Making mango wine - how to make the best wine ever!
I was visiting family over the 4th and my sister @Selene Staehle and brother-in-law Guy were completely over abundant with mangoes. By the time I got there, Selene's freezers were full, the dehydrator had been going 24/7, and neighbors were running from them if they showed up with a bag.
The above photo is only a tiny fraction of what they were getting. Selene and Guy were harvesting up to 80 mangoes a day. And these are huge mangoes.
Trying to come up with another use for the fruit, Selene asked if I knew how to make wine. Even though she and I only drink alcohol rarely, there really was such an abundance of mangoes she was struggling for ways to preserve them. I told her even though I had only made several batches of wine I knew how to make fantastic wine. "Oh" she was excited.
My secret? Go to the local brew shop, buy the wine making kit, and follow directions exactly.
That's how you make great wine.
So we headed to the local brew shop, bought all the pieces including the books with directions and recipes. Then headed off to the grocery store to get the sugar and other bits. Guy is quite sharp with numbers and pointed out for the 20 or so bottles we could make with the 5 gallon kit each bottle of wine would cost us about $17. But we knew the wine would be 'clean' (the wine business is notorious for adding all kinds of chemicals into their brews). And then the next batches would be much cheaper as they had already invested in the equipment.
So Selene and I got to processing.
And I am proud to say I actually followed directions!
Selene pulled out of the kit this test tube looking thing and asked "what's this?" "Oh, it's a hydrometer" I said, "you use it to make sure you've got the right amount of sugar. But you really don't need it if you follow directions exactly".
Selene got a tad bit nervous about this "not exactly following directions exactly because we didn't measure the stuff" deviation on the plan. I explained that I had tested every batch in the past but found if I followed directions exactly with the quantity and timing of ingredients that it always came out in the correct range.
Selene still had the skepticism that most younger kids have of their somewhat over confident older sisters. So I pulled out the hydrometer and we tested the specific gravity of the batch. It's kind of a cool measurement device anyway. So it was also a bit of a review on basic chemistry and science.
And, as I had predicted, we were right in range.
Everyone was excited the project - including the local ants. Selene and Guy live in South Florida where there is no shortage of ants.... We put the big brewing bucket into a shallow pan full of water as an ant and insect trap and we very carefully cleaned everything to ensure it didn't smell appetizing to those critters.
But here it is bubbling away.
Oops, looks like in that photo we didn't have the trap fluids set. But yes, we did fix that...
So Selene is going to transfer this to the carboy in about a month and then the really hard part comes: waiting for five months more.
I'm figuring I'll have to come visit for Christmas when it's ready!
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