Quantcast

Strawberry and Steam Juicer

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Jesse Brown

Junior
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
4
Location
Louisiana
Hello, All,

I'm a new member and new to the wine making community. I've done a lot of research concerning strawberry wine, but I'm having a little difficulty understanding a few things.

I recently did an experiment: I took 6 lbs of fresh strawberries, froze them over night, thawed them back out, and then put them in a press. I was able to extract 7 1/4 cups of juice. I took 6 lbs of strawberries from the same group, put them in a steam juicer and got 10 cups of really clear, very nice smelling juice. I then pressed the leftovers from the steamer and got another cup! Wow! The steam juicer appears to be much more efficient (and a heck of a lot faster!)

Most strawberry wine recipes that I read say to ferment in the primary with mashed berries (pulp and all) and then try to strain the liquid after 1 - 2 weeks of fermentation. It seems to me that this would expose the juice to lots of oxygen. Also, it's messy. Also, I'm guessing it takes a lot longer to clear up.

My question is: Is there any disadvantage to using straight juice from the steam juicer? Does the heat work some kind of bad magic and change the taste? Does fermenting with the pulp add some flavor that I'll be missing with the steamed juice?

If a recipe calls for 6 lbs of berries per gallon and fermenting with those whole berries (after smashing), then fermenting with 6 lbs of berries that has been steam juiced will ultimately give much more juice. Does this mean there will be too much strawberry taste in the wine?

Thanks for your help.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,341
Reaction score
1,823
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Strawberries are not a fruit that requires juicing before use.

Suggest you do some more reading - in particular about the fermentation process and the preparation of various fruits for wine making.
Not all fruit is prepared the same way - there really is not just one set/safe/best way to prepare fruit for wine making.

Fermentation produces a lot of CO2. When fermenting the majority of folks do so in a bucket with a cloth cover or the plastic lid just set on top (NOT SNAPPED DOWN) and a cloth cover over the top. The cloth cover prevents fruit flies and other critters from getting into the wine must and introducing bacteria or microbes that could ruin the wine. The amount of CO2 produced during all but the very last part of fermentation will form a protective blanket over the juice. Additionally some oxygen is helpful during the first hours of fermentation.

HEAT can destroy some aromas and other qualities of fruit = especially the more delicate fruits such as strawberries - so more folks just cut up and mash the fruit or freeze and then mash the fruit.
(This over the top but I compare heating fruit before wine making to potentially create changes like that differences between pot cooked green peas (Washed out grayish looking) compared to steamed green peas (Still bright green) more qualities are lost from the fresh fruit when subjected to unnecessary heat.) With some fruit the flavors are quite strong and steaming is the best practical way to extract the juice, but steaming the more delicate fruits is unnecessary.

As to the mess of the process of putting fruit in the fermentation bucket.... That's just part of the wine making process.
Many folks use mesh bags that contain the pulp, seeds and parts of fruit that don't break down. When fermentation is down to the last part (SG is down to 1.010 or lower) the bag is removed from the bucket and the wine is transferred (Racked) into a carboy to finish fermentation. At that point an airlock is used to allow gasses to be released and keep out oxygen and 'critters.' That transfer does what you expressed concern about - it reduces potential contact with oxygen as CO2 production diminishes.

As to quantity of fruit - more is better in most cases - with strawberries I would suggest using whatever amount it takes to get to at least 1.25 gallons of volume per gallon of desired finished wine. That helps reduce losses due to lees (Pulp and dead yeast) Some fruit will produce a great deal of lees up to 1/2 the starting volume in some cases so don't go short on fruit and aim high on the volume. Using as little water as possible is best in most cases although some fruit, like blueberries and elderberries are strong enough that some water is not going to dilute flavor.

Final notes: Don't start the process without a Hydormeter and better to also have a pH meter (Digital). TAKE notes about starting readings, what you add and what you see happening. We all learn from what we did in the past but sometimes our memory benefits from having good notes on what did or did not work before.
 
Last edited:

Jesse Brown

Junior
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
4
Location
Louisiana
fermenting the majority of folks do so in a bucket with a cloth cover or the plastic lid just set on top (NOT SNAPPED DOWN) and a cloth cover over the top.
That's what I've been doing, and you're right, it seems to work OK. However, I'm worried that after primary fermentation (let's say 70% or 80% of the sugar content is gone), I'm required to pull out a mesh bag containing a "mush" of strawberries and wine. I can guess it'll make a mess. Should I put it in a press to get as much juice out of it as possible? That's where I'm worried about getting exposure to oxygen. If I hang it for some period of time, I'll again be exposing it to oxygen. If I just throw away the mush, then I'm also throwing away lots of liquid. Am I worrying about the oxygen too much?

HEAT can destroy some aromas and other qualities of fruit
This is what I am worried about. In my research, I've seen a few folks complain that the steam juicer gives the final juice a "burnt" taste. However, I have not experienced this myself. Maybe the difference was that I was bottling the juice almost as fast as it was coming out of the juicer so it wasn't spending prolonged periods of time at the elevated heat. I'm just guessing. Regardless, the juice was REALLY red and REALLY clean and smelled and tasted REALLY good. After steam juicing, the remaining strawberries looked like a black and white photo. It was crazy how all of the color had been pulled out!!

My two reasons in contemplating using a steam juicer instead of simply crushing the berries is based on time and efficiency. Most of the other country fruit wines that I've made have been with the pulp, and I know that it takes significantly longer for these to clear up. It also appears from my early experiment that I'll get much more juice per pound of fruit with the steamer.

Note: Efficiency doesn't trump quality of final product. If my final wine isn't as good, then that's my last use of the steamer.

TAKE notes about starting readings, what you add and what you see happening.
Dang right! I've got Microsoft One note loaded up with all of my wine history and it's only getting bigger. :)

I appreciate the help.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,341
Reaction score
1,823
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Certainly minimizing exposure to oxygen is desirable but sometimes you just have to get the job done. I don't hang my bags to drip - I wash my hands and manually wring out the juice. On a few occasions I did leave the bag hanging after that but the amount of additional juice then was minimal - OH - but I got a first taste from that half oz that dripped so all was not lost.
Messes are part of this hobby. I've tried a press by the way and the time to sanitize the press before and then clean afterwards for me was pointless. My press sits in it's box barely used these days.
By the way that mush (At least from my peach wine) was great on vanilla ice cream as long as the yeasty smell and taste doesn't bother you. In fact that inspired me to make a Peach Vanilla Wine last year.

Using a juicer seems popular for some of the harder fruits but since I'm normally making 1-3 gallons at a time I haven't bothered to try it. I did purchase an Omega Juicer for apples and that worked great. Almost didn't make wine with the juice because it was so good. All that was left from that was almost cardboard consistency skins and pulp. Slow process but again for 1-3 gallons it works for me. That's what makes or breaks the deal for most folks - the effort required for the volume of wine they are making. If you are planning on making 10 -50 gallons at a time then you need the most efficient method within the budget you allow yourself. For smaller batches you can focus more on the quality if you have the time to devote to it. (Like standing in the kitchen cutting off the bug and bird bite spots on my apples before I fed them to my juicer. (I don't like to spray chemicals and bird netting my trees is not practical for me.)
Again different fruits easier or harder to deal with. Strawberries, other than the stems and core are pretty soft stuff. Apples very different. Blueberries barely need much more than crushing.

So I guess you have to find what works best for you BUT don't get to wrapped up in the oxygen exposure issue with the mesh bag or prep of the fruit. (Try keeping all the cut up apples from turning brown on you - even if you do the juicer produces a brown looking juice. I've even used a stainless steel strainer on the first racking to get more juice from the gross lees. It takes me about 20 minutes to strain the lees and get them back into a carboy, but I figure the oxygen exposure in 20 mins isn't worth worrying about.

Finally other than the negative attributes of stems, seeds and leaves in a wine must, leaving as much of the fruit intact will normally let you extract more of the flavors from the fruit - even if it's
'trapped' in that mesh bag.

Yeah other than the time it takes to record your notes, they prove invaluable down the road. Maybe I need to invest in a Speech to Text program. :slp
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,066
Reaction score
719
Location
Midwest
I recently did an experiment: I took 6 lbs of fresh strawberries, froze them over night, thawed them back out, and then put them in a press. I was able to extract 7 1/4 cups of juice. I took 6 lbs of strawberries from the same group, put them in a steam juicer and got 10 cups of really clear, very nice smelling juice.

It seems to me that this would expose the juice to lots of oxygen.

My question is: Is there any disadvantage to using straight juice from the steam juicer? Does the heat work some kind of bad magic and change the taste? Does fermenting with the pulp add some flavor that I'll be missing with the steamed juice?

Does this mean there will be too much strawberry taste in the wine?
.
scooter has covered the basics/ normal pretty well

* Strawberries are a delicate fruit, they will not survive much processing therefore the standard industry process is to clean/ stem them/ add sugar and then freeze or turn into jam etc. We worry about the flavor oxidizing and color loss. Yes heat degrades the flavor some. We will have a jam at 205F in a prep tank/ packaging line for an hour, , we try to minimize time. My impression is that industry treats cores and leaves as a cosmetic problem, not a flavor issue, and will include leaves if the product is called tea.
* Steam juicing should not hurt the quality much, you aren’t doing it that long and the pectin content of strawberry is fairly low. Heat will extract pectin so I wouldn’t use this method on a high pectin fruit as peach or apple.
* if you are making commercial wine you always add all the water you can get away with since water is the cheapest ingredient. If you are making a wine to show off or put in a contest more will ALWAYS do better, , with a few exceptions.
* Strawberries have a fairly low TA so the fruit is pleasing if eaten whole. The exception, , A fruit with a high TA as currents will do better if it is cut with water or other higher pH fruit (or even zucchini juice). To some extent we can compensate for high acid by adding sugar but most customers aren’t happy with straight current or rhurbarb juice, even after sugar.
* My wine quality improved when I started to take oxygen seriously. That noted the primary is releasing CO2 so it is a reductive atmosphere. Your exposure time is short (wine folks talk about months or weeks of age). You have a trade off how much degradation via heat via time via ppm of air. , , , so I think about how much time and then use the press for filtering

I like the experiment attitude. If we didn’t “play with our food” we would never have all time favorites as cool whip in my lifetime or spam in grandpa’s lifetime.
 

Stressbaby

Just a Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
2,078
Reaction score
830
I have a steam juicer and have used it a few times. My impression is that it adds water. I think that explains your volume differences.
 

Jesse Brown

Junior
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
4
Location
Louisiana
I have a steam juicer and have used it a few times. My impression is that it adds water. I think that explains your volume differences
I thought that too, but the juice from the steamer appeared "thicker" and the Brix level was equal or just a tad higher than the juice from the press. Tasted the same or maybe better (both were REALLY tart - surprise surprise). I'm not pro or anti steam juicer - I'm just trying to understand.

I like the experiment attitude. If we didn’t “play with our food” we would never have all time favorites as cool whip in my lifetime or spam in grandpa’s lifetime.
Thanks, Rice for the excellent information. I'm actually going to do 3 batches of strawberry wine - 1)pressed juice, 2) steamed juice, 3)primary fermentation with mashed berries.

I'll report back in, like, a year. ahahahahaa
 

porkchopmessiah

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
208
Reaction score
164
Location
north jersey
I think it over thinking this a bit....my first batch of wine ever was a strawberry...just get good fruit and follow the proper protocols for sanitation and racking and you'll have an excellent wine...I think your recipe is a little light on fruit.....i wouldn't use less than 16 lb for a 6 gal carboy....just an idea, but have you tried making dragons blood (see dragon blood thread) as a learning tool?
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,341
Reaction score
1,823
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Guess my approach is sort of Use ALL of the fruit if possible. Apples, Peaches etc - other than stems, pits or seeds use everything you can get into the bucket. With very fine seeded fruit like strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries Black Berries - I would use everything except stems. Most of it will break down and add flavor to wine. Taking time to core and juice or press strawberries seems like a lot of effort. Again no scientific basis for my process other than how one would eat the fruit.
 

Jesse Brown

Junior
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
4
Location
Louisiana
Final Testing Complete!!! All notes are for 1 gallon of wine

Batch #1
6 lbs of strawberry
Freeze strawberry
Thaw strawberry
Press strawberry to get 7 1/4 cup of juice
Add water to get a little over a gallon of liquid
Add sugar to get 22.5% brix
Add a touch of acid blend to get TA to 0.6%
EC 1118 Yeast

Batch #2
6 lbs of strawberry
put in steam juicer to get 10 cups of juice
pressed to get 1 additional cup of juice for total of 11 cups
Added water to get a little over a gallon of liquid
added sugar to get brix to 24.5%
Added acid blend to get 0.55% TA
EC 1118 Yeast

Batch #3
10 lbs of strawberry
did not add any water!!!
added 3/4 cup of banana juice
added sugar to get 23% brix
checked TA and it was at .65% - did not add acid blend
EC 1118 Yeast

Batch #4
6 lbs of strawberry
frozen
defrost
smashed
put into primary fermenter
added water to cover strawberries
Added sugar to get 25% brix
measured TA at 0.6% - did not add acid
EC 1118 yeast
This is the only batch that fermented on the fruit itself.
Squeezed bag to get a little over 1 gallon of liquid after fermentation.


On all batches, I added 1/2 cup of sugar to the 1 gallon of wine to "back sweeten" (after sorbate)
On all batches, I used a 1 micron filter before bottling
On all batches, I used k-meta as is common
On all batches, I used pectic enzyme
On all batches, I used vacuum to de-gas


Remember Fraise = strawberry

Results.....

Taste Test results of Fraise 1,2,3 and 4

Opened all 4 bottles and tested side by side

#1 had less color

#4 had strongest smell

#2 and #3 smelled the best

#3 was milder than 2

#1 tastes good but is a little thin or light

#4 has some harshnes

#2 is the best tasting

#3 is practically tied for 1st place

#1 was in 3rd place

#4 was last place

All were good and "acceptable", but #2 was best

upload_2019-10-6_19-50-12.jpeg

upload_2019-10-6_19-50-23.jpeg


Conclusion: The steam juicer was beneficial with strawberries to get the most juice. Because Fraise 2 and Fraise 3 were so close in taste, I'm assuming that 6 lbs of strawberries for 1 gallon is probably pretty good (assuming your juicing practices are efficient). In reality, I'd prefer to use 100% strawberry juice and not add any water, so I'm looking at 9 - 10 lbs of strawberry per gallon of wine.

I'll also say, that all of these were acceptable. #2 and #3 were better, but not but some huge margin. All 4 batches were VERY good. My wife loved it!!

When I make strawberry wine again, I will use the steam juicer followed with a press and use 100% juice (no water added). It seemed to work very well. I didn't get any of the "burnt" taste that people complain about, and it was cleaner and more precise that way.
 

Latest posts

Top