Capsicumel [3]

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  • 2 fresh habaneros or 6 serranos or 4 large cayenne chiles
  • 1 11-oz can Welch’s 100% white grape juice frozen concentrate
  • 2 lbs light honey
  • 1-1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1/4 tsp grape tannin
  • 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 7 1/4 pts water
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Pasteur Champagne Yeast

Wearing rubber gloves, wash and destem chiles. Cut length-ways and scrape out seeds. Dice chiles and place in jar, adding whole milk to cover chiles. Cover jar and refrigerate 4-6 hours. Remove and warm to room temperature, then stain and discard milk. Rinse chiles and set aside. Mix honey into 6 1/4 pints water and bring to boil. Boil 20 minutes, skimming off any scum that forms. Meanwhile, place chiles in saucepan with 1 pint water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Over primary, pour chiles into nylon straining bag, tie closed and leave in primary. Add acid blend, tannin, yeast nutrient, and Welch’s 100% white grape juice concentrate (thawed). Pour honey-water over ingredients and stir. Cover primary and set aside until room temperature. Add pectic enzyme, recover and set aside 4 hours. Add yeast and recover. Stir daily until vigorous fermentation subsides (7-10 days). Wearing rubber gloves, squeeze nylon bag gently over primary, then discard contents of bag. Transfer liquid to secondary, top up and fit airlock. Ferment to absolute dryness (60-90 days). Rack into clean secondary, top up and refit airlock. Rack twice more, 45 days apart. Stabilize with potassium sorbate and crushed Campden tablet (stirred well), wait 14 days, then add 1/3 cup light, clear honey and stir well to dissolve. Taste. If heat is too strong, add 1/4 cup honey and stir well. Taste again. Add additional honey if required. Wait final 30 days and rack into bottles. Age at least 6 months. Will improve to 2 years. [Author’s own recipe]