Wednesday 20 February 2013

Parsnip wine stage one (brewing)

Remember a TV show called ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ from the 1970s, starring Leonard Rossiter? Reggie’s son-in-law in the show, Tom, is very much a new-age sort of chap who makes his own vegetable wines (which everybody agrees are awful)! Ever since watching this show, I’ve wanted to make my own vegetable wine, and I know from experience that such wines can in fact be absolutely delicious.

So I’ve done a lot of research. I brought what appears to be the definitive book on the subject and have read many, many recipes on the internet. I decided to start with parsnip wine as this is one of my favourite vegetables, it was either this or beetroot (which will be next). I decided on an amalgam of the various recipes I encountered, which is basic and supposedly fool proof.

Essentially, the grated parsnip is simmered in boiling water for five minutes. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and the sugar and orange juice is added. When cool, add the yeast (it will obviously die if you don’t cool it) and then seal in the fermenting vessel, which is essentially a plastic bucket. You have to sterilise all of the equipment used, so I boiled the small bits and used a sterilising solution in the bucket.

In two weeks it will be bottled. I’m going to try and find some very small bottles so that I can open these periodically to assess the taste, and because I didn’t want to produce too much on my first try. I don’t really want to wait for months and tasting before brewing some more, so now I know that the method isn’t too daunting (albeit I will make a few changes) I am going to produce some greater volume and keep my fingers crossed!

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