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Boiling water to set color of plum wine, or avoid it to prevent pectic haze?

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KCCam

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My niece needs to pick her plum trees clean so they don't attract the bears. Lucky for her she has an uncle that can use them! :b I hope to be getting 40 or 50 lbs.

I've read lots of posts saying you should never heat the fruit, as it activates the pectin and can cause issues clearing. Someone said this happens at 180°F, but when trying to research it, I keep coming up with jam and jelly articles explaining the high temperature and sugar concentration required for the preserve to set.

Almost without exception, the recipes I've come across say to pour boiling water over the fruit in the fermenter and then add sugar, or to boil the syrup then pour directly over the fruit. Occasionally the reason given is to set the color. I am more interested in a clear wine than a dark one, though with enough time, I'm sure the two are not mutually exclusive.

So the questions in my mind are:
  1. Is there an optimal, or minimum temperature required to set the color, or is simply "the hotter, the better"?
  2. Are there opinions on a safe temperature to stay below to reduce the potential of pectic haze? Has anyone actually tried side-by-side batches?
  3. Jack Keller's recipe (may he rest in peace) calls for 6 lbs per gallon. I've read his recipes tend to be on the light side for the amount of fruit called for. I'm curious if there's a consensus on how much wine 40 lbs of purple plums (with pits) would make. I know @Johnd and @hounddawg would be at the upper limit of lbs per gallon.
Thanks for any and all opinions.
 

cmason1957

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I've never made plum wine, but I know when I make strawberry, blackberry, or blueberry wine, I freeze the fruit, then mix up about a gallon or two of water with an slightly lower than expected amount of sugar and some lemon juice, heat to near boiling and invert the sugar. While it is still very, very hot, I pour that hot liquid over my fruit to help set the color, this is really important with strawberry or you end up with an orange wine. I also add tannin to help hold the color. oh and go heavy on pectic enzyme, it is something you can't add to much of.
 

salcoco

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I go along with the pectic enzyme as it breaks down the skins and like grapes the color of plum wine will be from the skins. i have made plum without heating water or sugar mixture and still had a good color.
 

Rice_Guy

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1) there is no minimum temperature for setting color. Color is an extraction from the skin as Craig noted.
2) the optimum temperature is as low as you can run. There will be some pectin which will mix into the liquid at room temperature. ,,, Pectin is a structural polymer and by mushing/ chopping/ pressing some will leave the cell wall. ,,, the change which happens with heat is that the folded structure opens up and binds water and the viscosity increases. Another way to say this is do you want a nice tight small sand like molecule to slowly settle or do you want to wait for an open syrup viscosity molecule to be chewed up by the enzyme.
3) if I had 40 pounds of plum, ,,,, I would first ask how many gallons do I want to make. I have grown peach which let me ferment close to straight peach juice. My plum is also comes off my tree and I combine it with more acidic fruit as joustaberry or rhubarb again making a very high solids/ high fruit aroma wine.
The last I ran was a five gallon carboy with 16 pounds (pits removed) mixed with 14 pounds of rhubarb and sugar and three pints of water, which looked like five gallons in the primary, ,,, however when pressed to pull the wine off it looked like four gallons so at that time I made the decision to add a gallon of sugar water mainly so the carboy was topped off.

conclusion: A guess is 90% yield produces 36 pounds without pits therefore it would fit in a 6 gallon at six pounds per gallon. (and with racking fit well into a 19 liter carboy)
 
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hounddawg

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plum 6 to 8 lb a gallon, everybody is different , if mine, and you do get close 50 lbs, I'd ferment 7 or 8 gallons of fluid, either water or apple juice, that gives you plenty to top off with at each racking, whew,, you set 1/2 or better back a couple years and talk about drinking heaven, let ripen till they start to get mushy over ripe, pop your pits out, I put in gallon freezer bag, as they will ripen at different rates, as each ripens and get slightly messy pit and put in the freezer bag adding more in freezer as you go along, when you have gotten all frozen, then set up to ferment, make sure you got plenty pectic enzyme, the slower it breaks down and clears the more flavor you get, I've never worried about color, only taste,
Dawg
 

KCCam

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plum 6 to 8 lb a gallon, everybody is different , if mine, and you do get close 50 lbs, I'd ferment 7 or 8 gallons of fluid, either water or apple juice, that gives you plenty to top off with at each racking, whew,, you set 1/2 or better back a couple years and talk about drinking heaven, let ripen till they start to get mushy over ripe, pop your pits out, I put in gallon freezer bag, as they will ripen at different rates, as each ripens and get slightly messy pit and put in the freezer bag adding more in freezer as you go along, when you have gotten all frozen, then set up to ferment, make sure you got plenty pectic enzyme, the slower it breaks down and clears the more flavor you get, I've never worried about color, only taste,
Dawg
Thanks for that. My niece lives 7 hours away and will be freezing the plums as she picks them. They may already be in the freezer. Didn’t occur to me to ask her to “step-freeze” them. Maybe next year. (Or it might not be too late for this year.) Will it be a problem freezing with the pits in?
 

Rice_Guy

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Listen to Dawg , , , lots of enzyme.
You want pits out before they are in the fermenter, pits will lower the quantity of juice you can squeeze out. They will get sweeter syrup like/ less acidic as they age, but we can add sugar or add acid to make fermentation targets.
.
Thanks for that. My niece lives 7 hours away and will be freezing the plums as she picks them. They may already be in the freezer. Didn’t occur to me to ask her to “step-freeze” them. Maybe next year. (Or it might not be too late for this year.) Will it be a problem freezing with the pits in?
 

kmk

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My niece needs to pick her plum trees clean so they don't attract the bears. Lucky for her she has an uncle that can use them! :b I hope to be getting 40 or 50 lbs.

I've read lots of posts saying you should never heat the fruit, as it activates the pectin and can cause issues clearing. Someone said this happens at 180°F, but when trying to research it, I keep coming up with jam and jelly articles explaining the high temperature and sugar concentration required for the preserve to set.

Almost without exception, the recipes I've come across say to pour boiling water over the fruit in the fermenter and then add sugar, or to boil the syrup then pour directly over the fruit. Occasionally the reason given is to set the color. I am more interested in a clear wine than a dark one, though with enough time, I'm sure the two are not mutually exclusive.

So the questions in my mind are:
  1. Is there an optimal, or minimum temperature required to set the color, or is simply "the hotter, the better"?
  2. Are there opinions on a safe temperature to stay below to reduce the potential of pectic haze? Has anyone actually tried side-by-side batches?
  3. Jack Keller's recipe (may he rest in peace) calls for 6 lbs per gallon. I've read his recipes tend to be on the light side for the amount of fruit called for. I'm curious if there's a consensus on how much wine 40 lbs of purple plums (with pits) would make. I know @Johnd and @hounddawg would be at the upper limit of lbs per gallon.
Thanks for any and all opinions.
I have seen a bear climb one of our apple trees and shake it, then climb down and munch. It's hilarious.
 

hounddawg

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Thanks for that. My niece lives 7 hours away and will be freezing the plums as she picks them. They may already be in the freezer. Didn’t occur to me to ask her to “step-freeze” them. Maybe next year. (Or it might not be too late for this year.) Will it be a problem freezing with the pits in?
nope not at all
Dawg
 

jackl

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I’ve used Jack Kellers recipe 3 times with Italian plums. I’ve followed it to a tee and while it takes time to clear, it does. I haven’t tasted my 2019 batch in a few months and its still in the carboy, but the previous batches were excellent and full bodied. In fact, my friend who owns a large winery on Seneca Lake in the Finger lakes said he’s sell it at his winery. It has a beautiful color. Now I thought the first batch was a bit strong so I did add a bit more water on the 2nd batch. Unfortunately I cant recall how much I made. I need to look at my notes.
 

Rice_Guy

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From a food industry point of view this means JUST good enough, not great
In fact, my friend who owns a large winery . . said . . he’s sell it at his winery.
in costing a product recipe salt at 10 cents per pound was the most cost effective seasoning, a lot better than roasted mushrooms at $5 per pound, ,,, and water is figured in as zero ,,, and if I wanted body stabilized starch is 28 cents
 
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