Food Processor or No??

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I have always used a food processor to "process" my fruit a bit . . not a puree. but just to break it up a bit before putting it in a coarse mesh bag . . . Then reading Danger Dave's recipes . . he just puts the whole fruit in a fine nylon mesh bag and gives it a few squeezes . .

Thoughts?

Food processor with coarse mesh?

Or whole berries with fine mesh and squeeze?

Pros and Cons of each method?

Thanks :)
 

Raptor99

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It depends on the type of fruit. With softer fruits such as peaches, bartlett pears, blueberries, and raspberries, freezing them is enough. I thaw them and mash with a potato masher. They will turn into mush. No need for a food processor or hot water. But for cranberry wine, after freezing and thawing I use a food processor on rough chop setting to break the berries each into several pieces. They are too hard to mash with a potato masher.
 

BarrelMonkey

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I have always used a food processor to "process" my fruit a bit . . not a puree. but just to break it up a bit before putting it in a coarse mesh bag .
I think the key here is 'a bit'... I used a blender to crush up some elderberries last year but only with a very light touch. Positive: at least for smaller batches, you don't need to buy any fancy equipment over and above what you already have in the kitchen. Negative: if you overdo it you'll crush up the seeds and potentially release bitter, astringent flavors into your wine.

To be honest, this year I think I'll skip the blender and just go with the freeze/thaw method that others have mentioned. I freeze them anyway in order to destem the berries...
 

hounddawg

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Or another process, freeze that fruit, pour very hot water over it when you take it out of the freezer to break it down nearly instantly. With strawberries and some added tannin, I always felt like it helped to set the red color.
i have been reading several threads with vinters crafting strawberry, with pictures, and none of them is red, that kinda confuses me some every strawberry i make, even from the start ,, has a rich red color,, the best i can figure, is i always go at least triple on my fruits an/or berries, just wondering.
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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First - The type of fruit. hard or some semi-firm fruit, including peaches, can be tough to get to break down without some 'processing of some type. Freezing may work with some but with others like apples, you may have to resort to stronger process.
Second - Any method you use that uses high speed blades may induce pre-mature oxidation of the fruit, or browning of the fruit. Along with that there is the issue of seeds. While the seeds of some fruit or bitter or may even contain small amounts of arsenic, a lot depends on how you process them and how long they are in the wine must. As already mentioned bitterness can be released by seeds/pits too.

One way to look at this is to investigate how the fruit was processed before we had Blenders and Food processors. Apples were simply crushed and the seeds were left in the mix as the crushed apples were then pressed to get the juice. As long as you aren't chopping up the seeds/pits there is probably no problem with them being in the must for a limited amount of time.

Each fruit is different a no one answer works for everything.

Berries like blackberries, Blueberries Black or Red Raspberries, generally don't require freezing, some manual crushing may be all that's required and with Raspberries and Blackberries not even much of that. Elderberries - a whole different thing (Look up "Green Goo" to see what I mean) As I understand many folks use steam extraction and still have the messy green goo.

Wish we could offer simple answer but then where would the fun be in this hobby?
 

JBP

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Along these lines - I am about to thaw 4 pounds of rhubarb that I harvested, sliced and froze last summer to try a gallon of rhubarb wine. In retrospect, I don’t think I sliced the stems quite thin enough - many are closer to 3/4” slices. Wondering if this will be enough or if I need to process more? Was thinking about using slicer attachment on food processor, which would take them down to much thinner slices.
 

Rice_Guy

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@JBP , the blender creates fine particulates which makes cosmetic turbidity, for comparison an apple grinder will make turbidity like cider where as freeze then press is easier to make crystal clear wine. ,,,,, this is all cosmetic and doesn’t change taste
My rhubarb is up to an inch/ basically pie size chunks when I press it. The diameter of the press basket has more influence in speed of juice collection, ,,,, you could do tricks like cider with three to four inch layers and a solid or plastic screen between layers to speed juice, ,,, or the hydro press which cycles > mixes > cycles > mixes etc
 

JBP

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Thanks @Rice_Guy - very helpful. Sounds like my chunks are not too far off, so will continue as planned originally. Will put more thought into my pressing plan as I haven’t yet invested in a true wine press.
 

Rice_Guy

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Will put more thought into my pressing plan as I haven’t yet invested in a true wine press.
There are lots of variations on press on WMT, my basic press is several sizes of PVC pipe with a 600lb reverse acting bar clamp,, everyone with fruit needs a press! Several threads as:
you can limit the problem by slopping the press to that spot
I have a nylon 1/8 NPT barb fitting with a rubber washer, nylon nut and tubing on mine, this means I created a void volume which is fixed by periodically tipping forward. The tubing also acts as a simple valve, raise=off / down=open.
My next project is a versatile small grinder that can do gooseberry or crab apple (harder) or juneberry (softer) or even grape
 

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