Wine is fermented fruit juice. Although commonly associated with grapes, wine can be produced using the nectar from most fruits as well as grains and plants. This rather obvious revelation that wine is more than just grapes was brought to my attention by my dear friend Velma. From the island of Dominica, Velma often uses Caribbean techniques and recipes when creating Midwestern fare here in Chicago. When she told me how easy and delicious plantain wine is to make, I begged her to teach me.
3lbs plantains, ripe
½ gallon water
Slice of sour dough, toasted
2lbs sugar (white)
*A few notes on the ingredients: it is essential the plantains be ripe. Similar to a banana, this means the plantains should be completely yellow with no signs of green. Why toast the bread? It will bring out the flavor, thus enhancing the taste of the wine.
Peel and place plantains in a pot with ½ gallon of water. Cover and bring to a rapid boil. Let fruit cook in boiling water for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, combine yeast with 1 tablespoon of water. Smear toasted bread with yeast and set aside.
Once plantains have cooked, strain juice into a jar. Add sugar and stir. Finally, plop the toasted bread in sweetened juice. Screw the top of the jar as tight as you can and store in a cool, dark room.
That’s it! Now we wait…impatiently. In two weeks I will strain the wine, removing what’s left of the bread. Returning the strained juice to the jar, it will need another two months before it is fully fermented. In due time, my baby banana juice will grow up to be bona fide booze.