To make red dragon fruit wine, you only need a few simple ingredients.
- 1.5 kg red dragon fruit
- 1L water
- 300 gram sugar
- 10 gram salt
Also prepare a dark-color wine bottle to hold our mix during the fermenting process. If you have a clear color bottle, you can use aluminum foil to wrap around it to provide shade.
Here you see we don't use any additional yeast or yeast activator. But we'll be harnessing the microbes that are already existent on the dragon fruits and the air around.
Choose ripe or slightly over-ripe dragon fruits for best results. When cutting open the fruits, the just fills the air.
As an extra touch, you could use brown sugar or mineral salt. As they have not been highly processed, they still contain some minerals which are good food sources for the microbes.
A clean, chlorine-free water source will also make for a great-tasting wine at the end.
So let's see:
To Cut, To Blend Or To Juice the Dragon Fruits
If we cut the dragon fruit into pieces and throw them into our mix, wine can still be made; however, the goodness in the center of the piece may not get all extracted out (for bigger pieces with little surface area), leaving something left for us.
If we blend the fruits using a blender and use it , wine again can still be made; however, the pulp will remain in our end product. It is not big problem as you can totally filter it out later.
Here we will go the way of juicing the dragon fruits. If you use a juicer machine, although it requires some electricity, it helps separates out the juice and pulp. With the pulp collected, you could mix it into yogurt or with a banana (for sweetness as the pulp itself tastes quite bland). So nothing goes to waste.
With about 1.5 kg of dragon fruits, you'll get about 800 ml of juice.
For me, I don't have a juicer machine so I do it manually:
Quite some work, but you'll get some nice bicep workout.
And with that, we've just finished step 1 of our process!
When you have the juice ready, we can move on to step 2 which is:
Step 2: Boil Water, Mix in Salt & Sugar
Pour water into a cooking pot and put it on a boil. Then mix in the salt and sugar that we've prepared. After it is well dissolved and as the mixture is still on boil, you can pour the dragon fruit juice in.
Here in this step, we're just going to pasteurize the mixture real quick. So as you pour the dragon fruit juice in, stir it well (with a wooden spoon) one or two rounds, and lift the pot off the stove immediately. Too hot of a temperature may kill the microbes.
In mixture now, if you see some bubbles around the edges you can scope them them out. Off stove, stir the mixture a few more times so everything is well incorporated.
Then the final step is to:
Step 3: Bottle & Cap
It's time to bottle and cap it! When you bottle it, don't pour in too full. Leave some headspace so the microbes can breathe or bubble out in their first few days.
When you touch the bottle now, it will feel very hot. When you place your cheek near it (not recommended at this point), it may feel like burn a little bit. We will not cap the bottle when it is still hot. Wait for it to cool down a bit. Then when you place a side of your cheek near it and you feel it's just warm, then it is good for capping.
You can use the cap that comes with the bottle. Under the cap, there is a little rubber film to keep the air in. So it is very airtight and won't create any problems when we shake our solution.
With corks, during the first period it is not recommended to use. Because during the first period, we'll need to shake our bottle. When shaking like this, the liquid may come into contact with the cork, creating a risk of mold developing in it and thus our final product.
Although the type of wood they use for cork is oak usually, which has some mold-resistant properties, it is not recommended for our fermentation process. If you use cork cap, you can wrap some cling wrap around just to be sure.
If the bottle has no cap at all, you can use cling wrap to wrap tightly around the mouth. It will be fine.
What Will Happen Next: A Few Stages
Our fermentation process will go through a few stages.
Adaptation (24 Hours)
At first, the microbes will need some time to adapt to the new environment we've just made for them. So for the first 24 hours after bottling, just leave the bottle still as is and we don't do anything with it.
Multiplication (7-10 Days)
After adaptation, the yeast will come to the maximal growth period. This is when they'll grow a lot in number and need oxygen. So during this 7-10 day time, you can shake the bottle lightly once a day (about 30 sec) to give them the oxygen they need. Before shaking, open the cap and let the bottle sit in a still environment (no strong winds around) so the air movement can slow down a bit. Then close the cap and shake.
Stabilization (3-5 Weeks)
The next stage it comes to is stabilization. At this stage, we don't need to shake it any more. Just let the bottle sit still.
Here, the microbes will gradually consume the sugar & salt that we have provided for them. There will be a crowded number of microbes at this point and you may see little bubbles floating up through the glass bottle as they're eating.
This eating period can last for about 3-5 weeks. When the microbes have consumed all of the sugar & salt inside, they will gradually die off. Then our fermentation process begins the period of creating the wine and the aroma later on. What will be left for us is amazing wine and some bio-activators juiced out by the yeast.
When you take the bottle out and have a look after 3-5 weeks, you'll see the liquid inside is very clear. There is little to no bubbling going on. And a small layer of sediments at the bottom. The layer of sediment is some left-over pulp of the dragon fruit we put in & the yeast bodies.
This is a sign our main fermentation stages have come to an end. You could take the wine out and taste it at this point. But it won't taste very good yet, we'll need a little final step to kick things up a notch:
Extracting the Wine & Aging It
Extract the clear liquid to another dark color bottle and cap it. We can now begin counting the age of the wine. The more aged it is, the better the taste. The end product could hover around 10-15% ABV.
You could bury the bottle under ground where it's a bit moist and cool. On some occasions, take some out and treat your friends our special loved ones. It will taste absolutely incredible. Sweet, fruity, light and very refreshing.
3 Tips to Avoid Unwanted Contamination
- Pasteurize or steam your tools before making
- Don't make too much at once. Divide into smaller batches to reduce the open time span, thus lessens risk of contamination
- Make sure the space where you make it is dry and clean. Remove any potential contam agents.
It was fun learning how to make wine with you folks. Hope you'll have a great end product & Enjoy!
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