Steam Juicer/Quantities of Juice for Wine?

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wyogal

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So I have so many 5 lb bags of chokecherries in the freezer that I finally bought a steam juicer on Amazon.

I have always processed chokecherries in the same way my grandmother did it: Fill the stock pot half full, add water until it was about 1" below the height of the chokecherries, just so you can barely see the water. Cook gently for about 10-15 minutes until skins break. Put everything into a muslin bag & hang overnight to extract the juice. No mashing, squeezing, just draining. 5 lbs of chokecherries this method yields not quite a quart of juice.

So on Saturday I processed 15 lbs of chokecherries in the steam juicer in about 4 hours. 15 pounds gave 4 & 1/2 quarts of juice, much better yield, and faster. The clarity of the juice is about the same, more or less. I canned the juice and am planning to let it settle out before using for jelly, wine, or cordial.

Of course the steaming ruins the pectin in the chokecherries, but for jelly it is always a hit-and-miss proposition anyway.

For the wine I have always used 3-5 lbs per gallon whole chokecherries in a mesh bag to make a must & added water.

So the question is, how many quarts of juice per gallon for wine? There is no added water in this juice. Anyone have any ideas?
 

mikewatkins727

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There are a couple of thoughts on this; one I have heard is use straight juice for wine but then there are recipes out there using 2 to 8 pounds per gallon. If I were in your shoes, I'd taste the juice and decide from that. What I would lean towards is this: test the juice (TA, pH & specific gravity). Make any adjustments and add sugar for a potential alcohol around 12%. Whatever volume I attain from adding sugar is what I would ferment.

Here is Jack Keller's web site: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/chokech.asp

There are a lot of people who check out his recipes and read his advice and suggestions. I am one of those people. This is a great hobby and we all do a bit of experimentation here. Please check out what others have to say.

Mike
 

BernardSmith

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Never made wine from chokecherries but I agree with Mike. Taste the juice. If it seems far too acidic then you may want to dilute it a little. If the juice tastes very drinkable as juice then diluting the juice would seem to me to be self defeating. I would check the pH only if you are concerned that the level of acidity is too high for the yeast and as for TA unless you are aiming for a specific TA your taste-buds are a far more useful instrument than the pH meter (a pH of 8.2 , I think, is is the point at which the color will change if you are using a TA kit. In other words, you can use a pH meter to check TA and pH)
 

wyogal

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Thanks, guys. This seems like very good common sense advice. I will definitely follow it.
 

Arne

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So, you took a sample of the juice. Did you find out why they call them chokecherries?? Last batch of chokecherries I made was with 36 lbs. of berries, added 10 gal. of water. Made a decent to me tasting wine, plenty of fruit there. Got done fermenting that and started a second 5 gal. batch on the skins. It came out with plenty of flavor. Arne.
 

wyogal

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Hey Arne! Great to hear from you again. Yes of course I know why they're called chokecherries. I've been making jelly & syrup for many, many years. My g-mother taught me.

I've made 2 batches of Chokecherry wine, both with whole berries in a bag, submerged and squished by hand for the must. Both are very good table red. I used 3-4 lbs chokecherries per gallon, adding water as necessary.

So the difference this time is I have this new steam juicer, so I'm wondering how much juice to use per gallon.

When I prepared juice manually for jelly, I would put the ccherries into a pan, add water until it was just visible, cook for about 15 min, and then strain through cheesecloth over night. This produced about 3c juice for five pounds of ccherries.

The steam juicer yields almost 2X as much juice as the traditional method. So I'm trying to figure in my brain how much of this juice per gallon, considering that I'm not using the skins/pulp, and that the steamer may have added some liquid?

What do you think?
 

Arne

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If you are getting twice the juice, probably can make 2 gal. from the same amount of fruit instead of just one gal. Add the juice, add the water and add a bit of sugar to bring the s.g. up to 1.010 or so. Now taste it and see how strong the fruit flavor is. If ok, bring the s.g. up to 1.085 or whatever you use and get it fermenting. Arne.
 
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