Advise from a beginner wine maker — Go Bananas! So, you are probably thinking of a tropical fruit wine, right? Well actually, we’re making wine using our very own Potter County grown potatoes.
We have abundance of Russian Bananas fingerling potatoes, which we are making into a potato wine. The interesting thing about potato wine is that every time you boil a batch of potatoes for dinner, the potato cooking broth that usually gets poured down the drain is the part that is needed for the wine making. The cooked potatoes then can be use as they normally would as a food item. And, oh by the way, potato wine tastes fabulous. At least as good, if not better than, the potato salad.
In case anyone was wondering how Russian Bananas got their name, we have a hint. We have some nice ones, shown here. They could pass for banana slices — don’t you think? Look at before slicing photo — They look like a pile of bananas. These ones were harvested last October, and kept in our old-fashion root cellar, and have held up nicely. They had a few small sprouts starting, but are still very firm and very much useable.
Wine makers notes: To begin, we washed and peeled the potatoes, then we sliced them, and then boil them. Most recipes say to boil them whole and unpeeled. So why did we peel and slice them? To peel or not to peel, that is the question! We find that after long storage time, the Russian banana skins toughen. It is noticeable when they are boiled for potato salad, for example. When they are freshly dug or haven’t been in storage long, the skins are very tender and do not need peeling even if used in potato salad. It is only when they have been in storage for a long time that the skins become slightly tough. In this case, these potatoes are for dual purpose: Boiled to use potatoes for normal uses like potato salad, and we retain the cooking water (potato broth) for the wine making. So, we wanted the potatoes to be scrubbed for the wine-making recipe. And we also wanted in this case, that the potatoes be peeled and sliced for potato salad recipe.
We used Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast, Pectic Enzyme and yeast Energizer (nutrient booster). And, we are using 10-gallon stainless-steel milk can for the primary fermentation vessel. As of today, we have two wine musts in the works. And, the yeast has taken nicely as shown here with thick form layer on both of the musts. For secondary fermentation, we have some 5-gallon glass carboys with airlocks. And, we have a hydrometer and siphon tube at the ready for the next steps in the wine making process.