16 September 2011


Apples and peaches and pears, oh my! Yes, all at the same time. It's been a really weird growing season this year hereabouts; everything seems to be about two or three weeks behind schedule. I've just made a batch of apple jelly, have half a dozen pints of apple sauce simmering in the canner, and a dehydrator full of pear slices humming away on the counter. Yet just last week, I was canning peaches! There's even still some available at my favourite local produce store, and it's the middle of September.

In fact, I think I might go back tomorrow and get some more to attempt yet again to make a batch of peach wine. I tried it last year. But in my infinite wisdom, I decided that to exactly follow the recipe was too tedious. It calls for crushing the peaches, then adding sugar, yeast, and warm water, until it's at the right temperature for fermentation. I figured that I could hasten that process by just chucking everything together in my big stockpot, and cooking it until the peaches were soft and everything was nice and warm (I can hear the wine makers among you snorting in disbelief as I write this...). Well, it didn't work. Oh, the stuff's alcoholic alright- in fact, if running a still wasn't illegal in this country, I could probably turn it into a pretty decent paint stripper. Also, it never clarified, but stayed cloudy even after months in the bottle. I'm afraid there's no better name for my brew than hooch. Peach hooch. I dumped most of it down the drain; it really wasn't worth keeping. I suppose that's what you get from undue haste.

So I just cracked open the last bottle I'd kept, and tasted some of it. For some reason, the flavour brings up a memory of my favourite aunt, which is decidedly odd as she was a confirmed teetotaller. After a few sips, I figured it out: there's something about the aroma that reminds me of her favourite scent, the original Eau de Cologne. Not unpleasantly so, I might add; it's possible that 4711's secret recipe includes something like peach distillate. It definitely has alcohol in it, that much I know.

Well, we'll see if this year's batch (when or even if I make one) has that same elusive perfume. If the wine turns out undrinkable, it might still be useful as a scent. It certainly is attractive to bugs- there were plenty of fruit flies buzzing around the glass, and a wasp actually went and committed suicide in it. I believe it was the same one that checked out a ripe, fresh peach not five minutes earlier. I suppose he didn't want to wait for the peach to ferment into something tastier, and just flung himself into the glass- "Goodbye, cruel world!" Had he consulted me, I could have warned him that haste makes hideous hooch.

Life, the universe and peach hooch. If you come by next year this time, I might be able to offer you a glass.


  1. I had a good laugh reading this!!! Thanks for that! :)

  2. haha! I've never attempted wine so my hats off to you. I have read about how to make schnapps, though which sounds perhaps deceptively easy. Just pour Vodka over fresh fruit... haven't tried it yet, though.

  3. Hah- real Schnaps (in German it's just spelled with one p) is actually distilled fruit wine. So a peach schnaps, for instance, would be a distillate of my hooch. But, as I said, it's illegal in Canada to do that, only the government is allowed to (so much for interesting homeschool science experiments). I guess the recipe you mention would probably be a good substitute.

  4. Love your post. I ended up with 23 liters of huckleberry wine vinegar one year.

  5. Nowadays, you could probably sell that as gourmet vinegar. :)