Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rhubarb Wine

A five-gallon crock ... plus just an awful lot of chopped rhubarb ... with the crock filled to maybe the four-gallon level.

With there being so much liquid within rhubarb stalks, I figured I might have enough to fill a three-gallon secondary fermenter.

Such was the volume of rhubarb remaining that I had enough for only two one-gallon secondaries, when I emptied the crock two days ago.

For this batch, I had only chopped the rhubarb, not crushing it with a rolling pin as I had last year. The rhubarb pieces were still holding onto a fair amount of liquid within them. By the simple expedient of leaving the chopped, fermented rhubarb in a stainless steel colander overnight, I might have managed to get some of that third gallon. I probably should have had our small fruit press ready, to crush out the remaining juices.

I did, at least, leave the pieces in our largest stainless steel bowl overnight. By morning, it was evident some liquid had settled out. So our refrigerator now has a quart jar of much-too-new rhubarb wine in it. Have I tasted the wine? Strangely enough, no.

I ate a piece of the rhubarb, though: crunchy, tangy. Yesterday was another unseasonable day -- still over 90 degrees after 5 p.m. ... in May! -- so that it was in the evening, some twenty hours after working on the wine, that I dumped the partially alcoholified rhubarb pieces in a patch of dirt that I had been preparing for some planting. Air temperatures had dipped below 90; humidity was such that I sweated away only half my body weight every fifteen minutes. I forked the rhubarb wine remains into the dirt: for were not the rhubarb pieces already biologically composted, to some degree? I plan to plant in that dirt some squash vines that were volunteers in our compost bin.

Cheers ...

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