Just about any type of fruit can be fermented to produce alcohol. Fermentation is the process in which sugar is converted to alcohol by yeast. Adding sugar to fruit bases will increase the alcohol levels achieved during fermentation. Once a fruit base or "mash" has been fermented, it can be strained to produce fruit wine or distilled to make fruit liquor. Yeast must be added to a mash to ferment it. There are many varieties and strains of yeasts available from local brewing supply houses or from online suppliers.
Preparing Fruit for Fermenting
Wash and peel the fruit. Seeds do not need to be removed. Cut the fruit into pieces. Fruit pieces should be slightly larger than bite-sized.
Place cut fruit into the stockpot. Add water enough water to cover the fruit pieces completely.
Bring fruit and water to a boil. Add sugar and lemon juice. Stir well.
Remove from heat. Use potato masher to pulverize fruit. The mash should have the consistency of applesauce.
Allow fruit mash to cool to approximately 75 to 80 degrees.
Transfer cooled mixture to 5-gallon plastic bucket. Add water until bucket is three-quarters full and stir well.
Fermenting Fruit Mash
Add yeast to the diluted fruit mash. Stir well.
Cover the 5-gallon bucket with plastic wrap. Poke five to 10 small holes in the plastic wrap.
Allow fruit mash to rest covered for two to three days.
Remove plastic wrap and skim off the material floating on top of the fruit mash with a straining spoon. Stir well. Cover the bucket with plastic wrap again and poke small holes in the plastic wrap. Allow fruit mash to rest for two to three days.
Remove plastic wrap and skim the material floating on top of the fruit mash with a straining spoon. Stir well. Cover the bucket with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the plastic wrap. Allow fruit mash to rest for two to three days.
Fruit mash is fermented now, and may be transferred into a secondary fermentation vessel for winemaking or transferred into a still for distillation into liquor.
You can experiment with different types of yeast. Bakers yeast will work fine, but there are many strains of yeasts grown specifically for wine and liquor making. Be sure that fruit mash remains within a temperature range of 75 to 80 degrees while resting. Temperature variations can interfere with fermentation. Fruit mash will smell foul while it is fermenting. Do not keep fermenting fruit mash anywhere that unpleasant odors will be a problem. You may have to add more water to the mash during fermentation. If evaporation causes the bucket to become less than half full of liquid, add enough water to fill it two-thirds full and stir well. Yeast can be more effective if it is mixed with a small amount of fruit mash in a pitcher and allowed to rest overnight before adding the yeast to the bucket of fruit mash.
Be certain that all utensils are clean. Bacteria or mold can contaminate your fruit mash and lead to illness. Keep fruit mash covered while fermenting, foreign particles can contaminate fruit mash and cause illness or interfere with fermentation.