Monday, September 13, 2010

Watermelon Wine




I consider the watermelon to be a valuable and hugely underrated fruit that has been poorly exploited.  Its food value is surprising and its main difficulty has been a lack of effective preservation for a broader market.

To start with the seeded varieties are clearly the best product.  Further efforts may well bring alternatives up to that standard but it has not happened yet.

In the meantime we have a clear cut agricultural opportunity that has yet to be exploited. Ripe watermelon naturally provides several products.  They are as follows:
            Slices of ripe fruit that are immediately dehydrated and turned into a dry fruit product suitable for hand food.
            Separated and shredded ripe fruit from the seeds that is turned into fruit leather again for hand food.
            Seeds dried, hulled and roasted again for hand food mixes.  There are plenty of them and this justifies the effort.
            White rind that is cooked and candied as a sweet.  We have it and may as well make use of it.

The added value to the diet can be used to generate market share and we will not be relying on price or simple novelty.  The dry fruit alone could well match raisins in sweetness and be actually a better product.  If it becomes cheap enough it could be used as a natural sweetener in baked goods while also providing some texture.

It turns out that it can be used to produce an excellent wine.  I added an item on that at the end of this post that includes several recipes and lots of information.  Obviously if a serious operator decides to produce the products that I just described, there will be a huge amount of fruit to process and what better than to build it all around a wine making facility.  I suspect that these recipes will respond well to some inclusion of grape concentrate.


Watermelons: What happened to the seeds?

Watermelons with seeds are not as popular with consumers, so producers are growing more of the seedless fruits. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)


Washington Post Staff Writer 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010; 11:35 AM

In 1995, Jason Schayot set the world record for spitting a watermelon seed when he shot his tiny black bullet a whopping 75 feet, 2 inches, almost a quarter of a football field. It's a record that would be hard to beat. But Schayot might not have much competition anyway. Within a generation, most Americans won't even know that watermelons have seeds, let alone how to spit them.

According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, only 16 percent of watermelons sold in grocery stores have seeds, down from 42 percent in 2003. In California and the mid-South, home to the country's biggest watermelon farms, the latest figures are 8 and 13 percent, respectively. The numbers seem destined to tumble. Recently developed hybrids do not need seeded melons for pollination - more on that later - which liberates farmers from growing melons with spit-worthy seeds.
The iconic, black-studded watermelon wedge appears destined to become a slice of vanished Americana. If that sounds alarmist, try to remember the last time you had to spit out a grape seed.

The sea change is all in the service of convenience. "People don't eat watermelon out of hand like they used to. They like to eat it in fruit salads," said Robert Schueller, the public relations director for Melissa's Produce, a California distributor that sells only 10 percent of its watermelons with seeds. "It's a question of ease, time, and there's the safety factor. Kids could choke on the seeds."

You can't blame producers for giving people what they want, though as far as I can tell, childhood mortality rates remain unaffected by the type of watermelons for sale. Nor should we let nostalgia be an obstacle to progress. Seedless watermelons are easier to eat, and it's not only harried soccer moms who prefer them. Chefs such as Eric Ziebold atCityZen and Todd Gray of Equinox, both usually vocal proponents of heritage varietals, prefer seedless watermelons because they are more easily transformed into elegant cubes and fine dices.

Still, as the end of summer looms, I can't help but mourn the inevitable disappearance of the black-dotted red watermelon. In part, it is a wistfulness for a classic American fruit and its traditions. Without seeds, there can be no seed-spitting contests such as the one in Luling, Tex., home to an iconic watermelon water tower, or the one in Pardeeville, Wis., where the rules are strictly enforced: No professional tobacco spitters. Denture wearers must abide by the judge's decision if their teeth go farther than the seed.

Though there is some debate about it, the flavor of old-time watermelons might also be in jeopardy. And what a flavor to lose! In "Pudd'nhead Wilson," Mark Twain described the true Southern watermelon as "a boon apart . . . when one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat." Convenience, whether it's a smaller size, a fruit without seeds or year-round availability, always seems to extract a price. And if that sounds alarmist, try to remember the last great tomato you bought at a supermarket.

The watermelon, or Citrullus lanatus, belongs to a family of climbing vines that include cucumbers and gourds. And like all fruits, they naturally have seeds. The seedless versions are not genetically modified, as some might assume, but are hybrids that have been grown in the United States since the middle of the 20th century. Breeders match the pollen from a diploid plant, one that contains 22 chromosomes per cell, and the flower of a tetraploid plant, which contains 44 chromosomes per cell. The result is a triploid with 33 chromosomes that is incapable of producing seeds. (The tiny white ones you sometimes find are seed coats, where a seed did not mature.) Breeders call it the mule of the watermelon world.

When farmers first began growing seedless watermelons, they still needed seeded varieties to pollinate them. But that has changed, says Mark Arney, president of the watermelon board, who, for the record, has never spit a watermelon seed farther than 20 feet. Over the past five or six years, the same period when the share of seeded watermelons began to drop precipitously at grocery stores, farmers began using so-called non-bearing pollinators. In other words, instead of planting a percentage of their fields with old-fashioned watermelons to pollinate, they plant another hybrid that produces the flowers that bees need but no actual fruit.

I see the trend at local grocery stores. I haven't found any seeded melons at my local Safeway this summer or at the nearby Whole Foods Market, though a staff member there told me that they sometimes carry organic watermelons with seeds.

The most reliable place to find old-school watermelons is the farmers market. That is not because of any bias in favor of old-fashioned varieties. It's because seedless watermelons are more difficult and expensive to grow. Their seeds are most successful when germinated in a greenhouse rather than outdoors, and farmers must buy hybrid seeds for the pollinator plants. More than half of the watermelons grown at Montross, Va.-based Garner Produce, a regular at Washington markets, are seeded. At Spring Valley Farm and Orchard in Morgan, W.Va., 60 percent of the melons have seeds. "It's easier," said Joe Heischman, a co-manager of the farm. "But I think the seeded ones also taste better. When we put out samples of both, people always say the seeded ones are sweeter."

That Mark Twain's angels would reject seedless watermelons is a fairly widely held belief among the minority of shoppers who have given the subject any thought. "I find seedless creepy, bland and oddly textured - sort of mealy," said Colleen Levine, a 32-year-old government affairs consultant who writes the blog Foodietots.
"Maybe it's all in the name of convenience. But I would never trade flavor just so I didn't have to deal with seeds," agreed Lisa Feng, a health-policy researcher at George Washington University. "Thank goodness for international markets that still carry these 'burdensome' fruits."

I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of seeded, seedless, yellow and the newly popular "personal" watermelons from Melissa's Produce and one seeded melon from a local farmers market.

The local melon was the runaway favorite. "Crisp and sweet with more than just a sugar-water taste," said one tester. "Yum! Oh my god, yum," was the judgment of another.

But the rest of the results didn't prove much. The runner-up was a seedless personal melon, which was sweet and refreshing but lacked the concentrated flavor of the local melon. Next came the seedless red and yellow melons, which were inoffensive but whose primary asset was being cold on an August afternoon. Bringing up the rear was the California seeded melon, which was mealy and tasteless with more seeds than flesh, though in this case that wasn't a bad thing.

"It all depends on how it was grown and if it was picked when it was ripe," said Frank Stitt, chef at the Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Ala., and an evangelist for Southern food. "I have had some seedless watermelons that would rival traditional watermelon. However, it seems like the older varieties consistently have a little more intensity of flavor." At the Highlands, Stitt uses seeded watermelons.
Stitt says he isn't afraid that seeded varieties will disappear, at least in Alabama watermelon country. But he reckons that a greater public awareness of heirloom varieties could help reverse producers' relentless focus on convenience.

Stitt remembers eating rattlesnake watermelon when he was growing up, oblong fruits with light- and dark-green stripes, and sugar babies, smaller, round ones that are still common in markets today. There are a host of other heirloom varieties with romantic names, such as the white-fleshed Cream of Saskatchewan; Mountain Hoosier, which can grow to 75 pounds; and Charleston Gray, an old Southern favorite that is being revived by seed savers.

The strategy has worked wonders for tomatoes. Tasteless, round red ones still predominate at grocery stores, but the fashion for lumpy, mottled and striped tomatoeshas expanded the market and the plant breeders' race to develop a supermarket variety that actually tastes good. Are watermelons ready for a renaissance? Champion seed spitters of the future should spread the word.






Watermelon Wines

Special Recipe Collection

"Whenever I want to feel really beautiful, I help myself to a glass of 
Daddy's watermelon wine." 
One lady to another in Destrehan, Louisiana


For several years I chased a recipe for pure watermelon wine. I finally obtained one, but after making the wine I discarded it. It simply was an inferior wine by itself. It lacked body and was terribly thin. Further, the watermelon flavor, which is what I expected and wanted, did not survive fermentation very well. The taste was bland and very tired. It tasted similar to a soft drink that has gone flat. No--the soft drink would still taste better. The wine was such a disappointment that I refused to even share the recipe.

Then I tasted Paul Hanson's Watermelon Wine. It was heavenly. After repeated requests for the recipe, he finally confided that he had lifted it from a book entitled Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine, but added, "You have to start with a really good-tasting watermelon." I thanked him and made a note to obtain the book. I never saw it anywhere, and searches in several libraries proved futile. Not knowing who the author was or the publisher or the publication date, I couldn't even order it through inter-library loan services. Then one day I spotted it on eBay.com and obtained it for less than my maximum bid. There, on page 24, was the recipe I sought. You'll find it below with minor changes.

I now know the recipe I started with was not the sole culprit and my earlier bias against pure watermelon wine was mistaken. Most likely I had used a poor-quality watermelon in the making of my earlier wine and had thinned it out with too little juice and too much water. When I compare the earlier recipe with the one from Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (by Norma Jean and Carole Darden, New York: Doubleday and Company and Fawcett Crest Books, 1978 and 1980 respectively), there are only minor differences, but the major one is the use of 100% watermelon juice.

Between my first and second batches of watermelon wine, a period encompassing a number of years, I concentrated on recipes that complimented what I perceived were inherent weaknesses of "pure" watermelon wine with the addition of another fruit to give the wine body and additional flavor. These recipes produce incredible wines and certainly belong in every winemaker's recipe book.

I've included several such recipes below, including several never published anywhere before. Among them is my wife's favorite -- Watermelon-Mustang Grape Wine -- and my own personal favorite -- Watermelon-Dandelion Wine. These recipes should not be ignored. I believe each can be improved by increasing the volume of pure watermelon juice to the point where no water is used for topping up. Exactly how much that would require for each recipe has not yet been worked out, but someday....

Watermelon-Mustang Grape Wine is one of my most recent, although unplanned, creations. I was making Mustang Grape Wine and transferred the juice from the primary to a 6.5 gallon secondary, ending up with 1.5 quarts of juice left over. Not wanting it to go to waste, I poured it into a clean 1-gallon jug and looked for something to go with it. I opened the refrigerator and spotted a half of a large watermelon. I squeezed pieces of it through a funnel into the jug until I had almost a gallon of liquid. I checked the specific gravity, added sugar, and installed an airlock. I topped up in a few days and racked twice until bottling time, 8 months later. This wine was so good at bottling that I knew it would never age a year. This is now my wife's favorite wine and I'm making a larger (3-gallon) batch.

I know most of my readers don't live in Mustang Grape country, and so will never know what this exquisite wine tastes like. But if you live in the United States or Canada, there are most likely wild grapes growing not too far from you. Use them and make your own type of Watermelon-*Wild Grape* Wine. Your wild grapes may not be as acidic as Mustang Grapes, so add acid blend if needed. You'll also have to check the specific gravity and adjust the amount of added sugar accordingly. When you bottle it, write to me and tell me what you made, how you made it, and what it tastes like. I'll publish any recipes I can understand and that you say are worth passing on. Our native grapes beckon us to experiment, and what better way than to use them to fortify watermelon wine. I'd think that Concord, Niagara, Catawba, Mars, and many other cultivars with native grape ancestry would also make an excellent watermelon-grape wine. So the challenge is there for those adventurous enough to accept it.

Two last warnings. First, watermelon juice has a tendency to spoil and will do so before the wine reaches a preservative level of alcohol unless you use a very fast yeast--like Montrachet. One way to reduce spoilage is to put the primary in a refrigerator while waiting that initial 24 hours for the Campden to work, then make up a yeast starter to add to the must at the appropriate time. I myself have had batches spoil on me, so take precautions. Second, there are all levels of sweetness among watermelons. When I first used the recipe below for pure watermelon wine, it only took 5 pounds of sugar to reach 13% potential alcohol--way short of the 7-1/2 pounds suggested in the recipe. Another user only added 4½ pounds of sugar and ended up with a 14% alcohol wine. So press the juice from all the watermelons you're going to use and mix the juices well. Then float a hydrometer in it and use a hydrometer chart to determine exactly how much sugar you really need to add. Indeed, you should do this with all recipes where pressed juice is used.
And now, the recipes....

Watermelon Wine (makes 3 gallons)


  • 2-3 large watermelons
  • up to 7-1/2 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp acid blend
  • 2 crushed Campden tablet
  • 3 tsp yeast nutrient
  • packet Champagne yeast

Extract the juice from two or three large watermelons (2 gallons 3 quarts total juice), discarding pulp. Ideally, you'd like to end up with 2-3/4 gallons of pure juice. Measure 2 gal and 1 qt juice and put in primary. Set aside any residual juice in qt bottle(s) and store it in the refrigerator. To the primary add 7 lbs sugar [NOTE the warning at the end of the introduction, above, and determine exactly how much sugar your juice really needs], the acid blend and yeast nutrient and stir well to dissolve. Stir in crushed Campden tablets and cover primary with sterile cloth. Set aside 24 hours and sprinkle Champagne yeast on top of juice. When fermentation is evident, stir juice daily for seven days. Add remaining sugar [if needed] and stir to dissolve. Recover primary and set aside another 7 days without further stirring. Rack into 3-gallon secondary and fit airlock without topping up. Set aside for 10 days, top up with retained juice in refrigerator and set aside another 3 months. Drink or discard juice in refrigerator. Rack again and bottle if clear. If not clear, top up and refit airlock until crystal clear. Rack into bottles and age one year. [Adapted from Norma Jean and Carole Darden's Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine]

Watermelon-Peach Wine (makes 1 gallon)


  • 1 large watermelon
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/4 cup chopped raisins
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast

Extract the juice from watermelon and peaches, saving pulp. Boil pulp in one quart water for 1/2 hour then strain and add water to extracted juice. Allow to cool to lukewarm then add all ingredients except yeast to primary for a total of one gallon. Cover well with cloth and add yeast after 24 hours. Stir daily for 1 week and strain off raisins. Let stand additional 24 hours and rack. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and set aside for 4 weeks. Rack and set aside another 4 weeks, then rack again. Allow to clear, then rack final time and bottle. Allow 2 to 4 months before tasting. [Passed-on recipe, source unknown]



Watermelon-Strawberry Wine (makes 1 gallon)

  • 1 large watermelon
  • 2-3 lb fresh or frozen strawberries
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 lbs granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast
Extract and measure the juice of 1 large watermelon, placing 3 quarts in primary and the rest in a covered bottle in the refrigerator. Trim stems off strawberries, chop coarsely, mix in thinly grated rind of lemon, and tie inside nylon straining bag. In primary, squeeze strawberries and leave bag in juice. Add sugar, lemon juice and yeast nutrient and stir well to dissolve. Add crushed Campden tablet, cover primary and wait 12 hours. Stir in pectic enzyme, recover and wait another 12 hours. Add wine yeast and recover, stirring daily for 7 days. Squeeze strawberries gently to extract juice and discard pulp. Pour liquid into secondary and fit airlock. After fermentation dies down (5-7 days) top up with reserved watermelon juice in refrigerator. Ferment 30 days and rack into clean secondary, topping up with water or watermelon juice (only if fresh). Refit airlock and set aside until crystal clear. Rack into bottles and age 3-6 months. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Apricot Wine (makes 1 gallon)


  • 1 large watermelon
  • 8 apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped or minced golden raisins
  • juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 4 cups sugar
  • water to make 1 gallon
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast

Extract the juice from watermelon and apricots, saving pulp of both fruit. Pick out watermelon seeds and apricot stones from pulp. Boil pulp in one quart water for 1/2 hour then strain and add strained water to extracted juice. Allow to cool to lukewarm then add juice of lemon and orange and water to total one gallon and all other ingredients except yeast to primary fermentation vessel. Cover well with cloth and set aside 24 hours. Add yeast and recover. Stir daily for 1 week and strain off raisins. Let stand additional 24 hours and rack. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and set aside for 4 weeks. Rack and set aside another 4 weeks, then rack again. Allow to clear, then rack final time and bottle. Allow 6 months before tasting, but improves with age. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Elderberry Wine (makes 1 gallon)

  • 8-10 lb watermelon
  • 1/4 lb dried elderberries
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast
Cut the rind off of melon, cut melon into one-inch cubes, remove loose seeds, and put melon and any free juice in primary. Thinly grate the yellow rind off two lemons, then juice the lemons and add the juice and zest (gratings) to primary. Add dried elderberries, pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient. Add water if required to make up 1 gallon. Stir in sugar and stir well to dissolve. Cover primary with cloth, wait 12 hours and add wine yeast. Cover and ferment 3 days, stirring twice daily. Strain juice into secondary and fit airlock. Ferment 30 days and rack, topping up with water into which 1/3 cup sugar has been disolved. Add one crushed Campden tablet, refit airlock, and rack every 30 days for 6 months. Stabilize (1/4 tsp potassium sorbate and another crushed Campden tablet) about 10 days before bottling. Allow to age at least 6 months in bottles, but improves with additional age. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Dandelion Wine (makes 1 gallon)


  • 1 large watermelon
  • 3 cups dandelion petals
  • 1/4 cup chopped or minced golden raisins
  • juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Champagne or Sauterne wine yeast

Pick 500-600 dandelion flowers during late morning when fully open. Pluck petals, discarding all greenery from flowers and stems. Put petals in crock or bowl and pour 1 quart boiling water over them. Cover and allow to seep 3 days. Strain through nylon straining bag and set liquid aside. Extract the juice from watermelon. In primary, mix watermelon juice, dandelion flower-water, citrus juice, and enough water (if required) to raise total to 1 gallon. Add all other ingredients except yeast to primary fermentation vessel and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with cloth and set aside 24 hours. Add yeast, stir daily for 7-10 days and strain off raisins. Let stand additional 24 hours and rack. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and set aside for 4 weeks. Rack and set aside another 4 weeks, then rack again. Allow to clear, then rack final time and bottle. This is for a dry wine, but you may stabilize and sweeten to taste before bottling if you must. Allow to age one year. This is a delicate yet refreshing dry wine you'll want to save for very special occasions. It will store well for about 3 years, then deteriorate due to the absence of tannin. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Banana-Persimmon Wine (makes 1 gallon)


  • 1 large watermelon
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe persimmons
  • 1/4 cup chopped or minced golden raisins
  • 3/4 tsp acid blend
  • 3-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 pt water
  • 1 pectic enzyme
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast

Peel and thinly slice two very ripe bananas into 2 cups water. Bring water to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat, skim off scum and strain water into primary. Add pulp of two very ripe persimmons to primary, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool. Extract the juice from watermelon, discarding squeezed pulp. Add watermelon juice, chopped (or minced) raisins, sugar, acid blend, pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient and enough water to raise total volume to 1 gallon to primary. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover primary, wait 12 hours and add yeast. Stir daily for 7-10 days and strain off raisins and persimmon pulp. Let stand additional 24 hours and rack. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and set aside for 4 weeks. Rack, top up and set aside another 4 weeks, then rack again. Allow to clear, then rack again and age under airlock 4-6 months. Stabilize, wait 10 days, rack final time, sweeten to taste, and bottle. This wine must age an additional 6 months, but will take on a sherry-like quality if allowed to age a year. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Grape Wine (makes 1 gallon)

  • 8-10 lb watermelon
  • 3-1/2 lb fresh table red or green grapes
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 3-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast
Cut the rind off of melon, cut melon into one-inch cubes, remove loose seeds, and put melon and any free juice in primary. Thinly grate the yellow off two lemons, juice the lemons, and add the juice and zest (gratings) to primary. Separately, wash, destem, and crush the grapes well in a bowl. Add grapes and grape juice and crushed Campden tablet to primary. Add water if required to make up 3-3/4 quarts. Add sugar and stir well to dissolve. Cover primary with cloth, wait 12 hours and add pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient. After additional 12 hours add wine yeast. Cover and ferment 5-7 days, stirring daily. Strain juice into secondary through nylon straining bag, squeezing grapes hard to extract all juice. Fit airlock and ferment 30 days. Rack, top up, refit airlock, and repeat 30 days later. After additional 60 days, rack, top up, and stabilize (add 1/4 tsp potassium sorbate and another crushed Campden tablet). Wait 10 days, rack, sweeten to taste and bottle. Allow to age in bottles one year. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Grape Concentrate Wine (makes 1 gallon)

  • 6-8 lb watermelon
  • 12 oz white grape concentrate
  • water to make up 1 gallon
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Champagne or Sauterne wine yeast
Cut the rind off of melon, cut melon into one-inch cubes, remove loose seeds, and put melon and any free juice in primary. Thinly grate the yellow off two lemons, juice the lemons, and add the juice and zest (gratings) to primary. Add grape concentrate and crushed Campden tablet to primary. Add water to make up 3-3/4 quarts total liquid. Add sugar and stir well to dissolve. Cover primary with cloth, wait 24 hours and add yeast and yeast nutrient. Cover and ferment 5-7 days, stirring daily. Siphon off sediments into secondary, fit airlock and ferment 30 days. Rack, top up, refit airlock, and repeat 30 days later. After additional 60 days, rack, top up, and stabilize (add 1/4 tsp potassium sorbate and another crushed Campden tablet). Wait 10 days, rack, sweeten to taste and bottle. Allow to age in bottles 3 months to one year. [Author's recipe]

Watermelon-Mustang Grape Wine (makes 3 gallons)

  • 2-3 large watermelons
  • 10-12 lb Mustang grapes
  • up to 6 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 2 crushed Campden tablet
  • 3 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Montrachet or Pasteur Red wine yeast
Cut up meat of 2 or 3 watermelons, removing loose seeds. Put watermelon in nylon straining bag and squeeze vigorously to extract juice. Discard pulp and measure juice. Destem, wash and crush (or chop) mustang grapes, being careful not to crush or chop seeds. Put grapes and any free-flowing juice in primary with 2 gallons and 1 qt of watermelon juice (store leftover juice in bottle in refrigerator). Measure Specific Gravity and add enough sugar to achieve 1.095 minimum. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Stir in crushed Campden tablets, cover primary with cloth and set aside 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient and wait additional 12 hours. Add wine yeast, cover and ferment 7-8 days, stirring daily and "punching down" the cap. Strain juice into secondary through nylon straining bag, squeezing (or pressing) grapes hard to extract all juice from grapes. Fit airlock and when fermentation dies down (5-7 days) top up with reserved watermelon juice and ferment 30 days. Rack, top up, refit airlock, and repeat 30 days later. After additional 4-6 months, rack into bottles. Allow to age in bottles 3-6 months. [Author's recipe]

My thanks to all who have asked for watermelon wine recipes. I hope you will forgive my former refusal to give out a recipe for what I thought was an inferior wine. We live and learn....

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with you on the major difference between heirloom varieties, with seeds, and store bought varieties. Like every other type of produce for sell at major stores, the delicious flavors have been traded for uniformity and perfectly shaped fruit without seeds. I grow "ugly" heirloom varieties that have a taste superior than anything I have bought before. Will be trying the Watermelon wine recipe using my Blacktail Mountain watermelons!

Steve Berke said...

I enjoyed reading your work. I'll come back for more

Keep up the good work :) from TheStillery, a stuart bar in Florida

There was an error in this gadget