Pumpkin Wine, Part I

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.

Benjamin Franklin

My grandfather and Dad both brewed their own beer and wine, so last night I began following in their footsteps. Free people should brew their own hooch, drink it, and discuss ways to make government smaller and better as the bottles are drained!

We had several pumpkins left over from Halloween. We never got around to carving them up into jack o’lanterns, so they were still fresh and intact. Rather than toss them into the garbage or compost them,  we harvested the seeds and used the meat to make some home made pumpkin wine.

Preparing the seeds is a no-brainer; tear them out of the pumpkins, wash the pumpkin guts off of them, and let them dry on some paper bags overnight. There are many recipes for pumpkin seeds, but I simply put them on a baking pan and baked them for 25 minutes at 200 degrees. I seasoned them with a little salt and pepper, too.

We had several pumpkins, so I employed my wrecking crew to make short, messy work of them:

pumpkin-slaughter1

The Great Pumpkin Massacre of ’08!

The pumpkin slaughter was over in an hour or so, but it took all afternoon to clean up the aftermath!

Once we’d extracted the seeds, I proceeded to gather everything required for making my first batch of pumpkin wine.

ingredients Stockpot, bowl, primary fermenter, yeast, sugar, hydrometer, thermometer, raisins, pumpkin, and brew log

Here’s the recipe I followed to make 2 gallons of pumpkin wine:

Ingredients

1. 8 LBS of pumpkin meat, skin and seeds removed.

2. 2 Gallons of water

3. 1.25 LBS Raisins

4. 1 Tsp Acid Blend

5. 5 LBS Sugar

6. Red Star Montrachet Wine Yeast, 1 Packet.


Equipment *

1. 3 Gallon Stockpot

2. 7 Gallon Primary Fermenter with bung and airlock

3. Nylon mesh bag for must

4. Brewing Thermometer

5. Brewing Hydrometer

6. Brewing Log

*         So far, I have bought all of my brewing equipment and yeast online from Austin Homebrew Supply Company, and they are great!

I  placed the pumpkin meat and raisins in the mesh bag, put it in the bottom of the primary fermenter, and crushed the pumpkin meat/raisins by hand with a potato masher. I then boiled the water in my stockpot and dissolved the five pounds of sugar in it. Once the sugar dissolved, I poured the mixture into the stockpot, added the acid blend, and waited for the mixture to cool.

dsc04849 Pouring the sugar/water mix onto the must in the primary fermenter.

Once it cooled to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, I recorded the specific gravity of the mix (1.064), sealed the primary fermenter, and placed it in my basement. This morning I added the yeast and stirred it in. When I checked it a few hours ago the airlock was bubbling, so it looks like fermentation has begun.

dsc04895 Primary fermenter in the basement

I         I will stir the ingredients and check the specific gravity daily, and re-rack it in a few weeks. If all goes well, my family, friends and I will enjoy some delicious pumpkin wine next Halloween. This is my first batch of wine, so I am in uncharted territory. Stay tuned to see how things turn out!

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