I started with about 18 lb (8.2 kg) of frozen cherry tomatoes that came up to the 4-gallon (15 liter) mark of the bucket. After they thawed, I lightly crushed them with a long spoon. That left me with about 2.25 gallons of must, which I loaded into my three-bucket press. A few hours later, I had 1.67 gallons (6.3 liters) of juice. My initial measurements were:
Specific Gravity (SG): 1.024, pH: 4.23, Titratable Acidity (TA): 4 g/L
That ain’t grape juice
Because it will change the volume significantly, it’s best to adjust the sugar first. And it will be a big adjustment. A wine with 12% alcohol starts with juice at an SG around 1.090. Dissolving sugar in boiling water is a great way to sanitize it and make sure it mixes well with the juice. I’ll be adding so much I’m going to concentrated it to an SG of 1.180. That’s close to one part sugar and one part water. Any more sugar and I might have trouble dissolving it.
How much syrup? How much acid?
Ok, if you’ve got 6.3 liters of juice with an SG of 1.024, adding 4.6 liters SG 1.180 syrup should yield almost 11 liters of SG 1.090 juice. That initial 6.3 liters of juice had 4 g/L, about 25 g, of acid. To get 6 g/L in our final 11 liters of juice, we need to add about 40 g. Sometimes pressing takes longer than you think. Sometimes schedules get out of whack. By the time I had my estimates for sugar and acid additions, it was past midnight. I decided to add the acid right away, as that would push down the pH and help protect the juice from spoilage, and go to bed. We’re nearly there, and tomorrow, I’ll pull this all together into a recipe for tomato wine!
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