There are so many plums available at this time of year it's a crime not to make some effort to use as many as possible. Besides strong arming the family to take as many as possible and freezing loads for the winter, making plum wine and plum jam are quick and easy ways to gain from all that fruity goodness.
Here's the recipe for plum wine. No chemicals are used, just all natural ingredients other than Milton baby liquid to sterilise equipment. A great Summer wine to make. Why not try out some of the other Allotment Heaven easy recipes?
Besides the desire to not waste a single plum, I started making this wine because I was fed up trying to find wine in the shops that didn't have the 'contains sulphites' message hidden away on the back label. Sulphites can cause allergies and a headache.
The instructions below are to make one UK imperial gallon of wine, which will give you about six bottles. If you can make a batch of five gallons even better... it's simpler to make large batches of wine since it's easier to bottle without disturbing the sediment. Just multiply the ingredients by five apart from the wine, for which you should follow the instructions on the container.
The cost of equipment is pretty low... about £35 if you acquire the wine bottles by saving from bought white wine. Thereafter your only cost is for sugar, lemons and some wine yeast... so having made the initial investment in equipment, typically you're enjoying rather nice, strong wine with no sulphite content for well under 50p a bottle! Why wouldn't you want to do it?
Something for stirring the contents
Long clear plastic tubing (available from DIY stores)
A 1 gallon demijohn (cheaper if you buy several)
6 wine bottles (ideally clear glass)
5lbs (2.25 kilos) of healthy plums (including stones)
3lbs (1.35 kilos) of sugar
1 gallon of water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1. Sterilise the fermentation barrel and lid using the Milton liquid.
2. Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the stones.
3. Place in fermentation barrel
4. Bring water to boil and pour in fermentation barrel.
5. Put the lid on and leave for four days, stirring twice daily.
6. Add the sugar and stir vigorously to dissolve.
7. Add lemon juice and wine yeast and put the lid on.
8. Store somewhere warm. After a few hours you'll notice something starting to happen... there'll be a froth on the surface as the yeast starts to ferment, turning the sugar into alcohol. Stir the contents twice a day.
9. After five days transfer the liquid to the demijohn using the plastic tubing and funnel. Make sure all the equipment has been sterilised with Milton liquid.
10. Avoiding disturbing any sediment, place the fermentation barrel at a higher level than the demijohn (e.g. put the barrel on a table and the demijohn on the floor), put one end of the plastic tubing in the barrel, and having placed the funnel in the neck of the demijohn give the other end of the tubing a strong suck to pull some of the wine in the tube up and over the edge of the barrel. Quickly remove your mouth and put the tube end into the funnel. The wine should start to drain.
11. Stop removing liquid when you get close to the bottom so you transfer as little of the sediment as possible. Once all the liquid is in the demijohn top up with water to bring to a gallon. Seal with the rubber bung and airlock, having put a small amount of diluted Milton liquid in the airlock.
12. You can now store the wine for months somewhere cool and frost free. At first the fermentation may start up again and you'll see bubbles going through the airlock. Gradually the wine will clear.
13. Once fully clear repeat the draining process, this time from the demijohn to sterilised wine bottles. Put a stopper in each bottle and store.
14. The wine will be ready to drink after twelve months.