Cherry Zinfandel Wine

Well, I never planned to be a place to go to for recipes for anything.  But this recipe deserves to be out there on the internets!  It’s a lovely wine and you can get all the ingredients  and equipment on the internets, too.  :)

This makes a 3 gallon batch.  Although you may end up with a bit more than 3 gallons to start out.  That’s good, that gives you extra to top off when you rack it to get rid of sediment.  Just be sure to have suitable containers to hold it all.  If you need to know what all you need to start out you can check with your local home brew or wine making store.

So, are you ready for the recipe?  The most awesome homemade wine recipe ever?  You are?  Great!  Keep reading!

Vyxxan’s Original Cherry Zinfandel Wine Recipe

1 can Alexanders Sun Country Zinfandel Blush

1 can Vintners Harvest Cherry Puree

5 lb sugar

1 teaspoon acid blend

1 cup strong tea

1 tablespoon yeast nutrient

2 campden tablets, crushed and dissolved in 1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons bentonite (see how to use below)

1 pkg Pasteur Red Wine yeast

Good water.  I use tap water, but sometimes you need to use bottled water.  If your water stinks, use bottled water, okay?


Put the 5 lbs of sugar into a clean and sanitized food grade 6.5 gallon bucket.  Mix in the bentonite, dry.  Yes, I know this is against directions, but trust me, it’s easier.   Add in the other dry ingredients, too, except for the yeast.   When the bentonite is well mixed with the dry sugar, go ahead and add the juice and puree out of the cans.  Keep mixing and add the water.  You probably want to add water until you have about 4 gallons worth of mix.  Stir, stir, stir, and dissolve that sugar. Add the crushed campden tablets in their water and the cup of tea, too.  Keep stirring.  It takes a while to dissolve that much sugar.  Everything in the list above should be in the bucket now, except for the yeast!  Keep stirring, I know that sugar isn’t dissolved yet!  :)

Once the sugar is really dissolved, you can put a clean towel over the bucket.  But I actually just put a lid on with an air lock.  I do not like to take chances.  You need to let the campden tablets do their work for 24 hours or so… not only do they kill wild yeasts, but they get rid of the chlorine in the water.  This is good for your wine, so remember this step!

The next day you can pitch the yeast.  Maybe you don’t need to wait 24 hours, and with this recipe I don’t actually wait that long, but I want to put it out there for your next wine that may need it.  I do a lot of wines with home grown fruit and that all needs the 24 hour wait period.  Using sanitized and sulfited juices is different.  (augh, is that spelling right?)

Once your yeast is pitched you need a cover again… I still use a bucket lid and airlock.  With this recipe you probably don’t need to stir it every day because you used juice and puree and there is no floating fruit cap.  It can still have a vigorous ferment!  After 24 hours past pitching the yeast you should see a VIGOROUS bubbling out of the airlock and if you don’t it might be in too cold of a place.  I just ferment this stuff in the house.  In the kitchen, actually, where it’s nice and warm.  I only move to a cooler room after the first rack.  You do want to see bubbles after 24 hours, though.  And you should probably see bubbles for at least a week, okay?  AT Least a Week!  :)  Don’t try to hurry stuff!

After the must (the wine juice we’ve been talking about) has calmed down we need to rack it to a carboy for clearing.  I’ve found making wines that most of the fermenting happens in the first week or so… everything after that is just clearing.  But sometimes wines will still be foamy when you want to rack.  Let them wait until they are ready.  You don’ t want to rack a foamy wine into a glass bottle just because you won’t be able to get enough in there.  Trust me on this, you can have gallon jugs and wine bottles ready for that extra… but when it comes time to combine all those it’s a PITA!  You can’t get the auto siphon into a regular wine bottle so that is a waste of resources.  You can try to use a regular siphon and then realize fast why you don’t use that any more.  The whole point of siphoning is that you are leaving crud behind that you don’t want in your bottles, or really even in your secondary fermenter.  I let the most recent batch of Cherry Zin ferment for 2 weeks before racking again.  And most of it was nice and clear except where I bumped the bucket and sucked yeast and such out into my gallon jug.

So, at this point we should have nice clear wine, right?  This recipe, well, it clears fast because of not a lot of fruit pulp and that bentonite.  But we will wait another few weeks to see if it spits down any more sediment.  Rack again if needed, and top off with saved stuff (I’ve got a wine bottle full in the fridge).  If you can put the almost ready to bottle wine in a cooler area, that helps with clearing, or so I’ve heard.  This is my clearest wine to make so far, so I like it for that AND the flavor.

Now when we are ready to bottle, I like to sweeten this up a bit.  But I’m not going to do that again.  I can add sugar when I drink it… and that’s nicer for people that like dry wines.  This wine is plenty nice dry… it’s awesome dry.  But it’s also nice sweetened a bit, too.

Questions on how to do this actual recipe are welcome by email or the comment form.  Anyone else, do some research.  :)  Snarky, aren’t I?




Apple Pom Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly!

A good friend of mine bought some jelly somewhere and she loved it… and she wanted to clone it.   Well, she asked me to do it and I never even tasted the jelly but I thought I’d give it a go.

So, here is what I did:

5 cups fresh apple juice (although they call it cider, because it’s not filtered or preserved in any way)

2 cups Pomegranate juice (store bought: Pom Juice with no additives or sugar)

10 oz dried cranberries (I used two 5 oz pkgs of Craisins)(they have added sugar and oil, so not a good diet food)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

10 cups sugar

1 pouch liquid Certo

Put sugar in pan and then added the craisins, pom juice and apple cider.   Start stirring and then bring to a boil and cook until all the dried cranberries have plumped up.  Add Certo and boil for another 3 min.  I wanted to make sure it would set up, and I was worried so I checked it twice by dribbling a bit on a cold saucer.  It sets up just fine.  Just cook it plenty to plump up those dried cranberries.

Ladle into prepared jars etc, like you normally would do with jelly or jam.  The cranberries will float, so the last few jars may not have any in.  This recipe made 12 half pint jars and a little left in the pan!

How I would change this recipe:

Use more cranberries!  And chop the heck out of them first.  Oh, and then soak them in apple juice overnight to plump up.     Then I would measure the juice and cranberries to get a better idea of how much I was making.  I think I’d water down the fresh apple juice by about 1/3 and use more pomegranate juice, too.  Plus, because I didn’t know this was a Hot Pepper Jelly… I’d put in way more hot pepper flakes…. or just go down to my garden and get a couple red jalapenos.  I’d up the dried pepper flakes to at least 1 teaspoon, though.

When or IF I try this again, this is what I will do:

Big bag of generic dried cranberries, chopped  (I don’t remember the size but it was a nice big bag)

Apple juice to cover those and soak overnight, but no more than just to cover and soak.  Measure this and make sure it’s about 4 cups.  Then add a cup of water to thin out the apple juice a bit.

16 oz. Pom juice

1 teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes.

Sugar and pectin.  Sugar should be about 9 cups to 7 cups of fruit mix.  You can adjust but if you go way over it may not set.  If you use too much pectin with too little fruit mix, your jelly will be hard as a rock.  This is general for anything with apple juice, which has plenty of pectin.  I never do things in a small way… so this recipe will probably be a full case of half pints.

Measure apple/cran mix to be about 5 cups and add pom juice.  Add sugar to equal 2 cups more. (9 cups)  Bring to boil, cook until full rolling and add certo.  Boil until it tests to set, and then fill canning jars as usual and process etc.

Oh, and if you make this you HAVE to post back here how you liked it, if you liked it or not.  :)

Your mileage may vary, this may not pertain to you…  but if you make this and hate it, don’t come crying.




Oh, PS!  I think this will make a lovely ham glaze!



Grape Stomping!

These are gals I work with and they wanted to stomp grapes, so I let them.  :)  Frozen and then thawed grapes stomp pretty easily.




stomp4 stomp5






Finally something new!

Quick, before I head to bed. :)

I made a clock for my MIL Patsy back in May, and took it to her when I visited June 1. But I had a hard time with it… I got carried away with stickers and it looked like something a child would do. I had to do it over before it was acceptable to be a gift. Patsy still has the little CD dragonfly clock I made her years and years ago… it no longer works, but it goes with another wall decoration so well that it still is hanging. I was going to just replace the clock works, but I decided to make her a new clock.

Anyhow… photos please! This is of the first version, and missing quite a few stickers because I forgot to take a photo before starting to take it apart. Ugly!


Some bits I liked… like the one multi butterfly stamp I’ve had for years. I have LOTS of ink colors and how about just a giant flock of butterflies? So that’s what I did.


The whole clock set up was from a framed and glassed in clock that didn’t work… I repainted the frame and cleaned the whole thing up nice and replaced the clock works. On the back now is the stamping from the first version along with my little printing along the bottom with names and dates.

Oh, and I did the stamping on white mulberry paper with Brilliance ink and then adhered it to white painted fiberboard with Golden Gel Medium. That gel medium was the perfect thing to glue the paper down with.

Sorry I forgot to take any photos of the completed clock in the frame and all… but at least you get to see my infantile efforts at being an artist. :)


Spring Snow!

Crazy. Just absolutely crazy. Yes, it’s been some odd weather patterns this year, but still… not THIS odd. Hard freeze in early April after everything is growing? Yes, had that happen a few years ago. All the tree leaves turned black that year, and every wild animal that eats leaves was VERY hungry that spring. It all came back, though. Most trees can make a second set of leaves.

But snow in MAY? Not ever that anyone can remember, not here. Well, we got some. 2 to 3 inches in some places, and we were closer to 3. 8 miles south they barely had a dusting. I drove to work with snow all over my car and they had no snow at work.

I posted a photo similar to this on FB, but here for blog readers… :)


I was absolutely disgusted this morning. I was worried about my flowers: Peonies and such, I’m thinking they are gonna get clobbered by this wet heavy snow. But by afternoon only some patches of grass were still flattened. Everything seems fine, even my geranium in a pot by the front porch. Nothing really froze like if we had a week of that sub zero north wind.

Other news: the pink dogwood tree is DEAD. It was fine, with buds opening and now it’s just dead. The lady at one nursery told me they won’t sell them any more because they die… but I’ve seen mature ones around here in all their pink glory. We take good care of newly planted trees so I dunno what is up. Can’t find the receipt of course… or a replacement, either, from where we bought it. Dang it! If I can find one I’ll just put in another white dogwood I guess… but I really wanted a pink one for Sadie.

BunBun has tick fever, but good antibiotics will take care of that. It’s amazing how even just one dose of some doggy pain reliever and antibiotic will make a dog feel better. It’s like a different dog the next day… and yes, we know to give her all her meds. I was going to switch the dogs to a pill for fleas and such, but I didn’t know about a newer med that applies like TopSpot and also keeps all the internal vermin away. Plus that Trifexis stuff doesn’t do anything about ticks and that IS a bigger problem here than fleas or anything else. I’m not letting the dogs run off into the woods for hours anymore, either… never liked them to do that before and the cure is to leash one of them. The other dog gets to run free, but won’t go far without a partner in crime. :) Alternate them, so one pup gets a bit more exercise.

Anyhow. I blogged on my birthday but no one commented… which makes me think no one saw it, lol! Had a nice day, too, even if I was up early cleaning and cooking. Off now to find some dinner before I’m back here for chat in an hour or so…