"On one of your pages you mentioned jalepeno cooking wine, but somehow
I couldn't find the recipe. Would you be able to email it to me?" Susan
Jalapeno peppers, which are really chiles rather than peppers, can be either mild or hot or in between. Typically, they are fairly hot, but Texas A&M has developed a hybrid -- the TAM Jalapeno -- that is mild. Use whichever version you want for this wine, but remember that it is supposed to be hot.
As a cooking wine, this is a versitile choice. It can be used to marinade meats, spice up barbeque sauces or glazes, or added directly to foods and sauces. It does something to spaghetti sauces that is beyond description.
But as a sipping wine on a cold night, this is a superb choice. It will warm you like no other, and even goes well mixed with V-8 Juice for a Bloody Mary affect with much less alcohol than Vodka delivers.
I made my first batch of jalapeno wine for cooking purposes, but when my wife and I tasted it during bottling, she said, "To heck with that. Let's drink it!" I enthusiastically agreed, but set a bottle aside to enter in the next competition. On April 18th, it won it's category and narrowly missed being selected Best of Show in the non-grape division. My thanks go to the judges in the San Antonio Regional Wine Guild who had the guts to confer a blue ribbon to a decidedly different wine. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do.
Jalapenos are dark green and turn red when over-ripe. Select the dark green ones -- large and firm -- and the wine will clear to a Fume Blanc white. Because this is a cooking wine or sipping wine, you do not want to bottle it in regular wine bottles if you don't have to. I used 375-ml splits and 150-ml samplers with screw-on caps, except for the one bottle I entered in competition (which was 750-ml).
Wearing rubber gloves, wash jalapeno peppers and cut off stems. Slice length-ways and remove seeds for mild heat, leave them in for very hot wine. Place peppers in blender or food chopper with 2 cups water and chop coarsely. Separately, chop or mince raisins. Put raisins in nylon straining bag and, over primary, pour chopped jalapenos in with raisins. Tie bag and leave in primary. Add remaining ingredients except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover primary and set aside 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, recover and set aside another 12 hours. Add yeast and recover. Stir daily for 7 days. Wearing rubber gloves, squeeze nylon bag. Transfer liquor to secondary and fit airlock. Ferment to absolute dryness (45-60 days). Rack into clean secondary and refit airlock. Rack twice more, 30 days apart. Wait final 30 days and rack into bottles. Can use or drink immediately, but will age if you add 1/8 tsp of tannin to ingredients. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Susan for the request.