A sweet elderberry dessert wine with a pleasant kick.
4 quarts of loosely packed elderberries
4 quarts of water
8 cups of cane sugar
2 cups of raisins, finely chopped
3 shredded wheat biscuits or 1 cup Wheat Chex – OR – 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient (to aid fermentation)
1 package of dry granulated yeast, or one package wine yeast
Place elderberries in a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Boil for 30 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm.
Strain elderberries through a jelly bag or flour sack towel, squeezing until the pulp is very dry. Note: this will coat the towel with blue/brown sticky “ick” that is very hard to remove. I’ve washed mine twice and it’s still tacky.
Pour the juice into a crock or large canner kettle. (I used my 3 gallon crock for a double batch.) Stir in the sugar, making sure it is all dissolved. Add the finely chopped raisins. Break the shredded wheat over the surface; or, if using Wheat Chex, sprinkle whole over the surface. Note: If you are gluten sensitive, you may wish to substitute two teaspoons of yeast nutrient for the wheat products.
Distribute the dry yeast over the surface; allow to hydrate and then mix into wine.
Cover with a flour sack towel and put in a warm place to ferment for three weeks. I keep the towel secured with an old hair band to keep fruit flies out. (They love wine.) Stir gently twice a week.
At the end of this period, strain through several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Return to kettle or crock to settle for two days more. Siphon off into clean, sterilized bottles and cork lightly (or cover opening with a balloon). When fermentation has ceased, cork tightly and store for at least one year before drinking.