Wednesday, 02 December 2015
Ask the Chuckster: What do I with too much fruit?
I’ve got more fruit than I know what to do with. Help!
Well we’ve got some black muscadine grape vines here in our neighborhood and last year in spite of the drought we had a heavy harvest. I had more than I could eat in a bowl in the kitchen and the fruit flies got to them. Fruit flies carry with them them wild yeasts that eat the sugars in the fruit and start to turn the fruit into vinegar. Since my muscadines had started to turn and were inoculated by the fruit flies I thought I would experiment with vinegar making.
I blended the muscadines up, put them in a large jar and filled the rest with water, (about half puree, half water). I put a cloth over the top with a rubber band around it to prevent anything falling in. And I let it sit on the counter. Pretty quickly all the beautiful red color leached out of the skins and into the liquid. The slowly, the vinegar mother started to form on top.
When it tastes right, I will strain out the fruit and rebottle it with some of the mother. Then I can use it for dressings, sauces and marinades or use it to make herbal medicines.
This is a great use of spoiled or damaged fruits that merits much more exploration. If you let the fruit go beyond ripe, that’s when the nutritional qualities and sugar content are at the maximum, meaning more food for the yeast. If you experiment, please let us know what you learn and how it turned out.