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My Trial and Error Experience Making Green Bean Wine

Updated on June 8, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Be Creative With Garden Produce

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How To Make Green Bean Wine

Recipe
Use a recipe for parsnip wine and use beans in place of parsnips
Ingredients
Use only freshly picked beans. Don't be tempted to use ones that the insects or birds have got to before you!
Bottling
Make sure all your bottles and corks have been sterilised otherwise the wine will sour.
Drinking
You will need a lot of patience before you can enjoy the matured wine. Six years wait minimum!

Gardening is Hard Work and Fun

I am an amateur gardener. Sometimes my efforts produce very little in the way of garden produce. But occasionally I get more vegetables than I can keep up with. I try not to waste any of the harvest in these bumper years, so one year I decided to make wine from runner beans. That way my excess crops were converted into something useful rather than being wasted.

I turned a barren garden plot into something more fertile by planting green beans. I had followed the advice of an expert friend who said that beginner gardeners should plant runner beans as they were easy to grow and increased the fertility of poor soils. What he hadn't said was that once the soil regained its nutritional value, the plants would produce an abundant crop. And there's a limit to the number of runner beans I want to eat each season.

The weather was perfect for growing runner beans that year. At first I enjoyed having fresh runner beans with every meal. However, after a week or so, the novelty began to pall. I toyed with the idea of making chutney, but decided I didn’t want to spend hours over a hot stove in the fine summer weather. My freezer was too small to take the overflow, so I was left with a glut for which I had no use.

Bumper Crop of Green Beans

What would you do with a heavy crop of runner beans?

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Green Beans Growing on Canes

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Eureka! Green Bean Wine

I have made home-made wines from wild berries and fruits for years. Creating drinks like blackberry or elderflower wine is easy as they are quick to mature. I had never made any vegetable wines, but a friend assured me that if you can make wine from parsnips, there is no reason why green beans why you could not use green beans.

I had nothing to lose as if I chose not to make green bean wine, only my compost heap would benefit. So I set my demi-john flasks (glass carboys) bubbling with a green bean wine mash. When fermentation was complete I bottled the batch and put it into my usual wine storage closet.

The Result: Wine From Fermented Runner Beans

Somewhat impatiently, I resisted opening any of the bottles for a year. Which was just as well, because when I did so the taste was similar to strong drain cleaning fluid. Ugh! Awful!

Another couple of years passed by and I and some friends gingerly tasted some more. Good enough to use in cooking, but not a palatable drink that could be dignified with the name of “wine”.

At last, more than seven years after it had been made, just one bottle remained unopened and untasted. I was about to put it straight in the cooking pot to be used as part of a stew, but I tasted it, just in case… And yes, it was not only drinkable, but rather delicious.

All the other bottles had lacked was time to mature properly. I felt a bit of a fool for being so keen to open all the other bottles too early.

Tranferring Homemade Wine into Secondary Fermentation Vessel (known as Racking)

Racking red wine. i.e. siphoning the liquid from primary fermentation vessel to secondary fermentation vessel (carboy), which removes most of the lees (solids) from the liquid.
Racking red wine. i.e. siphoning the liquid from primary fermentation vessel to secondary fermentation vessel (carboy), which removes most of the lees (solids) from the liquid. | Source

Making Homemade Wine

The video below shows how easy it is to make your own homemade wine. You can use any fruit, herbs or vegetables as a base for your wine. As a beginner winemaker, it's a good idea to follow a recipe or reference book at first. As you gain confidence and experience you'll be able to be more experimental with your wine flavors.

The basic equipment needed to make wine is a large bucket and a glass demi-john or carboy. When I started making wine, I bought a gallon wine from fruit kit. It contains all the equipment you need to start fermentation including yeast. It's an economical way of buying what's needed and includes a bonus recipe book of over 100 fruit wine recipes.

The gallon bucket acts as your primary fermentation tank. In this you place the mashed or chopped fruit or vegetables. Water, sugar and yeast are then added and the mixture is left for about a week for fermentation to take place.

To clarify the liquor, you siphon the liquid into the glass carboy or demi-john. This is left for secondary fermentation to occur. In order to prevent contamination and oxidation of the wine during this process, the glass demi-john is sealed using an airlock. Once fermentation is complete (i.e. when there are no more bubbles produced), the wine is siphoned into a sterilized wine bottle and sealed tightly with a cork.

A Crash Course in Home Wine Making

Using Wild Plants or Weeds to Make Wine

Once you start making your own wine you may find it difficult to stop. There are plenty of recipes on the internet and in the library to help you make use of all kinds of fruit, vegetables and herbs. You can make wines for virtually no cost if you use weeds and plants growing wild. Good plants to use in this way are dandelions. They seem to grow almost anywhere and are brightly colored making them easy to find. Most important of all they are easy to correctly identify so you are unlikely to harvest a poisonous plant by mistake.

The video below shows you how to make dandelion (or other weeds) into a tasty homemade wine.

How to Make Dandelion Wine

Waste Not, Want Not

If you're impatient like me, there are going to be times when you open a bottle before the wine has matured. It may be too “raw” to drink, but it need not be wasted. You can make use of immature homemade wine by either using it in cooking or by adding something to it to make it more palatable to drink .

For example, a traditional French dish “coq au vin” is chicken casseroled in a wine sauce. The wine adds a piquant (French for spicy) flavor to the dish. Wine can enhance any meat or vegetable stew and makes it into an extra special meal on a cold winter’s day.

You can also transform an "undrinkable" wine by warming it with fruit and spices (e.g.apples and cinnamon) to mask any sourness. This is the origin of mulled wine; using up otherwise undrinkable wines from previous vintages.

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    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Beth. I loved this hub. Just the kind of crazy thinking that makes my own life so much fun. lol.

      Voted up and sharing. Welcome to hp!

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