We went down to the orchard today and harvested about 22 pounds (10 kilos) of mirabelle plums from our trees. We really should have harvested them a week or so earlier, but we simply haven’t had the time. Thank God we found Nico, our new farm hand, when we did or a lot of other things around here would be looking as bad as our orchard. But he’s going to be here tomorrow and will hopefully be cutting the insanely high grass at the orchard finally so at least walking through there won’t be a huge chore anymore.
Naturally we had our two helpers with us. Mack did some stretching and foot chewing to warm up for all the harvesting.
Ayla wore herself out chasing mirabelles. I don’t think she found most of the ones we threw for her, but she had fun running after them over and over again. Unfortunately she couldn’t get down to the water because the path is completely overgrown. Maybe Nico will have time to clear that area too tomorrow.
In case you are not familiar with mirabelles, they are very small yellow plums, similar in taste to an apricot but generally not as sweet. Many people make them into jam or just can the whole fruits in jars, but we decided to make wine from ours instead.
It’s not a difficult process but you do have to remove the pits from them before you start the fermentation process. They are very high in tannins and I read they could even give an almond flavor when you preserve the fruits in a jar…but that’s not what we’re looking for in our wine.
These 10 kilos of fruit will probably make about 10 liters of wine. Unfortunately it needs to sit for about 2 years before you can drink it. So we’ll be waiting a while to know if this was all worth it. It seems that most of the mirabelle plum trees in our area only produce fruit every 2 years, though, so we may be able to give the wine a try before we harvest fruit again from our trees. There are actually quite a few trees on public orchards in our area as well, so if it does turn out to be tasty, our friends and family should be looking forward to getting a bit of it when it’s ready.
Mirabelle Plum Wine
Total waiting time: 2 years, 3 months
- 22 pounds of mirabelle plums
- 1 gallon water
- 5.5 pounds sugar
- 2 camden tablets, crushed or 2 grams meta bisulfate
- 1 liquid ounce anti-gel agent
- 4 grams yeast nutrient (auf Deutsch “hefenaersalz“)
- 1 bottle of Ruedesheimer yeast
- Pit mirabelles and lightly crush. Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. Put pitted fruit in fermentation barrel or demi john.
- Boil water in a pot. Once it is boiling, pour it into barrel or demi john.
- Add sugar, 1 camden tablet or 1 gram meta bisulfate, anti-gel and yeast nutrient. Shake or stir mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add yeast and shake or stir mixture again. Close barrel and top with fermentation bell to allow air to escape.
- Store at room temperature for 7-14 days, until the bell goes silent. The room should not above 75 degrees F. Check your specific yeast for further information about preferred fermentation temperatures.
- Dump contents of fermentation barrel in fruit press and express juice into a clean fermentation barrel or demi john. Add 1 camden tablet or 1 gram meta bisulfate.
- Close barrel and top with fermentation bell. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 days, shaking once a day. When you see no more bubbles rising to the top after shaking, the wine is ready to rest for another 7-14 days.
- Rack wine into a clean fermintation barrel or demi john. Use a siphon to pull the clear liquid from the top of the barrel, with as little disturbance as possible to the dead yeast cells and fruit particles in the bottom of the barrel. Let rest for another 30 days.
- Bottle wine and let sit in a cool room for 2 years.