Today I would like to inform you of something and then confess something.
I know how to make homemade wine. This is not the confession. This is the information.
Making wine at home is simple. Juice + Yeast +Time = Wine. I decided to try making wine about a decade ago and I was pretty good at it. I studied it voraciously and within a couple of months I was overrun with cases of strange fruit wines ranging from lime to apple cinnamon to jalapeno. I didn’t even really drink wine. I just liked the science of making it.
There are different strains of yeast. Some yeast is resistant to high alcohol content and allows fermentation to continue until the wine is very nearly port. Some yeast is weaker and used for lower alcohol drinks like beers. Some wines can be made from natural yeasts that exist on the skin of the grapes. Some specialized strains of yeast are transferred from each batch of wine to a new batch of pressed juices. Companies base their entire recipe around the unique flavors that their yeasts produce.
Knowing how to make wine isn’t that difficult or special. In fact, prisoners in jails often try to make an alcoholic beverage by storing juice in a container, like a soda bottle, and covering the top with a balloon with small holes poked in the skin. This allows carbon dioxide to collect as the natural yeast turns sugars from the juice into alcohol and thereby produce CO2 as a by-product. Ingenious really.
Some nights the kids make me wish I still made wine in the garage.
They were in rare form tonight. Prima told me that I have man boobs and they are droopy. I love my children so much.
They also didn’t want to eat dinner but kept sneaking into the kitchen to steal some corn chips and ended up eating the entire bag. They were laughing about it the entire time. Then they were thirsty.
Prima asked, “Can we have some Gatorade.”
“No you can have some juice.”
I don’t like them having lots of sugar so we mix up juice in a plastic dispenser that holds about two gallons. We cut the juice down with some water. The container has a little nozzle that dispenses the juice. If we don’t leave the lid off to allow air into the container then suction will stop the juice from flowing out.
Prima replied, “I don’t want the juice.”
“But you drink juice all the time”, I argued.
She made a sour face, “That juice doesn’t taste right.”
“I WANT SOME!” insisted Lady Bug.
I remembered something. Another delicacy that we store in our refrigerator is grapes. As I mentioned earlier, grapes carry natural yeasts on their skins. I began to piece together a Perry Mason worthy mystery.
We have… (1) Large container of juice + Grapes stored above it + an unsecured lid + a couple of days = oh boy…
I went to the kitchen and pulled out the juice container. There was a nice light layer of yeast settled on the bottom of the container and the fresh yeasty waft of fermentation.
No wonder they have been little terrors. Toddlers act like drunk people anyway. It’s like putting a microphone near a speaker. That was the confession.
If you have ever accidentally made jailhouse hooch and served it to your children, this post is for you. You’re welcome. If it helps, I did some quick calculation and found that the actual potential alcohol is very low. Not zero but low. We have altered our juice storage policy including time frame. It doesn’t really make me feel better but what can you do?
-Underdaddy to the rescue.