Mulberries (sand plums small and hard still)

joegrizzy

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so i've cut open big ol contractor bags into make shift tarps, held 'em with some bricks, and been gathering all the dang mulberries that fall into my yard. this tree must be 30' tall with at least 40-50 berry bearing branches. they cover the ground on a windy day. i bring the 10' x 10' tarp out and give the limbs i can reach a shake once or twice a day to speed up the process a bit. some of the branches are so high, it's a crap shoot where they will land.

so far i've got almost 8 lbs. currently in the fridge, but went to the brew store and got several more fermentation buckets. hopefully i can have some of the mulberry wine out and racked before the sand plums come out. i checked the canadian river today and they were all small and hard, tho several had turned red already. i drank my last bottle of sand plum when the braves won the world series, so now i'm obligated per superstition.

what i like about mulberries is that they are pretty much the EXACT same throughout the entire world. so unlike persimmons (the asian ones are almost an entirely different fruit) and even more common fruits like apples and whatnot, a mulberry is a mulberry is a mulberry. google told me this is because the leaves of the mulberry tree are the sole food silkworms, and since we all know silk was very popular worldwide; the same trees got planted everywhere with very little variation. there are red, whites, and the common purple/black mulberry, but that's pretty much it.

i came across some recipes online; figure i'll try out several. i will likely freeze several lbs of berries and squeeze the rest.


and there are some awesome mulberry wine recipes i've come across on asian youtube. one indian recipe with cardamom, clove, cinammon, and some rose petals. fortunately have all those ready to go, so i'll likely do a batch like that. one seemingly common korean recipe of taking clear booze of at least 30%, adding extra crystal sugar and pouring it over your washed berries. anyone have any favorite mulberry recipes?
 

dennishoddy

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The mulberry tree on our road has the ground covered up with berries that have dropped. I'll probably go down and pick up a mess tomorrow to eat.
Not home enough anymore to make wine from them.
Our sand plums didn't make with the late freeze. Walked down to our small patch yesterday to see if any were on the bushes. Nada.
 

Ready_fire_aim

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Thats awesome joegrizzy! You’re inspiring me. The wife and I were just talking the other day about how we should make things with the mulberries this year. We have a ton of them around our property. They are more loaded with fruit this year than they’ve been in several years. Our apples, peaches, and apricots are looking great too! This looks like it’s going to be great year for fruit out here.

I’ll have to try some of your recommendations for the wines and such. Nothing like camping and fishing enjoying a homegrown drink!

We don’t have sand plumbs, but one of my favorite fishing spots is loaded with ‘em. Usually those aren’t ready until early/mid June if I remember correct
 

joegrizzy

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welp, got ~2 gallons going of a straight forward mulberry wine, and another 1.25~ or so gallons of mulberry wine using this indian recipe:



for anyone curious, i converted his measurements and recorded his recipe:
~1.5 - 2 lbs of mulberries (he stems SOME of them, then stops caring lol. I read and read and read and long story short the stems are edible, but do contain heavy amounts of bitter tannins, i had a LOT of berries so i left them on)
3/4 - 1 lbs of sugar
4-5 cardamom pods
(i always break them open and just use the inside seeds, but he does break them open then toss the whole thing in. since we're going to be filtering i guess it doesn't matter, but again, i just used the seeds since that's what i'm used to with indian cooking)
4-5 cloves (break them up or just toss them in; the top will powder and the stem will be muddled
some pieces of cinammon bark
1-2 rose petals
1 packet of yeast
(can't remember which number i used; i asked the guys at the store for a fruity wine and they picked it for me. they usually do; any red wine yeast or champagne yeast would work great)
~3/4 - 1 gallon of water

here's my course of action for both batches (i use a pretty dang simple process, it's worked for me so far. i don't go nuts with "sterilizing" everything; not saying it won't happen and i'm knocking on wood, but very, VERY rarely have i come across anyone saying "this wine would have been great if only i had washed my spoon a few more times...."):

IF NOT USING A CAMPDEN TABLET (SOMETIMES I DO, SOMETIMES I DON'T. NOT SURE I HAVE MADE ENOUGH TELL A DIFFERENCE YET) THEN THIS IS A PERFECT TIME TO REHYDRATE YOUR YEAST. GET SOME "TEPID" WATER (I'VE READ THAT TAP IS JUST FINE SINCE IT CONTAINS MINERALS AND WHATNOT; IF IT SMELLS TO CHLORINATED OR OTHER CHEMICALLY SMELLS DON'T USE TAP. I USED SAM'S "PURIFIED" DRINKING WATER WITH ADDED MINERALS. WATER CHOICE SHOULDN'T MATTER MUCH; JUST SOMETHING THAT IS AROUND ~100 F. POUR YOUR PACKET OF YEAST INTO THIS SLIGHTLY WARMER THAN BODY TEMP WATER AND GIVE IT A STIR. MAKE SURE THE YEAST IS ALL DISSOLVED AND SET ASIDE WHILE YOU PREPARE THE REST.

IF USING A CAMPDEN TABLET, DO NOT PREPARE YOUR YEAST NOW; YOU WILL BE DOING THIS STEP THE FOLLOWING DAY

1) wash your berries by placing them in a big bowl of water. try your best to remove all bits of grass or leaves or other junk.
take your washed berries and put them into your washed fermentation chamber, can be an old glass or plastic bottle that's washed well; i use the cheap wine buckets you can buy from home brewing stores because they are cheap, good inert "food safe" plastic, have a great sealing lid, and a hole for an airlock. definitely recommended.

2) get yer clean potato masher and mash the berries up.
pour in your sugar and everything else EXCEPT THE YEAST (which you should be keeping in yer fridge).
some people dissolve the sugar in water first before adding; you can if you want, but i just dump it in and mash/stir until it's all dissolved in the mix.

3) after you've got your bucket of must all mixed up and mashed, you can decide if you want to campden tablet or not.
if so, crush up a campden tablet and put it in your mix. place your clean lid over your bucket and cover the hole loosely with something. you don't want to seal just yet; leave this loosely covered for 12-18-24 hours

if you don't care about wild yeasts or whatever (again, sometimes i do sometimes i don't; i'm testing either way), then go ahead and add your slurry of yeast. it should be clearly multiplying at this point, it may even be like a slight oatmeal consistency depending on how long it's been since you began the rehydration process.

most packets of yeast are for 1-5 gallons, and once you open the packet you pretty much have to use it; so use the whole thing. if you are making a few different types of wine; then mix up one batch of yeast and use it for your different brews. this is what i do; i cut it between a few buckets and so far no problems.

4) after adding the yeast, stir well with a clean spoon. seal your lid if using a wine bucket and place your dry airlock into the hole. then take off the cap to your airlock and fill the body with enough water to float the.....float i guess lol. if you fill your airlock with water, seal your bucket, then poke the airlock into the hole, the pressure will force water up through the body of the airlock and into the air chamber, which you DON'T want. so add a dry airlock last, then fill it with water.

if using a glass or plastic jug/bottle, place a balloon over the top. this is your airlock. some people poke a tiiiiiiny hole in the balloon. some people just leave it; since you are gonna be agitating/stirring the mix anyway you will be taking the balloon off daily. much easier to stir a bucket than a jug or bottle, but i suppose a gentle shake would suffice.

5) stir your buckets once a day, after the first day you should see bubbles coming up out of your airlock. your must should have frothy bubbles forming.

guys the smell of this wine is INCREDIBLE. i'm a huge fan of indian spices but holy crap the spices, the rose petals, the berries, DANG i wish i made more of this recipe lol. makes my normie bucket of wine smell like.....berries and sugar lol.

6) after 5-7 days, strain your must thru a cheesecloth or metal strainer. some people say to boil or steam the cheesecloth, but again i think most people take "cleanliness" a bit too far. *knocks on wood*

7) this is where the process can deviate. some people put the strained juice into a demijohn for secondary fermentation. heck you COULD drink it at this point, but you *probably* don't want to. (you will want to, but it will be better if you wait).

i personally just have extra buckets on hand; so i siphon/strain into a clean bucket, then siphon/strain once more back into the original bucket. i then seal this for 1-3 months, checking every now and then to stir and whatnot because i get curious lol. just watch the airlock and notice when the bubbles start to slow down and/or stop. there's probably still some yeast that could be activated by agitation, but you can start stealing sips at any point during this process. you can bottle pretty much whenever you want.

if you are concerned about yeast still be active, just bottle, cork/seal, and put the bottles in the fridge. that will kill any yeast off; you might get a bit of sediment (lees) at the bottom of your bottle; but it's totally fine to consume. or just leave that tiny bit at the bottom like i usually do lol.

that's pretty much it. there's obviously a lot more you could do, but that process seems to be fairly fool proof, simple, and so far for me has produced what i consider to be good wine.

if you want a more straightforward recipe; just omit the extra spices and use ~4 lbs of berries to 2.5 lbs of sugar. then use a gallon of water, everything else in the process stays the same.
 
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Ready_fire_aim

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Very nice! The kids and I collected mulberries today. Got 3lbs so far. Can’t wait to start a batch!

I haven’t made wine in years. I used to have airlocks and glass jugs and everything. But I gave it all away a few years ago. I plan to just do it ghetto style, in a gallon plastic water jug with a balloon on the top lol
 

joegrizzy

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it'll work! i think a lot of people take it way to seriously in regards to cleanliness and prep. maybe for a big batch of something you are trying to earn a living on or whatever sure, but a home brew? redneck away
 

Ready_fire_aim

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Well apparently we are the only ones here interested in making wine with foraged fruit haha!

I wanted to repost and let you know that you definitely inspired me. I have since ordered some glass carboys, airlocks, sanitizer, etc. basically your post about mulberry wine re-ignited my interest in homebrewing. I’m going to make some mead as well.

We have been getting tons of giant beautiful mulberries this year. I plan to pick a bunch of sand plums also when they’re ready.

The first batch of mulberry wine I started has been fermenting for a couple weeks. I’m about to rack it. I’ll probably give it a couple months before I try it
 

joegrizzy

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my batches have slowed in secondary a bit. the recent rains have made the berries HUUUUUUGE on the tree; they have doubled in size it seems overnight. i guess they might just be soaked, but they seem longer too.

so i guess i'm gonna have to get the ladder out and pick some more lol.
 

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