Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recycling the dregs - blueberries go another round

We were wonderfully blessed earlier in the year with a 10kg block of blueberries! They were on trademe and advertised as good for wine, and implied that there were one large block. Turns out that they were free flow! So we have enjoyed eating them in many shapes and forms over winter and spring. After enjoying them in deserts, smoothies, pike-lets etc and to be honest were getting rather sick of them - I decided to make some blueberry wine.

Racked the wine about a week ago - this is when you siphon off the liquid and leave behind the dregs at the bottom, which are the dead yeast cells. I also leave my fruits/petals/leaves in the wine much longer than is typically done. Typically after 3-5 days the fruit matter is removed and the wine left to ferment. However I want to maximize nutrient retention in the wine. Hence I leave the fruit in until very close to bottling when I rack the wine.

The blueberries still looked like real blueberries when they came out. They were shrunken and looked a bit like sultanas as the sugar inside the fruit had been turned to alcohol. So I kept them after rinsing all the dregs off them. Putting them in the fridge thinking I must be able to use them. Unknown to me Tiffany then put them in the freezer. Last night I was searching through the freezer to use up any remaining frozen fruit, from last summers plenty, before fresh fruit becomes plentiful again. Noticed that there were 2 ice-cream punits full of blueberries. So taking on out I made blueberry and tamarilo crumble (well actually Tiffany makes the crumble bit) as well as blueberry/apple/quince crumble.

Tiffany mentioned while they were cooking that she had put the blueberries from the wine into the freezer. I realized at that point that I had used the fermented berries as they had looked a slightly different color and texture to the normal blueberries.

Fortunately they still tasted great. While cooking this gorgeous alcoholic aroma fulled the cooking. Not to much alcohol left after cooking and a nice subtle taste of Christmas pudding from the fermented ingredients. All in all a great recipe/concoction. We felt very proud to have reused a "waste" product. Might have to try that again with other "waste" material from wine making.

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