I’m sure you must be thinking “Zucchini wine? Are you crazy?!” but it isn’t complete lunacy as it might sound and I’m going to tell you step by step how to use your glut of courgettes and zucchinis in a way you never thought possible!
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This is part of the Frugal Gardening Series with Erica from Owning Burton Farm, using all your bounty from the garden cuts your grocery bill!
During summer I’m sure gardeners around the globe throw their hands up in the air exclaiming “What the hell am I going to do with all of this zucchini (or courgettes!)?” Gardeners are driven to hiding it in every single meal, leaving them on doorsteps, donating to food banks, leaving on co-workers desks and lockers. The extent which people go to in giving away zucchini never ceases to amaze me!
If you want more zucchini recipes check out Erica from Owning Burton Farm she has quite a number to keep you interested in this versatile vegetable!
A homebrewer with a panache for the unusual or a love of a pretty good dry white wine then look no further and go grab those zucchini back of the neighbor’s porch, you’re going to need them!
Since this is an English recipe, it will be in metric measurements.
Making country wines is only a few simple steps:
- Extracting flavor, aroma and nutrients
- Adding tannin, acids and sugars
- Primary fermentation
- Secondary fermentation
- Ageing (also known as conditioning)
I’m going to break the steps down below for you to make this wine.
Equipment To Make Zucchini Wine
To make wine you need a couple of things to get you started. The easiest way is to buy a beginners winemaking kit which usually come with everything you need.
To make this wine, you will need the following equipment:
- Small saucepan
- fermentation bin
- 4.5 Liter carboy or demijohn (1 UK gallon size = 1.2 US gallons)
- Airlock and stopper
- Cutting knife
- Racking cane
- Resealable plastic bag/freezer bag
- Wine bottles
Ingredients To Make Zucchini Wine
You will need the following ingredients to make this unusual homebrewed wine:
- 3 kg fresh zucchini or summer squash
- 1 kg white sugar
- 2 over-ripe bananas
- 500 g sultanas or golden raisins
- 4 Liters of water
- 1 teaspoon citric acid or acid blend
- A thumb-sized piece of ginger root, bashed/bruised
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- 1 Campden tablet
- Champagne yeast
Extracting Flavor, Aroma and Nutrients
Check that the zucchini and bananas are not moldy or damaged.
Wash the zucchini and chip it into 3cm/1 inch pieces and place into the freezer bags. Place in the freezer overnight, this softens them up easily which releases more juice.
Allow the chopped zucchini to thaw out the next morning whilst you move onto the next step.
Adding the Tannins, acids and other ingredients
Boil 500 ml of water.
Once boiling add the sugar, turn off the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
Add the sultanas or golden raisins to the sugar water and leave to rest.
Mash the bananas in the fermentation bin and add all the other ingredients including the thawed zucchini except the yeast.
Cover the fermentation bin and allow to cool to hand-hot.
Add the campden tablet. This kills off any other wild yeasts in the liquid. It contains sulfites so do not use if you are sensitive to sulfites.
Leave the brew overnight.
These zucchini will make a good homebrew country wine!
Add the yeast to the fermentation bin.
Leave the bin for 4 days loosely covered with a tea towel, muslin or cheesecloth.
This is where the bulk of the sugar content is converted to alcohol. In winemaking, this primary fermentation requires oxygen. During this time, the contents of the fermentation bin will be bubbling. The ideal temperature for primary fermentation of this zucchini wine and many other country wines is 21°C or 70°F.
Strain the liquid from the fermentation bin into the carboy.
Attach the stopper and airlock.
This is a much slower process than the primary fermentation and can take 3 months or longer. This fermentation is without oxygen and the airlock and stopper are used with your carboy. the ideal temperature for secondary fermentation is about 15-18°C or 60-65°F. Cooler temperatures mean the fermentation is slower which creates a better wine as the flavors develop better, especially with country wines. Keep the carboy in the dark, a basement or cellar is ideal.
After 1 month you need to transfer or rack the wine into another carboy of the same size, leaving the sediment behind. This sediment (lees) should be less than 0.5 cm high in the carboy, if there is more sediment, rack again into a carboy. This will help prevent any off-flavors.
Allow the wine to ferment out or finish fermenting before bottling. After 2 months of fermenting, move the carboy to a warmer area, if it bubbles again move it back to the cooler area and wait a bit longer.
Once your secondary fermentation has finished, you need to siphon the wine into wine bottles and cork them.
Once the bottles are filled, leave them upright for a week in a cool dark area. After a week, you can set them on a wine rack.
Leave this wine to age for at least 3 months before opening and drinking.
What’s your favorite way to use zucchini, let me know in the comments!
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