Monday, January 08, 2007

Homesteading is more interesting with Prison Wine!

I suppose you can homestead without having made "prison wine", but you'd be missing out on some old-timey fun! I read about making homemade wine the old fashioned way on the homesteadingtoday website. This just sounded like too much fun to pass up, so I gave it a shot at making some apple wine.

I have fond memories of Boonesfarm Apple Wine from my younger days, so I decided to use green apples for my first experience. This stuff is so easy to make, I almost hate to share the recipe. But since it's been made public knowlege by Jersey_Girl on the homesteading today website, I'll go ahead and share it.

You will need a one gallon container. I used a one gallon glass jar that was home to some dill pickles at one time. Here's the recipe:

6 apples
6 cups of sugar
water (not clorinated - use distilled or spring water if you're on tap water with clorine)

Wash the apples and then cut them into quarters and remove the seeds.
Put the cut up apples in the container.
Add 6 cups of sugar.
Top with water.
Stir until the sugar is disolved.
Put the lid on the container.

Stir daily for about a month, or until it's not bubbling after sitting. It may bubble when stirred, but you want to make sure it's not still fermenting when you bottle it, so just look at it before stirring and make sure it's not bubbling. If it's not, you are ready to bottle it!

Remove the apples and strain the liquid through cheese cloth or a clean t-shirt. I strained mine about 3 times to remove as much of the pulp and sediment as possible. Once that's done, pour it into old wine bottles or mason jars and ta-da! You have apple wine!

I was very curious about the alcohol content, and since I happen to have a hydrometer, I checked it out. It weighed in at 18% alcohol. Not bad!

I have to tell you, Bernie was very skeptical about this experiment. We named the wine "Albatross Apple Wine", because I had to take it every where we went for over a month so I could stir it daily. So this jug of fermentation tagged along every weekend we went to the homestead and even traveled with us through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and back for the week we spent in Georgia for Christmas. I've posted the question about having to stir it daily on the homesteading today website - I'll let y'all know if I find out why it's necessary. My only guess is that it keeps the fruit on top from rotting, but I'm not sure about that.

(UPDATED - OK, I asked my new friends on the homesteading today website about stirring the wine daily, and I got a couple of responses. Here is what Suitcase_Sally says (and she makes REAL wine, so I think she knows) "This is to suspend the yeast, relieve some CO2, and to make sure that the "cap" (fruit and yeast) are punched down to keep it wet." So there you have it. Stir that brew!)

At any rate, after I bottled the Albatross Apple Wine, Bernie came into the kitchen to check it out. He seemed mildly interested and hugely skeptical. He suspicously looked at my gorgeous bottles of wine and asked "Why are they so cloudy". I responded that it's prison wine for heaven's sake and I don't have the filtration system needed to make them crystal clear. I poured a small amount in a glass and said "Try it". He put the glass to his nose and his eyes got big. "It smells like wine!" he exclaimed. He took a small sip and said "It really tastes like wine! And it's not all that sweet."

So there is my rave review. I consider the Albatross Apple Wine a smashing success. I will be toting it down to Richmond for our Motorcycle Lobby Day meetings next weekend, and trying it out on unsuspecting victims. I'll let y'all know the reactions.

This week I plan to start some Grape Wine and as soon as strawberries and peaches come back into season, I'll be mixing up a batch of those. If you're on my Christmas list, you may be blessed with a bottle of this stuff next year. Bernie has even expressed interest in making some of it with the honey we plan to get from this bees in the late summer. I'll have to see if I can read up on that.

So there you have it - the homesteading experience made more pleasant through the use of prison wine. Who said homesteading can't be fun ;-)

Bee Free,


Anonymous said...

Excellent !

Sounds like a perfect thing for a TEA party.

Even though we are not homesteading, I just have to try this. Hey, a little old apartment in Delaware can have some Prison Wine, too ! I'll let you know how it turns out.

If we live through it, that is.

Anonymous said...

After a long, hot, day of beer drinking in the sun, I rode by a brother's house that made the very same wine.

Two glasses later, I was officially tore up from the floor up.

Walter Jeffries said...

*grin* Good post but I think I'll skip the prison wine and eat the fruit. :)

Penny said...

Prison wine packs quite a punch. One of my friends (that is no stranger to heavy drinking) drank a glass of this stuff and her face became flushed. As she so eloquently put it (I'm substituting for the swear words here) "Holy bleepidy bleep. That bleep is bleeping strong." In other words, "She was was officially tore up from the floor up" ;-) She's quite the lady.... but she knows her booze!

I considered leaving the fruit in it and calling it "Sangria", but after looking at the fermented, brown chunks, decided against it.... although it really was a shame to trash the apples!

I've got some prison wine made with concord grapes fermenting right now. It's smelling quite winey already. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

Penny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.