Let’s talk banana wine! One of my many hobbies is wine making. It is one of those hobbies that has a reward at the end process, plus it saves money. I used to have a numerous trees – peach, apple, pear and blueberry bushes plus some muscadine (southern) grapes. I have since given the orchard life up. However, I still make fruit wines. I just have to purchase fruit when I want to make wine from scratch. When making the wines, it is just like cooking – simply follow the instructions. In 2017, I made several 5-gallon carboys of peach and apple wine. This year I am making a blueberry and my usual kit wines. This article is about a different kind of wine. Banana! Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here for more details. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I was in a store the other day and they had a case of bananas for $6.50. A case! I loaded up with 10 cases. Just kidding, only 1 case. My wife would shoot me if I carried home that many bananas. I was going to make some banana wine!
Now not having made that kind of wine for a long time, I did what any good wine maker does. I went looking for a recipe online. Like everything out there, I came across several. So I copied some ideas, made some adaptations and began the process.
I like to make 6 gallons of wine at a time. That equals 30 or 31 bottles by the way. Most of the recipes I found online are for only 1 gallon, so I just used them as a basis and adapted the recipe to six gallons. There are things that you have to watch if you do this however. If the recipe calls for one batch of yeast, then don’t throw 6 packets of yeast in there!
From the Internet and amongst wine makers, I have seen 2 different ways of making wine. One is cooking everything and straining the fruit. The other involves the use of chemicals. I counted the bananas and lo and behold, there was 150 of them. I figured that would be enough for 2 6-gallon batches. Since I found two different ways of making the wine, I decided to try both and compare the two. So this blog post will take about 2 years to finish and I will update on their progress here on the blog.
A couple disclaimers. I am only worried about the finished product or perhaps fixing problems along the way. I use regular tap water (mine is actually softened). I have been making wines for over 15 years and have most people offer to pay for bottles. But, being lawful, I only give some away to friends. If you want to boil all your water or get distilled water, feel free. The beauty of wine making is you follow what suits your palate. In all my time, I have only had to throw one batch away, because, believe me, nobody wanted that one.
So, let’s start this process:
I like to make 6 gallons of wine at a time, which equals 30 or 31 bottles of finished wine. First problem – how many bananas to use per gallon? General consensus was 3 to 5 pounds per gallon. Of course most of the recipes are for only 1 gallon, but I just used them and adapted to six gallons. So how many bananas equal a pound. Doing research (scale) I determined for 3.5 pounds equal 12 bananas per pound.
Banana Wine (with Campden tablets)
When talking chemicals the main difference is Campden tablets (potassium or sodium metabisulfite). They are added at the beginning of the wine process to kill any natural yeast/ bacteria that isn’t what you want in your wine, beer, cider, etc. This add sulfites! From what I have read and I know, some will argue that sulfites are needed.
Directions (really easy)
- Use a 6 1/2-gallon bucket. Into that bucket, add about 1 ½ gallons water ( I use cold but warm works) then add 12 lbs of sugar.Stir the sugar to dissolve as much as possible. This isn’t Chemistry class – just use enough water to dissolve the sugar and give the fruit a place for a bath. Or put exactly 4 -6 liters of water in the bucket. It doesn’t matter till the end.
- Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the yeast.
- Put a straining bag into the bucket. Peel, then slice the bananas and put them in the bucket. Do this so the fruit isn’t being left out in the air while you peel and cut 75 bananas. (Cut an apple and see how long it takes to turn brown).
- Put in enough water to hit the 6-gallon mark. (You need to leave some room for fermentation or your spouse will not be happy with you.)
- Put a towel or loose plastic over the bucket. You need to get to the mixture for the next week and the towel keeps the fruit flies away. Plus, it gives the campden tablets time to kill all natural yeast and then dissipate enough to add the yeast you want.
- Day 2, add the yeast by sprinkling over top. Or do what I did, which is put it in some lukewarm water, add a touch of sugar and WAKE it up. Then add it to the mixture.
- Over the next several days, crush the fruit by hand. Check to make sure the sugar isn’t clumped in the bottom. Then, in about 5 to 7 days, remove the pulp and throw it away. People have asked if they could use the fruit again. Sure, but you would be just flavoring sugar water and it would be a very weak wine. In honesty, you could make wine from just sugar and water, BUT the yeast would have a hard time and why would you go through all this only to make weak wine?
- After removing the pulp, rack it into a 6-gallon carboy. (Now this is what I should have done, however, I didn’t have 2 6-gallon carboys available. So even though I made a 6-gallon batch, I had to put it into a 5-gallon carboy. This was the for the sake of this experiment. Note to self:make sure you have 2 6-gallon containers available next time.)
- Because of the pulp in the bucket, whether using a 5 gal or 6 gal carboy you will still need to fill it with more water. Please leave 4 inch from the top or see step 4 above when it continues to ferment. Add an airlock and leave it alone.
- Rack it every several months initially to remove sediment from the bottom. Also check the wine with a wine hydrometer. That reading should go to about 0. That shows there is no sugar content left in the wine.
- After it is clear (this probably will take over a year) add 5 crushed campden tablets and bottle it.
- If you want sweet wine, there are two methods. You can buy sweetener/conditioner that will not re-ferment the wine. Or, you can add sugar. If you add sugar, there is a chance you will re-ferment the wine, resulting in tiny little wine bombs after it has been bottled! Campden tablets will stop this fermentation. If you use the conditioner, you don’t need to add Campden tablets at this point.
NOTE: Careful! You can always sweeten wine to your taste after it has fermented, but it’s a lot harder to to make it drier.
So are you ready to do this? If so, I’d love to see your process and hear your thoughts. Post them in the comments below! And if you’d like access to my FREE Resource Library with all my files, recipes, and printables, just fill out this form to get the password.