Our spouses are certain we are crazy for embarking on this project, and I'm tempted to agree. The guys at the LHBS seem think we are perfectly normal, although that may simply call into question their sanity. Read on and be the judge.
I work at a farmers' market and one farmer in particular (we'll call him Farmer C) has been generous with his product. This past fall he gave us (that's me and my partner in fermentation crime...Big D) 700lbs of apples which we pressed into 25 gallons of cider. Farmer C was rather pleased with his cut. So when it became clear to him that he was going to have more persimmons than he could sell, he offered them to me and D.
Now mind you we have never made anything from persimmons and there aren't that many recipes. But being the slightly unhinged amateur fermenters that we are, we figured we could make something. So we agree, thinking that we'll have a a hundred or two pounds of fruit and fill a couple carboys. Then Farmer C starts talking about 100 boxes or 600 or so lbs. Yikes...but we can handle it. And its free fruit...so what's the harm....right?
When the fateful night rolls around, Farmer C pulls up to my house after the market and we start loading boxes. Box after box come out of his truck and into a covered are in my back yard. When all is said and done we have 170 boxes, or over 1,000lbs of fruit! Farmer C estimates we will end up with about 50 gallons of pulp once we mash it all up. Damn!
Less than a third of all of the boxes.
Still undaunted, D and I realize that our carboys will be woefully inadequate, both in terms of capacity and time. Cutting 1,000+ pounds of persimmons into pieces to fit inside a carboy would take days.
After some thinking we come to the solution of a large, food grade barrel, and through the magic of craigslist, we find some within an hour's drive for just $40. So we hop in the car to see a man about some barrels. Two hours and two 60 gallon food grade barrels we stop by the LHBS for some yeast and advice. Good think we did too.
Two 60 gallon barrels.
The big piece that we were missing prior to stopping by was the impact of all that pectin in the persimmons. Thanks to the friendly folks at our LHBS, we left with some Pectinase and yeast nutrient, in addition to the yeast.
Once back and my place we filled the barrels with water and left them overnight and sanitized them the next morning. Our thinking was that with 50 or so gallons, we could either fill one most of the way full and then rack into the other, or fill each one half way or so.
Before we got started mashing up the persimmons, we did a little volume check. We measured the volume of two persimmons, one smallish and one largish one. Together they were about 1 cup. Then we ran the math:
1/2 a cup per persimmon X 24 persimmons per box X 170 boxes=2,000. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 125 gallons. Oh crap....
Just the beginning.
All of a sudden we were looking at two very full barrels.
And yet we persevered. With the wooden paddle in hand we began tossing whole persimmons into the barrels and mashing them up as we went.
At that stage, things actually went pretty quickly, but mixing 50 gallons of persimmon pulp is hard work.
One barrel full of persimmon pulp!
In the end, our recipe per barrel:
about 50 gallons persimmon pulp
1/2 tsp Potassium Metabisulfite
2 oz Pectinase
Last night, after 48 hours we added 6 packets of Lalvin K1-V1116.
As of this morning, no definite activity, but temps were in the hi 40s overnight, so that isn't surprising.
Crazy or not, I'll post as things develop, including pictures.