Winter Winemaking for Easy, Enjoyable Homemade Wines

We usually think of home winemaking as a summer or early fall project, primarily because that is the time of year when grapes, berries, fruit, and other country winemaking crops are being harvested. But the warmer months are certainly not the only time of year right for making homemade wine. In fact, for many of us, winter is a far better time for making simple, delicious country wines at home.

–> Make wine in winter when you have the TIME!
–> Frozen fruits and berries are excellent, easy winter winemakers.
–> Meads, metheglins, and melomels can be made fresh at any time of the year.

Why is Winemaking in Winter Better?

To be sure, winemaking is a great hobby any time of the year, and in-season when the produce is fresh can turn out some outstanding wine. But making wine in the winter is better for one major reason: In winter, we have time.

There’s really nothing like a good homegrown or locally-sourced crop of fruit or berries. The ripeness, the freshness, the variety, the flavor…it just can’t be beat. Even when preserved, these are characteristics that come through in your product. The fact that local and homegrown produce goes from vine to freezer (or whatever your preservation method of choice may be), means that the produce experiences less stress and degradation in its “travel” to you.

The problem that many of us have is that time is a very in-demand commodity in the warm months. Vacations, activities, pressing preserving of fruits and crops, so many other landscape and maintenance issues that demand our attention…it all adds up to finding yourself with many great options, the best of intentions, but only so much a body can do. Sometimes, something has to give.

In winter, though, we slow down. Sure, time is still a precious resource, but we seem to have more of it. Frankly, at this time of year we are more apt to want to spend it inside on a project of interest. And so, winter can be the perfect time to take on something like making easy, simple wines we can enjoy in just a few months and throughout the coming year.

What Produce is Best for Making Wine in Winter?

What holds a lot of people back from making wine in winter is that we think wine must be made with fresh fruit and produce. This really is not at all true. Yes, there are tastes and nuances that can only result from making wine with a product that just came out of the patch or vineyard, but there are also benefits to making wine from fresh-frozen, preserved fruits and berries:

  • Frozen produce is often higher in quality if it has been quickly prepped and preserved, especially as opposed to summer produce that has had to sit and wait for us to have the time to deal with it, and perhaps experienced a loss of quality in the meantime.
  • Frozen fruit can be easier to handle, because the freezing and thawing process actually does a lot of the work of crushing and preparing the produce for you.
  • Frozen fruit and produce, whether your own fresh-frozen harvest or frozen purchased at a local grocer, is already prepped, peeled, cleaned, and ready to go, making short work of putting a batch of homemade wine together.
  • Good fruit is readily available in both fresh and frozen forms at local grocery stores throughout the winter months.
  • With the variety of produce available through good grocers, you can make wine out of all sorts of fruit and produce, including some that you might not otherwise be able to grow or access locally.

More Than Just Fruit Wine

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that winter winemaking is limited to only frozen fruits, though. Many things are excellent winter winemakers; top of the list is, in fact, one of the easiest possible things you can make wine from, straight from Mother Nature’s most ambitious of helpers:

Homegrown Honey for wine

Honey is PERFECT for Winter Winemaking!

• Honey! Mead is wine made from honey and is quite possibly the BEST ingredient to make real, natural wine in the winter, solely for the reason that there is no difference between fresh-harvested honey or honey you tap a month or two or three later. Mead (honey wine) can be made very sweet or just barely so, and so can easily be made to your own taste when you make your own.
• Flavored meads are also perfect for winter winemaking. Technically called melomels (mead flavored with fruit) or metheglins (herbed/spiced meads), nicely-balanced flavored meads can be made with ingredients such as dried elderberry or elderflower, citrus, spices, apples, berries, or other frozen or fresh fruits of virtually any imaginable variety.
• Frozen or preserved fruit juices you may have put up earlier in the year are also ideal for making wine in the winter. Maybe you put a little something aside to enjoy later? Or prepped some juice that you never had time to make into jelly? That juice is just the perfect thing to make a homemade wine with!

What Other Options are there for Winter Winemaking?

But wait, there’s more!

Yes, there are still other products and ingredients that you can use for winemaking in the off-season. These are ingredients you can find readily either at your local grocery store or through winemaking suppliers, online and off:

• Juice from concentrate. Yes, you can actually make some fun homemade wines with frozen juice concentrate from the freezer section of your grocery store.
• Vintners juice. Vintners’ juice is concentrated fruit juice designed for winemaking. It is sold in bulk sizes ideal for making wine at home, and is a perfect base for making wine in the winter. You can add fresh or dried fruits or berries to vintner’s juice to make a more robust and flavorful wine, or you can simply add ingredients to the juice to ferment it.
• Rehydrated dried fruit and juice. Similar to how you might rehydrate a dried fruit or berry for cooking or juice-making (such as for elderberry syrup from dehydrated fruit), you can make a juice from dried fruit or berries and then add the necessary ingredients to ferment that juice into wine. It’s a fair option that works best for smaller batches (around one gallon). The juice can benefit from further flavoring by adding more dried ingredient into the batch when preparing for the first fermentation.

Is Making Homemade Wine Hard?

In a word? No. But it’s easy to see why home winemaking has that reputation.

The reason?

Winemaking has entered into some very scientific fields, both commercially and for home winemakers. But the truth is that it does not need to be as complicated as it often is. It is very possible to take home winemaking back to the basics the way many generations did before us—before all the added sulfites, preservatives, and chemical profiling. You just need a good resource that steps back from the “rules” of today, and gets you back to good, basic home wine making.

easy home winemaking

There are many good resources online, and a few good books on the subject. In Wine Making Made Easy: How to Make Easy Homemade Wines from Grapes, Fruit & More, you will find instructions and recipes for cheap, easy home winemaking without over-investing in equipment, and without getting overwhelmed with the process (in fact, much or all of what you need you may already have at home!). It’s good, honest home winemaking, taken back to the basics for good, honest, cleaner, preservative-free wine.

Pick up a copy today, and enjoy your new winter winemaking hobby!

New Book! Easy Homemade Bread – No Stand Mixer Needed!

Quick-Time Homemade Bread Easy bread recipes
Now Available in Paperback and on Kindle – Easy, faster yeast bread recipes, no stand mixer needed, Excellent NO KNEAD BREAD RECIPES!

ORDER NOW in PAPERBACK or KINDLE

Now Available: Quick-Time Homemade Bread and Pastries: Real Homemade Yeast Breads, Rolls, and Doughs Made Simple, In Less Time

Another new release! This is the book that makes bread-making easy for those who do not have a stand mixer. The same great time-saving ingredients and technique as the Daily Bread series, without the need for costly large stand mixers (much as we love them, they are pricy!).

This is also a book for those looking for new instant-yeast bread recipes and for those looking for no-knead bread recipes–quite possibly the best and EASIEST bread you could ever bake!


Good bread isn’t especially hard to make, but it does take time. Time that is more and more precious these busy days. It’s a problem for those of us who really want that cleaner, better, nostalgia-inducing, wholesome goodness.

The Solution: A Quicker Way to Make Easy Homemade Bread

A little known fact to many home bakers is that we now have some excellent products available to us that make our bread-baking lives easier. When you know the right way to use them, they make homemade bread-baking time SHORTER, too! With a little adjustment to your shopping list and a solid list of reliable recipes, suddenly you can find the time to bake GREAT breads and treats once again. This book brings the know-how and the recipes. You bring the groceries.

Bakery-Quality Recipes for Homemade Bread and More

Here we cover all the bases for faster, easier homemade bread baking. Armed with this book, and with minimal time investment, you can make traditional white breads, wheat and whole-grain breads, fabulous artisan-style no-knead breads, quick croissants and crescent rolls, homemade yeast donuts, bagels, pretzels, pizza doughs, and more.

Use the “Look Inside” feature for a look at the Table of Contents and a full list of recipes included in this book. Some featured favorites include:

•Farm Hearth White Bread

•Cranberry-Apple Bread

•Old Fashioned Potato bread

•Homestead Honey Oat Bread

•Basically Baguette

•Dinner Rolls

•Rise and Shine Cinnamon Rolls

•Nutty Sticky Buns

•Fast & Easy Herb & Cheese Garlic Knots

•Donuts, Bagels, & Sweet Bread Treats

•No-Knead At All Rustic Loaf

•No-Knead Sourdough Bread

•No-Knead Chunky Chocolate Cherry Almond Bread

•Pita Pockets

•Soft Pretzels

•More and More!

All of these recipes, all of this homemade goodness…with this simplified method, and without tying up all your time! A little modern ingenuity, a little traditional wholesome goodness…a match made in heaven and the best way to eat cleaner, better, breads again!

https://amzn.to/2QysSRP

Many homemade bread recipes, easy sweet roll recipes, simple dinner roll recipes, and no-knead recipes, great for beginners through experienced bakers. An excellent arsenal of easier, simple, real bread recipes to have on hand.

ORDER NOW in PAPERBACK or KINDLE

New Release: Wine Making Made Easy

Here we go again, but a bit of a different path this time!

Once again, I’ve set off to share easier, more simplified, more doable ways to enjoy homemade goods and bring back some of that solid country homesteading knowledge. This time, it’s winemaking at home–easy country winemaking without all the modern chemistry and fuss.

ORDER Your Copy NOW! Paperback or Kindle

Wine Making Made Easy: How to Make Easy Homemade Wine from Grapes, Fruit, & More by Mary Ellen Ward

Winemaking is so complicated! …Or is it?

Home wine making used to be simple. And now it is again!

Our grandparents, and generations of grandparents before them, made excellent wines with minimal fuss, minimal equipment, and no added sulfites or additives. They made them not just from grapes but from all manner of available fruits, berries, honey, and other produce. They didn’t spend a lot of money. They didn’t overwhelm themselves with minuscule measurements and chemistry. They didn’t dwindle down the savings to buy pricey containers for fermenting or for storing. They made wine in tune with the rhythms of nature, with basic equipment.

They made Good. Simple. Cheap. Easy. Homemade Wine!

If you’ve always wanted to make wine but thought the process or investment was beyond you, this is the book for you. This is the book that takes winemaking back to its roots. The no-fuss, no-frills method of wine making that uses everyday equipment you can buy right downtown. This simplified and basic process uses no added preservatives, sulfites, or unrecognizable ingredients. Just good, clean, wine-making for good, clean, fun-making wine!

Amazon.com

Available Now in Paperback and Kindle Versions

Copies are now available at Amazon.com. This is the book for all of you who have thought about making fun, tasty wines at home, but were always a bit scared of the prospect. We’re taking it back to the basics here. We’re taking the fear out of it–and the EXPENSE, too! Order your copy today!

P.S. These are great books for holiday gift-giving!

P.P.S. This isn’t just a book for the summer growing season! Find out how to make wines in the off-season (when you have more time!?) with frozen fruits, honey, vintner’s juices, and more.

P.P.P.S. Enjoy, and Many Thanks!

Get your copy here: Paperback or Kindle.

Your Daily Bread II Available in PAPERBACK!!

Honestly the one biggest “complaint” I’ve had about this book is that it has only been available for Kindle. No more the problem!

Print files are approved and live! It may take a bit of time before Amazon “finds” it and fits it on the site alongside the Kindle version, but this generally happens quickly (I expect by the end of the day, but perhaps up to three).

Keep checking this link or searching the title in Amazon – it’s there even if it doesn’t come up “with” the Kindle edition.

Thanks everyone for your continued patience and patronage!!

UPDATE! This is a link to the paperback product page; it is available for purchase and is ‘in stock’!

How to Grill Fruit: New Kindle Book and Sale

homestead_grillfruitHere it is, just in time for your weekend grilling adventures! My new book, Great Grilling Fruits: 17 Simple & Sensational Recipes for Fruit on the Grill.

In it you’ll find a discussion that covers how and what to grill in more general terms, along with 17 healthy and fabulous, low-cost, low-calorie, DELICIOUS recipes. Grilling fruit is an easy way to mix up your barbeque foods and you’ll be impressed by the diversity of fruit on the grill.

Get it now for the introductory price of only 99 cents  before it goes up! Or better yet, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, for FREE!

Make-Ahead Mix Day Now for Nook & Other eReaders

You’ve all waited so patiently…all of you who prefer the Nook, Kobo, Sony, or other eReaders over Kindle. And now your patience is being rewarded!

Make-Ahead Mix DayMake-Ahead Mix Day: Complete Instructions for On-Hand Homemade Quick Mixes is now available for the Nook and other popular eReaders! You can purchase now through Smashwords, and in the future on iTunes and other leading retailer’s sites (but it takes a bit for the book to show up in those places).

The best deal is now, though, through Smashwords where you can get my mason jar mix book for 20% off with this coupon code I’ve generated just for you loyal peeps!

Enter coupon code KL83E at checkout for 20% off until July 31st. That’s just about 2.39 for the book! My cup of coffee didn’t cost that much!

Feel free to spread the word and share the code – anyone is welcome to use it. Enjoy!

Pickled Garlic Scapes…Now Isn’t That Genius!

Hey did you hear? Volume II of ‘Your Daily Homemade Bread’ is now available on Amazon! The best and easiest bagels, buns, sweet rolls, English muffins and more!
Get yours now – under $3!
Your Daily Homemade Bread Easy Stand Mixer Dough Recipes: Bagels, Rolls, & Sweet Treats

Just a quick post because this idea is not mine and in fact I’d never heard of this before, but it certainly bears repeating and sharing!!

What To Do With Garlic Scapes

pickled garlic scapesI love finding new (and preferably easy!) things to do with the produce of my garden. I especially love it when those things teach me how to use something I’m not entirely familiar with; and silly as it might sound, simple as they might be, garlic scapes are one thing I haven’t really found my stride with yet (that and kale, except for using it as a goose and poultry feed – they LOOOOVVVE it!). But this post might just change everything!

It’s a VERY simple recipe and instructional for pickling garlic scapes. I’ll leave it to the Homesteader Supply Blog to explain, but these sound like they might even rival dilly beans!! Now, to leave you all with a link and go harvest the last of those scapes.. Boy I wish I had planted more garlic (but don’t I always…?).

Check It Out!

You’ll find this lovely little post right here:

Homesteader’s Supply Pickled Garlic Scapes Instructions

And here’s a handy little bit about how to harvest and use garlic scapes:

How to Use Garlic Scapes

It’s a Birthday Book Launch Deal! Volume II Stand Mixer Recipes

Birthday Book Launch! Book II of the KitchenAid & Stand Mixer Bread Series

It’s my birthday and Volume II of the easy stand mixer bread series had gone live just in homestead_bakery_alternatetime!

Your Daily Homemade Bread Volume II: Easy Stand Mixer Dough Recipes: Bagels, Rolls, and Sweet Treats is available now on Amazon and for TODAY ONLY, I’m giving you all a Birthday gift, pricing it at 99 cents. The price will go up to full tomorrow, though, so get it now and tell all your friends to grab while it’s good!

Bagels, Yeast Muffins, and Sweet Stand Mixer Treats

The recipes in this book follow the same simple method as the recipes in the first, using instant yeast and the stand mixer to make your life easy and help you get back to the wholesome traditional foods we all once enjoyed, despite the demands of a time-crunched modern life. Once again, the series offers you a way to make stand mixer bagels, cinnamon rolls, dinner buns, yeast donuts, and even crescents and croissants in the shortest time possible but yielding REAL and DELICIOUS results.

Volume I has gained great praise already, like this very kind and thoughtful review from Amazon buyer V. Kemp:

Finally!… excellent, quick AND flavorful recipes… I love it!

I have always made bread my mother’s old fashioned way… I bought a stand mixer recently to do the kneading for me… her method was a ten minute knead by hand… 2 hr rise… punch down… form… 1.5 hr rise…. and bake for 15 mins at high temp… then 45-50 mins at low temp… to say the least it was a day long project… I purchased this book the other day, and today I tried my first batch of everyday white… and wow… about two hours later, I have delicious, soft, tender, flavorful bread, with a gorgeous crispy crust… I ate almost a half a loaf myself. One batch made me four mini loaves, and twelve Cinnamon buns, without altering the recipe at all, and both were delicious. The fact that I had two successful products in one go makes the price of this book worth it… sorry mom, but your recipe might be a goner… lol

Volume II gives you even more great options to help you fully round out your pantry. Grab your copy today at this special birthday launch price!

 

Stand Mixer Bread Questions and Answers: Mixing In Yeast

From time to time I get questions in from blog readers and book readers asking me to help them out with a situation or clarify something in one of my recipes or in Your Daily Homemade Bread. And since my teachers always told me not to be afraid to ask because if I had a question, chances are someone else does, too, sharing those questions and answers seems to make a lot of sense.

And so, today we start with the first and probably one of the most common questions asked about the stand mixer and KitchenAid bread recipes I’ve published:

Does the Instant Yeast REALLY Get Mixed in With the Dry Ingredients?

Here’s a question from reader BB:

Kitchenaid Bread Recipe

I came across your website and want to try the homemade white bread using my Kitchenaid mixer. My question is this…do I mix the yeast in the water or add it in with “all” dry ingredients? I have baked enough to know that usually the yeast gets mixed with the water first but recipe does not specify so I thought I would ask. Thank you for your time and I can’t wait to try this recipe.

(I believe this question refers to the recipe originally published on the site here, although the recipe is also included in the more comprehensive book along with additional ways to use the white bread dough…like for bread bowls, etc. There is a more complete discussion regarding the use and ease of Instant Yeast, which is used in most all of my stand mixer bread recipes, in my book: Your Daily Homemade Bread: Easy Stand Mixer Bread Recipes: Best Basics.)

This is a completely understandable question because regular active dry yeast does certainly require a period of proofing in liquid to activate it before you can add it to your bread recipe – more measuring, more waiting, more steps. Instant Yeast is a wonderful product because it lets you cut out all that fuss and also cuts out the first long rise and punching down. It literally makes it possible to throw all your ingredients together, knead (preferably with the mixer), and make a virtually hands-free bread, a REAL loaf of bread, with about a quarter of the work and waiting.

My response to the very kind and inquisitive BB was this:

The yeast does not get mixed in with the water. It does not need to proof like regular yeast does. It is correct to mix it in with the dry ingredients and fat, and then add the water to the mix. The reason is that this recipe is using a faster acting yeast (instant yeast, bread machine yeast, or rapid rise versions are all the same and all fine to use). It is specifically designed to cut the time and kneading and to be an easier bread to make.

So while it can be tough for us more traditional cooks to buck something our mothers or grandmothers (maybe your father or grandfather!) taught us, in this case it is most definitely the right thing to do! Embrace the change and this great product and enjoy this easier way to make it possible to eat well traditionally while keeping up in this busy modern world!

Stand Mixer and KitchenAid Bread Recipe Book Now In Paperback!

No Kindle? Prefer your cookbooks in good, old-fashioned paper form?

Not a problem – you can now own Your Daily Homemade Bread, too!

Your Daily Homemade Bread Easy Stand Mixer Bread Recipes: Best Basics is now on sale through Amazon.com in paperback (as well as the Kindle version). Buy it now and feed your family (much!) better, for less!

About The Popular KitchenAid Bread & Stand Mixer Bread Book:

Best KitchenAid Stand Mixer Bread Recipes

Best KitchenAid Stand Mixer Bread Recipes

“If you have a KitchenAid® or other stand mixer in your kitchen, you have the one essential tool necessary for baking wonderfully fresh, wonderfully flavored bread on a regular basis. Included here are eleven stand mixer bread recipes plus two dinner roll options covering all the basics from traditional white to rye, wheat, and an excellent multigrain bread, too. In addition, you’ll learn eight additional ways to use the basic white bread recipe to easily create anything from bread bowls to cinnamon buns. This is a carefully selected collection of the most popular bread basics to bring you a solid dietary base without becoming overwhelmed. A complete discussion of the basic stand mixer bread method is included, along with a thorough discussion about the right yeast to use (there’s a specific type that makes this method work!). Also included is a quick talk on the subject of substitutions and sweetener flexibility to help adjust recipes to suit your dietary needs and preferences, including what is and is not possible. …A complete collection delivering reliability, flexibility, flavor, and FRESHNESS to your table, leaving behind all the unnecessary and undesirable preservatives, chemicals, and conditioners that you’ll find in commercial breads (including many that call themselves “homemade”).”

 

And What A Nice Review Already!

“Mary has written the simplest bread book. The white bread was so easy, I thought I had done something wrong. I was not expecting the fluffy, heavenly rolls that I MADE! My kids devoured them. I’m trying everything in the book.”
(Many Thanks to Momma Chix!!)

 

Order your copy today, and start eating better for less!