Here is a sweet, slightly alcoholic fruit wine ideal for those hot summer days. Choose seasonal, ripe and semi-ripe fruits with some acidity, which will improve the mix.
Makes 3 litres (105 fl oz/12 cups) Ready in 4–6 days
660 g (1 lb 7 oz/3 cups) raw sugar
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) lightly brewed black tea
2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) ripe unblemished peaches, stones removed and quartered
2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) ripe unblemished apricots, stones removed and quartered
2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) filtered water
Combine the sugar and strained tea in a non-reactive bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Take a wide, deep crock or bowl, which will hold the fruit leaving stirring space, and add the fresh peaches and apricots. Pour the sweet tea over the fruit and stir in the water.
Cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and leave in a cool spot for 4–5 days. As frequently as possible, during each day (5–6 times or more), stir the liquid using a wooden spoon to create a swirling vortex, then change direction and repeat. (Stirring this way helps to draw air into the liquid and encourages yeast activity.)
At day 3 or 4 the mix should be bubbling, and around day 6 or so it should seriously bubble and froth. Keep stirring and smelling for another couple of days, watching to see when the froth subsides, indicating that fermentation has slowed right down. Trust your nose; if it smells fruity and delectable don’t wait for it to improve, move to the next stage. Strain the mix through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing as much of the liquid from the fruit as possible. Decant the strained fruit wine into swing-top bottles and chill in the fridge.
This is best consumed within 1–2 weeks. Open daily to avoid overly boisterous effervescence.
Images and recipes from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, RPR $45.00) Photography by Ben Dearnley