Poison cactus pear wine

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DizzyIzzy

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Thanks Dawg and Franc. Yes I used a pear burner to burn off the glochids. I thought I may get be the hero of the season with family by making some good wine for them.
The first five gallon batch I gave my brother and his son a glass before I figured it was the wine had made me sick. My brother went to emergency that night. He thought he had contacted Covid. Son had the same reaction I had. Im sure not the hero with those guys!
I poured out the ten gallons and started ten more thinking the grinder had crushed the seeds and somehow released a poison. I used a different fruit prep. I just crushed the fruit and strained the juice.
It’s in the second fermenters now but I’m afraid of it.
You can bet when I try this batch I will try only a half oz to see what effect it has on me.
Prickly pear grows around here in abundance. Iv’e used it for years for jelly and syrup without issue.
The wine had a great color, smell and taste.
I’ll post how this batch turns out.
Again thanks for your reply. Ken
I don't know whether you are courageous or foolish to try it again. If it were me I could contact the local health department or county extension agent and ask their advice. Good luck......................................................................................DizzyIzzy
 

Ken Paw Paw

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Guess I’m foolish or maybe hardheaded. But your advise is good. Making some pineapple wine starting tomorrow. If I can’t get for sure answers on the cactus pear, I’m done with them. No one seems to know much about them but every part of the plant is edible is what the internet says. Thanks for your input Dizzy. I’ve sent some of the juice to a couple of WT members. Waiting on their reply’s. Thanks again for your post.
 

NoQuarter

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Guess I’m foolish or maybe hardheaded. But your advise is good. Making some pineapple wine starting tomorrow. If I can’t get for sure answers on the cactus pear, I’m done with them. No one seems to know much about them but every part of the plant is edible is what the internet says. Thanks for your input Dizzy. I’ve sent some of the juice to a couple of WT members. Waiting on their reply’s. Thanks again for your post.
Had 2 glasses last night. Quite good, a little thin, maybe be a little glycerin needed. Color of pink lemonade. 1 year old. I'm still thinking your PH let some bad boys grow? Think I'll add some sultanas or maybe even some bananas this to me for more body.
 

Ken Paw Paw

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Thanks for your post NoQuarter. I messed up some how. I’m glad yours turned out well so maybe there’s hope out there. Everyone in the know thinks it’s the pH. I can fix that.
I’ll have to dump this last ten gallon batch. Breaks my heart because it does taste very good. Thanks again
 

Rice_Guy

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FYI: the juice from CACTUS PEARs.
first of all this is an exceptionally intense beautiful red/ clean juice. Flavor as sent is hard to describe, green vegetable notes/ not fruity. It will make a neat wine!
6313698E-14A8-455E-AFE2-C88E07BA0B10.jpeg
Gravity . .1.026
pH . . . . . 4.69
TA . . . . . .0.12%
C24B9342-210B-4BBE-A56F-C31B24D329EC.jpeg
your question about a recipe ,, how much acid for a cactus pear wine?
. . . suggested target for a country wine . . . .

pH 3.2 to 3.6 with a TA of 0.65 to 0.75% , , , a dry wine
pH 3.0 to 3.5 with a TA of 0.7 to 0.85%, , , , a sweet table wine
* acid is roughly 4 grams per level teaspoonful therefore I would add at least four and likely as much as six teaspoons per gallon of this juice. ,,, add before you can the juice, the food plant rules are if the pH is below 4.0 you could use a boiling water bath.
* metabisulphite in the primary I use up to .2 gram per gallon and racking 0.1 gram per gallon, (a Campden tablet is also metabisulphite and is good for a five or six gallon carboy)
* sugar on this sample was approximately 6.25% and my goal would bring it up to a gravity of 1.090, AKA 25 or 26%
,,,, cactus is an interesting project ,,,,
 
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Ken Paw Paw

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Thanks I’m writing this down!
Learning more and more as I follow the threads.
Thanks again
 

Rice_Guy

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I was playing with the graphics program and the graphic above looks better on a log scale. The logic here is that pH is a measure of the log of the acid ion (hydronium) therefore it should be one log scale against another log scale.594C2F93-ED54-4D61-9ACB-486B1587DEE4.jpeg
 

Jarll5

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Did you figure out what was wrong? I drank some prickly pear wine yesterday and this happened to me last night!! I woke up at midnight with chills. And the at 3 am I woke up again with fever, aches, and chills. I thought for sure the Corona got me yet again. But I feel fine this morning after taking naproxen. Really weird…
 

Jarll5

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@Ken Paw Paw has not been on since April. however,,, As a food industry person I am interested in how the wine was put together. ,,, Where can you find it?

@Jarll5 . . . Hope that you are OK.
I honestly do not know. It was given to me. It is supposed to be good for diabetics to help lower blood sugars and A1C. The man that gave it to me swears by it! He is an older man and is very healthy. He takes no meds for his diabetes, just drinks this wine. I was sick that night but felt great by morning. And I went all day without taking meds for my diabetes. Very strange but the fever,chills,aches scared me!
 

Jarll5

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I just found out my Memaw makes this regularly. I will see if I can find out how she makes it. It would be an old country style way for sure.
 

KevinAZ

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Hey All,

Sorry to bump a nearly 1-year-old thread, but I think this is the right place to post my questions and experiences.

So I tried making prickly pear wine this year. I'm very new to winemaking and I know I made a few mistakes, but I think I recovered. Here's what happened:

  • I started out with 4.5 gallons of fruit (all from the same cactus believe it or not). I actually picked 8.5 gallons from this one cactus but gave the other 4 gallons to my Father-in-Law. He made juice by removing the seeds and scraping the skins. It was really good juice too!
  • I quartered the tunas and left the spines and skin on. I was planning on back-sweetening a little since the juice my FIL gave me tasted so much better with a tiny amount of sweetener in it.
  • I added 12 lbs of sugar, 4 gallons of water, 12 tsp Acid Blend, 1.5 tsp pectic enzyme, 4.5 tsp yeast energizer, *1.5 tsp K-Meta (I know I used too much, but thankfully the yeast started just fine), and then the next day I pitched in a packet of Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast.
  • I punched down once daily for about a week and then took it off the skins. * I forgot to sterilize the tool once before punching down too, but I did wash it every day immediately after use.
  • Let it sit for about 2 weeks to clear some and racked it again
  • Added Chitosan and Kitosel (Don't know how to spell those). I let the clearing chems do their thing and racked it again in about a week.
  • So now I'm thinking about back-sweetening and finishing the wine. I did some taste tests and decided on adding about 750ml of a prickly pear syrup they sell around here as the sweetener. So I added 3 tsp K-Sorbate and the syrup and let it set about another week. (The bottle of syrup ended up only being about 600ml, but I thought it'd still work). I also added about 25 ml of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. It worked well in the test, so why not?
  • On to bottling and trouble...
So here's where things didn't go as planned. *I started bottling and noticed that the wine was bubbling as it was put in via a vacuum pump. I thought this was weird since I'd kept the wine under negative pressure for weeks on end, but I bottled it anyway. When I was bottling it tasted different than when I tested it. The alcohol taste was much stronger and the prickly pear taste was weaker. I'm not sure if there was another chemical taste in there or not, but it wasn't the great thing I'd tasted a week before. So I think my syrup fermented. :( I had two large glasses during and after bottling and my wife had some too (not as much).

And that night, this past Sunday, I ended up in the ER. The only thing I had eaten differently than anyone else was the two large glasses of wine. I had uncontrollable chills, no fever, and ended up vomiting excessively. The ER didn't diagnose me with anything and just said to drink plenty of fluids and take some Tylenol and Ibuprofin together. I was out of work for two days and now I'm scared to drink the wine.

Sorry for the long posts, but I wanted to give accurate info up front to speed up the whole "Did you do this" part of asking a question.

Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks in advance for even just taking the time to read this, and even more if you respond.

Sincerely,
KevinAZ
-
 

Bliorg

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My dad lives in west central Texas. They have a bumper crop of prickly pear this year, and he's offering to get me as much juice as I'd like to make some wine. I think, after reading this thread, Imma pass on it for now. The repeated experience with it seems like the risk, until the kinks have been worked out, aren't worth it.

Am following this thread with interest.
 

franc1969

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There are a couple of things that may he going on with prickly pear wine, and it is hard to suss it all out without lots of specific detail on each batch (and human) with an issue. There's the issue of what the pH is of the juice, was there kmeta or other sulfur, aging, all that. Wine could have been made improperly, could be fine. Humans can be allergic to cactus or fruits, although more likely have a reaction to glochid hairs or spines. There's a question of which Opuntia species everyone is dealing with, and whether all compounds are the same. Several studies show prickly pear is a MAO inhibitor, which could pose an issue with tyramine- raises blood pressure and is found in aged foods and alcohol. Although I've seen websites claiming antihistamine action along with the antidiabetic action.
The symptoms of sudden high blood pressure are similar to what has been discussed here, but so are botulism and allergy symptoms.
 

Bliorg

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I was playing with the graphics program and the graphic above looks better on a log scale. The logic here is that pH is a measure of the log of the acid ion (hydronium) therefore it should be one log scale against another log scale.View attachment 69092
Am I reading this correctly, that with a starting pH of 4.69, and a target pH of 3.2, add 35 grams acid blend per gallon?

[EDIT] So, dad is sending me some juice. I *think* it was burned, peeled, mashed and strained - will have to get more detail on that. Not boiled, though. It's being frozen and shipped on dry ice. When I get it, it will go into the freezer until I have time and an idea what to do with it.

Have read a bunch of threads, on this site and others (like this'n), and aside from viscosity issues, no one reports any illness/sickness/reaction to it. I'm not sure what to think on this. But I'm thinking I'll end up simmering the thawed juice about 15 minutes in an attempt to mitigate the "sliminess" that some report, adjust pH to about 3.2, and probably base my recipe on the one linked above. As a starting point.

Still shaking my head on this...
 
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Rice_Guy

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Many fruits are fairly high in pectin and heating causes this to thicken. Testing one pear is worth while first, ,,, Humm, I might still have one cactus pear in the freezer.
. But I'm thinking I'll end up simmering the thawed juice about 15 minutes in an attempt to mitigate the "sliminess" that some report, adjust pH to about 3.2, and probably base my recipe on the one linked above. As a starting point.
this has been an interesting thread, fishing a bit in Texas A&M or university of Arizona food science ought to give some allergen info
 

Bliorg

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Many fruits are fairly high in pectin and heating causes this to thicken. Testing one pear is worth while first, ,,, Humm, I might still have one cactus pear in the freezer.

this has been an interesting thread, fishing a bit in Texas A&M or university of Arizona food science ought to give some allergen info
I'm a big fan of Ashley at PracticalSelfReliance.com. She doesn't quote sources, but is usually pretty spot on with her anecdotal information about preservation. She states (in this post about prickly pear jelly) that prickly pears do not naturally contain any pectin. There's some interesting stuff in there, too - boiling to juice, using lemon juice to bring the juice to a pH acceptable for canning, or just to bring out the flavor of the fruit. Some things to consider in formulating the wine.
 
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