Nevertheless, a craving for the sweet wine my parents made dominates me towards the end of every year. When it is time to think about X’mas and when it is time to relish fruit cake I miss the taste and smell of the of the wines my parents made each year with grapes, pineapple, cashew apples and beetroot. As part of starting our own X’mas traditions, year before last, me and CJJ set two batches of wine; one with Beetroot and another with Pineapple and this year, we tried with grapes and since it has turned out so well, I thought of sharing the recipe with you.
Recipe Source: Molly Joseph, Bangalore; published in Kerala Magazine, Vanitha, November 2007 issue. Original recipe has been halved to suit my needs.
- ½ kg dark blue or purple or black, seedless grapes (I used California grapes)
- 5 ½ (1 kg) cups sugar
- Half of one egg white, beaten
- 1tsp Yeast ( I use Fleischmann's active dry yeast)
- ¾ cup (125 gm) wheat kernels/Godhambu
- 19 cups water (2.25 litres), boiled and cooled completely
- Get an earthenware, Bharani or big glass/ ceramic jar /container thoroughly washed.
- Separate grapes from its stalks and wash nicely. With your hand, crush the grapes thoroughly till it starts releasing juice. Add all the other ingredients along with crushed grapes to the Bharani or big glass/ ceramic jar /container and close with the lid. You may place a large piece of cloth on top of the lid and tie it airtight.
- For the next 20 days, open the Bharani or big glass/ceramic jar /container everyday and stir well with a wooden spoon. The crushed grapes will remain floating on top for the first two weeks and by the end of third week, you will notice them setting to the bottom of the jar and settling on top of the wheat kernels.
- On the 21st day, strain the grape mixture using a muslin/cheese cloth or any thin cotton fabric; transfer the liquid to another Bharani or big glass or ceramic jar /container .
- After 2 days, you will notice sediments at the bottom of the jar; strain this again, using a muslin/cheese cloth or any thin cotton fabric and pour it into clean glass bottles. As the days go by you might notice some sediments at the bottom of the bottle too; so while pouring be careful not to disturb the clouded sediments settled at the bottom.
- In Kerala these wines are served along with a slice of fruit cake during the X’mas season but you can serve this as apéritif too. If taken in small amounts, it is also good for digestion after a festive meal.
I know many of you are busy with the last minute menu planning for the Thanksgiving dinner and it is too early to even think of X’mas but certain preparations like setting the wine and soaking fruits for the plum cake has to be done way in advance. So, those who have not yet soaked the fruits for fruit cake, please do it atleast this week. Last year, I had received lot of queries asking for the availability of tutti-frutti in US and I thought of making a small note here that it has started appearing in the baking aisles of the supermarkets and shops like, Walmart has set up an aisle specially for baking goods for the holiday season. Look for a brand called, SUN-RIPE fruit mix which is mix of candied orange and lemon peels, cherries et al. Those who are looking for the Kerala fruit cake recipe, please go through the recipe I have posted, in detail as well as the updates and the answers I have given in the comment section of the same post as I find it difficult to answer the same question again and again, which I have cleared for the previous readers. Still, if you have queries, please feel free to drop a line in the comment section, I am more than happy to help you :)