07 February 2010

Home brewed Parsley Wine

As a result of trialing different composts last year I had an abundance of parsley seedlings (Unwins Italian Plain Leaved Parsley) growing all around our house last spring.  After several years of growing I still find it hard to throw away healthy little plants (makes thinning out tricky) so kept potting them on and giving them away until I was left with about 20.

Then the polytunnel went up and suddenly there were lots of empty beds just waiting to be planted.  At last, a home for my little plants.  I placed them amongst the marigolds and tomatoes and left them to it. Within about a month they had quadrupled in size and we realised very quickly that one or two would have been enough to feed our family.  So what can you do with that much parsley? There's only so much sauce one can eat!  And then it came to us - Parsley Wine. 

We had several old demijohns and associated paraphernalia in the shed so at the end of July, dusted it all down, washed and sterilised it and went harvesting.  I picked just over 1.1kg (two & a half pounds) of leaves and stems and used the following method to make the wine:

  1. Tore the parsley into pieces and placed it into a large fermenting bucket, covered it with 9 ltrs of boiling water and left it for 24 hours, covered with a tea towel.
  2. Strained it into a large pan (had to do this in two batches) and added 60g fresh root ginger, rinds of 4 oranges and lemons and boiled for 20 minutes.
  3. Put 2.8kg of caster sugar into the brewing bucket and poured the liquor on top, stirring until it had dissolved. Then added the juice of the oranges and lemons.
  4. Left it to cool then added some wine yeast (this was tricky to buy and in fact we couldn't find wine yeast as such so had to settle for a yeast that said it was suitable for home brewing. We've since found a home brewing website for our next efforts). The mixture was left in the bucket for the next two weeks, covered, and the scum removed until the mad fermentation had died down.
  5. The liquor was then strained into two demijohns, fitted with airlocks and left in the hot press until today!
I've been collecting wine bottles with screw cap lids in readiness so washed and sterilised ten ready for the brew, which was siphoned in to them this afternoon.

Initial tasting is sweet but hopeful.  It tastes like wine and is crystal clear.  We now have to store them away for another six months before we can really get stuck in.  So fingers crossed and if anybody's visiting in late July or August, guess what we'll be drinking ...!

We're now trawling through the old books to see what we can grow and brew next!

    7 comments:

    1. Wow, that looks like something we could do as we grow such a huge amount of parsley...one of my favorite greens. I have never made wine before but might just have to try this one.

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    2. Country wines are fairly easy to make - the key elements seem to be ensuring everything is sterilised and the yeast as there are different varieties. Home brew isn't as popular as it used to be so equipment can often be found cheaply in boot sales etc. Good luck!

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    3. Reminds me of my childhood with the picture of demijohns, my dad was a complete home brew fanatic. Rose petal wine was one of his classics I believe.

      I am sure he used to get his supplies from Boots, highly unlikely that they would sell homebrew kits now.

      Nettle Beer is the one I want to try this year.

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    4. Nettle beer sounds interesting.... I'll look it up! I tried every chemist & health food shop locally I could find last year but only came up with the general yeast. I've since found a web site www.the-online-homebrew-company.co.uk which we'll try this year as they seem to stock everything.

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    5. Dee, only now realising you've a rake of lovely receipes, some of which I am hoping to try out. Curious how did the parsley wine turn out though?

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    6. Was it drinkable? How alcoholic was it?

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