Pumpkin wine is one of the more or less successful varieties of homemade vegetable wine beverages. It is characterized by a persistent aroma of fruits and slightly bitter taste. This wine will be liked by connoisseurs of new, incomparable tastes.
Any type of pumpkin can be used for winemaking. Wine color depends on the color of the pumpkin pulp. Gather ripe pumpkins of medium size and remove spoiled, rotten and moldy parts.
All tools and containers should be sterilized with boiling water or in any other way in order to avoid mold and other problems. You should handle the must only with clean hands.
- Pumpkin – 6.6 lbs/3 kilos
- Water – 3 liters
- Sugar – 10.5 oz/300 gr per liter of water
- Citric acid– 0.2 oz/5 gr per liter of water
- Unwashed raisins (for a ferment) – 2 oz/50 gr or wine yeast per 5 liters of the must
Unwashed raisins are used as a source of wild wine yeast. Adding conventional baker’s (dry, pressed) or distillers yeast is not an option as instead of wine you’ll end up with home-brew with a characteristic taste and smell.
Citric acid is required to stabilize the acidity of the must. Thanks to it the wine ferments better, gets less exposed to pathogenic microorganisms, its shelf life is increased, and it becomes much tastier. To maintain proper sugar content (it must not exceed 20%) we’ll add sugar in equal parts.
Pumpkin Wine Recipe
- If you don’t have any cultivated wine yeast you can prepare a ferment 3-4 days prior to working with pumpkins: put raisins in a jar, add 15-20 grams of sugar and 150 ml of water. Mix, cover with a gauge, transfer the jar to a dark place with a room temperature.
After 2-3 days the ferment will be ready: there will be foam on its surface, a hissing sound and discreet scent of fermentation. If you don’t see that occurring this means that raisins have been treated with preservative too heavily. You’ll have to buy new raisins and start all over. You can also replace raisins with unwashed fresh raspberries, currants or cherries.
- Wash the pumpkin, peel it, remove the core and seeds.
- Grate the peeled pulp with a fine grater, pass through a meat grinder or grind in any other way to the state of mashed potatoes.
- In a wide container—an enamel bucket or saucepan—dilute the mashed pulp by half with water (1:1 ratio), add the ferment (along with raisins) or wine yeast to the must. Add 0.2 oz/5 grams of citric acid and 35 oz/100 grams of sugar per liter of water. Stir to a homogeneous consistency.
- Cover the container with a gauge and transfer it to a dark place with a room temperature. Leave it for 4 days. You should notice foaming in first days which indicates the onset of fermentation. Mix it with a hand or wooden stick once in every 8-12 hours to break and drown a layer of pulp.
- Strain the must through 3-4 layers of gauze, squeeze the pulp well (you won’t need it anymore). Add the second portion of sugar to the obtained juice—35 oz/100 grams per liter of water added at the 4th step. Mix it.
- Pour the juice into a fermentation vessel. Fill it up to 75% of its volume, leaving some space for foam and carbon dioxide. Attach a water seal of any design to the neck. You can use a medical glove with a hole in a finger.
Pumpkin win with homemade airlock from a cork and tube
An example of fermentation under a glove (Homemade airlock)
- Transfer the must to a dark place (or just cover it) with a stable temperature of 18-27°C.
- 5 days after the water seal has been installed add the remaining sugar—35 oz/100 grams per 1 liter of water. To do this open the vessel, pour 250-300 ml of the fermenting juice separately, dilute sugar, and then pour the obtained syrup back into the fermentation vessel, and close it with a water seal without stirring.
Depending on the temperature and yeast, the fermentation period of homemade pumpkin wine is 25-55 days. Signs of the end of the process: the water seal no longer emits gas (the glove gets deflated), the beverage gets brighter, there’s a layer of sediment on the bottom.
If fermentation still goes on after 45 days from the starting point you should drain the pumpkin wine from the sediment through a tube, then let it ferment at the same temperature to prevent the occurrence of bitterness.
- After the fermentation has stopped, drain the young wine through a tube into another container. Give it a taste. You can sweeten it with sugar. You can also add alcohol (vodka) in an amount of 2-15% of the volume.
- Bottle the wine for storing, seal tightly. Put in a refrigerator or cellar with a temperature of 5-16°C for at least 5 months (preferably 6-9 months) for aging. Aging improves the taste of wine.
It’s better to fill the bottles to the brim to exclude any contact with oxygen. If at the previous step you sweetened the wine during the first 7-10 days of aging keep the bottles with water seals on in case of repeated fermentation.
- If there’s a 1.5-2 inches/4-5 cm layer of sediment filter the wine by pouring it into another container (first once every 10-15 days, then less often). When the sediment no longer appears the pumpkin wine is ready. You can bottle the beverage and seal it tightly.
After bentonite fining and 8 months of aging
Shelf life is up to 3 years, 10-12% ABV. The approximate yield is 60-65% of the initial must volume (7th step).