Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 30-40 mins | Fermenting time: 2 days + 2-3 weeks | Yield approx 3 litres
- 2-1/4 litres (approx 9 cups) water * see notes
- 1 kg beetroots
- 750 grams sugar (regular granulated will do)
- 7 grams active dried yeast
- 30 grams fresh ginger, peeled and sliced or chopped
- 1/2 of a big lemon or a small orange
- 3-4 cloves
1. Wash the beetroots well and slice them thinly. Boil them in the water along with the ginger, cloves and zest of the lemon or orange (* see notes) till the beetroots are tender and lose their colour (the colour will change from a deep red to almost peach).
2. While the liquid is still hot strain it into a large pan and add the sugar. Stir till the sugar has dissolved and let the liquid cool down a bit
3. When the liquid is lukewarm scoop out 2 tablespoons of it into a small bowl and add the yeast and give it a stir. Let the yeast froth up for about 10 mins. * see notes
4. Add the yeast mixture and the lemon/orange juice into the liquid, stir well and cover it with two layers of muslin cloth (bairas) and keep undisturbed in a warm place for 2 days to begin fermentation.
5. After two days transfer the liquid into a clean, dry and sterile ceramic jar (bharani/buyaon) or a glass jar with a wide mouth and cover securely with the same muslin cloth topped with a lid. Keep in a warm place for at least 2-3 weeks. The longer you keep it the better it will taste. I recommend a period of 3-4 weeks but 2 weeks is fine.
6. Siphon off and bottle it. Store and enjoy!
1. I used the standard cup measure where 1 cup = 240ml. You need to use potable (drinking) water – filter water is ok or you can boil and cool tap water. Mineral water may not be ideal – this is what I have read.
2. Zest is the outer most skin of citrus fruits. Use a microplane zester or peel the skin very thinly but avoid peeling the white portion of the fruit as it is very bitter.
3. If the yeast does not froth up even after 12-15 mins, discard it. It could be old or of poor quality. Buy good quality, freshly packed yeast.
4. If you don’t have a siphon (tube which is used to transfer liquid from a container to another one using a suction method) strain the wine carefully using a muslin cloth or a tea strainer and a funnel into a clean, dry, sterile wine bottle. Make sure that you don’t shake the jar too much while straining or the thick, muddy sediment that has settled at the bottom of the jar will get disturbed and ruin the wine.