Cucumber Wine?

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wildhair

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Looks like it may be a banner year for my cucumbers. They are mostly a "burpless" variety and less bitter than a regular cuke. I couldn't find a recipe on Jack Keller's site but I found & stole this one from the Cap and Hare Homebrew club. Any suggested changes or opinions before I dive in? It says to slice the oranges and lemons, but I thought you shouldn't add the pith from citrus. Would it be better to use the zest and juice? I was also thinking of adding some lemongrass or lemon balm to the primary. Good idea or no?

Cucumber Wine

Cucumbers have a high water content, so be careful to not add too much water in the beginning.

Ingredients for one gallon
4 pounds cucumbers
3 campden tablets
2 oranges
2 lemons
7 cups sugar
pectic enzyme
nutrients
1 package wine yeast
water

Wash cucumbers. Leave skin on. Chop cucumbers and place in primary fermentor.

Wash oranges and lemons. Slice thinly and add to cucumbers. Stir in sugar and nutrients.

Pour 16 cups boiling water over mixture. Stir to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Add pectic enzyme.

The next day, check specific gravity -- it should be between 1.090 and 1.100. Add yeast. Stir daily for five days, until frothing stops.

Strain. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.

For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.

For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup dissoved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of syrup. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.

Variations

Instead of granulated sugar, try honey or brown sugar.
For a spiced wine, add 1 ounce fresh ginger root, sliced thin, to the water before boiling it. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes before pouring it over the cucumbers.
NOTE:

This recipe makes 1 gallon of wine. To make a larger batch of wine, just multiply all ingredients by the number of gallons you want EXCEPT the yeast. One packet of wine yeast is sufficient for up to 5 gallons of wine.

I found the same recipe on several forums. One mentioned that boiling water releases more pectin so they used cool water only. I do not remember using boiling water.

I am ready to make another batch since it will take a year to get to usable loveliness.
 

wineforfun

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Never made cucumber, but it does look interesting.

As for your lemon and orange concern, I would "peel" them and just add the rind, no pith. I just made a ginger wine that used lemons and oranges and that is how I did it. Took a vegetable peeler and peeled them, leaving the pith behind. Another option would be to zest them with a microplane. I just wanted more contact, that is why I peeled them.

Also, watch your hydrometer to know when to rack, etc. I would not just rack "when frothing stops" and "rack in three weeks" without knowing what my SG was.
 

wildhair

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Yep, I check the SG regularly in all my batches as well as the ph. Will apply what little I've learned in the last year to this. So many things to ferment, so little time.
 

wildhair

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On that same forum, several others posted on having made it and said was "cool and refreshing" among other positive comments. I assume that it's a white wine for drinking - don't see why you couldn't cook with it as well. I always cook with wine - some goes in the dish, some goes in me.
 

BernardSmith

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On that same forum, several others posted on having made it and said was "cool and refreshing" among other positive comments. I assume that it's a white wine for drinking - don't see why you couldn't cook with it as well. I always cook with wine - some goes in the dish, some goes in me.

:slpI guess I meant if it was only suitable for cooking and not for drinking. We cook with the wines I make but I think of them as drinking wines
 

fivebk

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I have made a Zucchini wine before and it came out good. It is a neutral wine with tons of body. I bottled some by itself and used some to blend with a mulberry wine.

BOB
 

wineforfun

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:slpI guess I meant if it was only suitable for cooking and not for drinking. We cook with the wines I make but I think of them as drinking wines

Bernard,
Now you have me curious, why would it only be suitable for cooking? Are you referring to something like the apple/jalapeno wine, when it ends up being too hot in the end to drink?
The cucumber wine sounds like a very light, refreshing summer wine, something along the line of a Pinot Grigio, etc.
 

Jericurl

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I have a similar mead planned using cucumber, lime, lemonbalm, and basil.

I wouldn't use brown sugar, or corn syrup in it, but everything else sounds good. Also I second doing zest only for citrus additions.

ETA: Do freeze the cucumbers first, then thaw. Also, make sure this is something you will be able to keep your temperatures cool on. I attempted a cucumber wine once and did not pay attention to my temps nor did I get the fruit out after several days. It was one of the nastiest things I've ever fermented.
 
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wildhair

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I would think brown sugar would be overpowering. Good to know on the temp. I don't think it will be problem - I often have to put my fermenter on a heating pad to keep the temp UP. I hadn't thought about freezing the cukes first - I thought they'd be plenty juicy w/o freezing. Maybe I'll try a batch both ways. Thanks,
 

wildhair

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I have a similar mead planned using cucumber, lime, lemonbalm, and basil.

That makes me think - I have both lemon and lime basil growing. Hmmmm...
 

BernardSmith

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Bernard,
Now you have me curious, why would it only be suitable for cooking? Are you referring to something like the apple/jalapeno wine, when it ends up being too hot in the end to drink?

Not so much hot but whether the flavor would be something that you would want to drink for pleasure or whether the flavors would be only good enough for a sauce or a reduction of some kind. In other words, might this be great in a salad with cilantro and za'atar but pretty awful to sip while relaxing on the deck on a summer's evening:b
 

wineforfun

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Not so much hot but whether the flavor would be something that you would want to drink for pleasure or whether the flavors would be only good enough for a sauce or a reduction of some kind. In other words, might this be great in a salad with cilantro and za'atar but pretty awful to sip while relaxing on the deck on a summer's evening:b

I gotcha.

I think it would be fine, if you are a cucumber person. My first thought is something along the order of a savignon blanc.
There are a ton of cucumber drink recipes out there using gin, rum, etc.

I will be curious to hear back from wildhair.
 

wildhair

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Update - finally got around to starting this wine - lots of unexpected events in 2018 conspired against me.

Listening to advice here, plus my own ideas and never knowing when to leave well enough alone - here's what I did yesterday :

Cucumber Wine - 2 gallon
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
8 pounds cucumbers (burpless variety - sliced & quarted. Skins on)
2 gallons water
3 campden tablets
3 oranges- juice & zest
2 Meyer lemons - juice & zest
3 limes - juice & zest
1 cup Real-Lime juice (my wife likes cucumbers in lime juice)
2 oz Ginger root - peeled and sliced ( I like ginger :)
2t yeast nutrient
14 cups sugar

Tested ph @ 4.65 - so I added -
1t Acid blend
1t Citric acid
1T Bentonite

I put the cukes, ginger & zest in mesh bags. Mixed the water, sugar, dry ingredients - then added the cukes.

Tested today - Sg is 1.090, ph is 4.00 (I may need to add some lime juice or acid blend to get ph down, but I will check ph & TA post-ferment and adjust if needed) Temp is 66.7 F.

Today - Added -
1 1/2 t - pectic enzyme (12 hrs after Campden).
1/2 t Tannin powder.

At 24 hrs after adding the Campden- I'll add the yeast.
Vintner's Harvest - SN9 is my choice. Ferments well at low temps, never gets stuck, low foaming, alcohol tolerant & adds body.

I plan to add some lime basil in the secondary and I'm thinking I might backsweeten with some Welches frozen White Grape Juice concentrate if it needs body.

Right now it smells great - nice cucumber aroma with hint of citrus. I'll pitch the yeast this afternoon.
Away we go.......... Input, suggestions,
 
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wildhair

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Update - fermented to 1.100, racked into secondary and added about a cup of lime basil (which I had vacuum sealed last year). I left it in there for 2 weeks, then racked again to get the basil out. Sg was at .988. Nice cucumber aroma and taste, lime/citrus still there. Added Sparkalloid because it was VERY cloudy. Took about 10 days, but is now very clear & a light yellow color.
 

wildhair

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I don't know yet - this is the first time I made it. I just racked it Sunday, hit it with k-meta and po.t sorbate and backsweetened (5.75 oz simple syrup per gal). It tasted a bit flabby, so I also added 1/2 t of tartaric acid per gal - that helped bring out the lime flavor and gave it some acidity. It has a light cucumber aroma and taste with a light lime/citrus note - very clean (??) taste. Tough to describe. I think it might be nice with fish or rice dishes.
Now to let it sit for several months before bottling.
 
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