Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Notes on Sugar and Lemons

Sugar: Last year at various times I used organic sugar, organic maple sugar, commercial sugar, and honey. No longer being in a place like Stevens Point where the co-op was a few minutes' walk from our house, and being here where the co-op is fifteen miles off ... and where the organic sugar at the grocery stores is in pricey small packages ... I have resorted to grocery store, standard-grade sugar fairly often. (If I use gasoline to make a special trip to buy sugar at the co-op in Viroqua, I figure the special trip negates the positive qualities and impact of using organic sugar.)

My order of preferences is, in any case, organic sugar, cane or beet; cane sugar; beet sugar. The ordering reflects worries about the increasing possibility of GMO beet-growing. Using much organic maple sugar is not too much an option, given the price. I am undecided about honey -- but would like to experiment with it more.

This year, my cash flow may be such that I can invest in a large bag of organic sugar, which would eliminate further use of standard-grade.

If you follow the just-posted recipe for Wine 61, you might start at 4 lbs. sugar, which is closer to the sugaring level we used last year. I will note in another entry reasons for trying more sugar this time.

Lemons: On co-op trips I buy organic lemons by the bag. (I also sometimes use oranges or other citrus fruit in wines.) I chop them whole -- so the peel is definitely part of the mix.

Use of whole lemons is a Victorian element. While out of necessity I have used some standard citrus in wines, whenever feasible I use organic citrus. Five lemons in this batch is perhaps low; so in batches use more rather than less.

Cheers ...

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