Joan Bittner Fry

The following recipes, or receipts, are given as found in “my stuff.” Many were handwritten; others came from old books. Most recipes for wine follow one model. Clean the berries, blossoms, fruit, or any other edible to be used. Bring to a boil for a while, cool, and set until fermenting is complete. In the days of these recipes, wine-making was for anyone. Nowadays, special kits and equipment are available, all of which sound very sterile.

Many containers exploded from bottling before fermentation was complete.  I’ll bet you’ve heard those stories, too.  A long time ago, my neighbor and I made rose petal wine. At the time, my father-in-law proclaimed that it was a lady’s wine. I took that as a compliment.

Dandelion Blossom Wine

2 quarts dandelion blossoms

1 gallon boiling water

½ yeast cake

1 orange

1 lemon

4 pounds white sugar

Pour boiling water over blossoms. Let stand 24 hours. Strain. Add sugar. Stir thoroughly. Warm slightly, then add yeast. Slice lemon and orange and add to mixture.  Let set 6 or 8 weeks.  Strain, bottle and seal.

Dandelion wine is used a great deal for the kidneys.

Dandeline Wine

(1972 Mrs. Geesaman)

I remember the Geesamans providing communion wine for Jacob’s Church.

1 gallon dandeline blossoms

Pour 1 gallon boiling water over the blossoms.  Let stand overnight.

Strain in the morning and add 4 lb. sugar, 2 slices lemon and 1 yeast cake.

Mix all together and let stand for 10 days.  Put in bottles and let ferment.

Blackberry Wine

When blackberry season is at hand, we furnish a simple receipt for making the wine that is as good as any of the complicated ones requiring so many strainings, such a variety of spices, and so much time in filling up the cask or stone jug during the process of fermentation. First, the blackberries should be fresh and perfectly ripe. Then, to every gallon well-bruised berries, add one quart of boiling water. Let the mixture stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Then strain off into a clean cask or stone jug according to the quantity, adding two pounds of good brown sugar to each gallon of the liquor. Cork tight immediately and let it stand until October. The wine will be perfectly delicious. The mace, nutmeg, cloves, white of eggs, and other things so often recommended are totally unnecessary and the wine of this simple process is much the best. If the maker of the wine is too impatient to wait until October, have a jug set aside to begin on in a month, but it will be found that the October jug or cask will make the lips smack the most. The best wine is made from berries when the season is going out. They are sweeter.

Grape Wine

4 pounds sugar

1 ½ quarts grapes

Fill gallon container with water and let work 10 days. Makes 1 gallon.

Apricot Wine

1 lb. dried apricots                        2 sliced oranges

2 ¼ cups brown sugar                  6 ½ cups white sugar

2 sliced lemons                             1 tablespoon ginger

4 quarts hot water             1 package yeast

1 ½ cups raisins

Chop apricots and put in large crock. Add hot water, sugars, fruit, raisins, and ginger. Then add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Cover top loosely and let stand for 2 weeks, stirring occasionally. After fermentation ceases, strain first through a colander, then a cloth, and bottle.

Unfermented Grape Juice: The Fairfield Favorite Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of the Mite Society of The Lutheran Church, Fairfield, PA. Rev. C. L. Ritter, Pastor, 1904

Press out the juice from grapes without mashing the seeds, adding water one pint and sugar one-half pound for each pint of juice; then boil a few minutes, skimming any sediment or scum that rises, and bottling while hot, corking tightly.  Cutting off the corks and dipping the tops into wax and keeping in a dry cool place gives a wine that no one would object to.  It is in every way suitable for communion, as it is not intoxicating.

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