Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boy-blog: Plum Wine

You might have gathered from previous posts, but I have to compete with my boyfriend for time in the kitchen.  He's a great cook and, together with a few of his crazier friends, is often involved in many food-related shenanigans.  For instance, they've constructed a spit roast together, and roasted a variety of whole animals including pigs (Porktoberfest) and sheep (Lambzac Day).

Porktober Fest 2010

Now, with the prospect of 13 kilograms of free plums, they have embarked on a plum wine-making adventure, the first stage of which happened over the Weekend of the Plum.  Making a mash out of plums and sugar turns out to be surprisingly similar to the first stages of jam-making.  The only difference I noted was the number of "plum" jokes which inevitably ensued.  Also, the boys aren't really into finer measurements, so it's all kind of approximate.

First, pick and wash your plums.

Next, pop them in an assortment of large pots with a fair bit of water and boil them up until the skins come off and the pips float to the surface in a volcano of pink-foam.  Very manly, pink foam.

Sit back with a beer and watch the dogs play while the plum "mash" takes shape.

Next, strain the mixture.  The object of this is to remove the pips and other floating material like skins which produce pectin.  Unlike in jam, you want as little pectin involved as possible.  The boys tried to explain exactly why, but it sounded vaguely like a chemistry lesson, so I lost focus.

Now that you have a nice mash ready to go, you should clean out your home-brew keg (in case you have one handy) and then strain the liquid into it... be sure to add some cold water too, so you don't melt the plastic.  That would be bad.

Finally, mix in the sugar, add a little more water, then pop on the lid.  It has a special valve in the top to allow air to escape the keg but not to enter it.  This will (quite responsibly, I thought) stop the keg from exploding.  Which is a Very Good Thing.

Once the temperature is down around 20 degrees celcius, you can add the yeast.  And then you wait for the fermentation process to work its magic.  I'm not sure how this will all go, but given the plums were free, how bad can it be?  I'll let you know about two months from now.

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