubber cork with a hole drilled through
  • An air-lock for fermenting
  • Measuring jugs
  • Kitchen utensils: spoons, potato masher
How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
From whole fruit, to primary fermenting, to secondary fermentation. On the left is an autumn berry and fruit wine, and on the right, ugli fruit wine

Fruit Wine Ingredients

Fruit Wine Making Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Boil the water and pour it over the fruit.
  3. Add the sugar and stir.
  4. Leave for 24 hours, and add the yeast, nutrient, and pectolase (pectic enzyme).
  5. 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.
  6. Let the demijohn sit for approximately 2 months, preferably in your warmest room (but don’t over-worry about the temperature).
  7. Siphon the liquid off its sediment into a new demijohn, picking up as little sediment as possible.
  8. 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 to six ounces (0.5 liters / 150 grams). You may need more or less of this, depending on the sediment’s size.
  9. Leave the demijohn to stand until at least 6 months after starting the wine and bottle.
How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
From whole vegetables, to primary fermenting, to secondary fermentation. On the left is zucchini wine, and on the right, parsnip and prune wine

Vegetable Wine Ingredients

Vegetable Wine Making Instructions

  1. Chop the vegetables into small pieces (don’t peel them) and put them into a pan with the water.
  2. Bring water to a boil and simmer for half an hour.
  3. Pour the water into a bucket, discarding the vegetables (or saving them for soup)
  4. Add the sugar and stir.
  5. Leave for 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 liquid and put it 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 to six ounces (0.5 liters / 150 grams). 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 using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking

Flower Wine Ingredients

  • A quantity of flower petals – between 1 and 6 pints (0.6-3.4 liters) (see above list)
  • 6 pints (120 fluid ounces / 3.4 liters) Water
  • A carton of white grape juice (in the UK this comes in 1-liter cartons)
  • 2 Lemons
  • 3 lbs (1.3 kg) Sugar
  • 1 tsp Wine yeast
  • 1 tsp Yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp Wine tannin (or a small mug of cold black tea)
  • 1 tsp Pectolase (pectic enzyme)

Flower Wine Making Instructions

  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 it 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. Add the sugar and stir.
  5. Leave for 24 hours, and add the yeast, nutrient, tannin, and pectolase (pectic enzyme).
  6. Between four and seven days later (depending on when is most convenient to you) strain the flowers 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 to six ounces (0.5 liters / 150 grams). 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 using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking
Bottling the wine after its six months sitting in the demijohn

How to make fruit, flower, and vegetable wines using this A-Z list of delicious ingredients. Includes wine recipes, winemaking instructions, and a beginner's equipment list #homesteading #fermenting #winemaking

Ben Hardy is the author of Ben’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 winemaking exploits, please visit his blog, and read his first piece on country winemaking.

21 Comments

  1. If you have friends in North Dakota/Montana area, ask them for June Berries (Saskatoon berries.) Think blueberries/wild blueberries, but darker and sweeter.

  2. Hey there. For anything what is not fruit, giving pectolase is pointless. Flower wine does not need such thing, as there is no cell structures you want to break to extract more juice. Pectolase is great with juicy, but hard to juice fruits, like apples. And it’s used before fermenting, not as additive.

  3. Thank you for sharing your base recipes.
    You’ve probably managed to make the whole alphabet by now but just in case… I’ve not made these but seen recipes for them
    M = marigold wine, marrow wine, marrow & ginger, melon
    N = nectarine wine. I know you say don’t bother with Nettle wine but have you tried Nettle beer?
    T = tangerine wine or Thyme wine.
    Y = yarrow wine.
    Sorry but I have only beers for I & J and nothing for X & Z.

  4. Pomegranate and pears would work better for me as p. I’d choose nectarines for n, and tamarind, from Mexican cuisine, for t. W would, for me, be another draw from Mexican: watermelon.

  5. Hi! Great post! With quarantine and all I am getting back into mead and country wines. I’m very interested in flower wines. When measuring, do you mean packed or loose flowers? Thanks!

  6. Thanks for sharing! My boyfriend and I just made a merlot kit but that was more ‘his’ venture. It was also a 5 gallon bucket… I myself, like to experiment. I got myself dome 1 gallon carboys & have a rhubarb one started & am starting a raspberry pineapple blend & also giving blueberry a try. I enjoy the small batch wines best. It allows me to have several different flavours without committing to large batches. Especially if it ends up tasting nasty.

    1. This made me laugh :) Yes, there’s always a chance of a ‘nasty’ wine when experimenting. If it happens to you, you can try mulling it with wintery spices and apple juice — I’ve saved some that way.

  7. How about tangerines for your T wine. Similar to Orange, I imagine, but certain to be nicer than tea! Jackfruit for J? Might be a similar challenge to Ugli.

    1. I’d go real easy on the magnolia. They are heavenly, but strong. For elderflower I’d pack it in.

      Did you know Elder is the only plant from which you can make both red and white from the exact same plants? If you run your hand over the flower umbels, flowers get knocked off quite easily, without damaging the fruiting part and without tediously picking off all those stems. Then the fruit ripens, and you can pick *that* for your red wine. It’s like magic!

  8. I would like to try making wine from just violets and can’t seem to find a recipe for that. Just want to make a small batch. Have any ideas? Reckon I’m going to have to make my own recipe.

    1. I’m super interested in hearing how that comes out! I have some pansies to add to my yard Violet’s to (I hope) ads some flavor. I may do a liqueur instead.

  9. 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

    1. 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

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