Three fates of Jaboticaba
As winter is nearly upon us here in Childers QLD, it means the 400 Jaboticaba trees in the Ohana Winery and Exotic Fruit orchard will be coming into flower very soon. This means it won’t be long before there will be an abundance of fruit ready for harvest and processing! At Ohana Winery, the Jaboticaba will have one of three fates. The first, and most important, is wine, the second is jam, and the other is for the fruit to be consumed fresh off the tree.
In terms of wine, the winter Jaboticaba crop will be used for Ohana's Jaboticaba Rose. The fruit will be left on the tree to ripen to maximum levels before being harvested. This ensures good sugars are reached and that the acidity is not too high (acidity reduces as fruit ripens and sugar increases). The acidity will always be higher in the winter crop as there is not enough heat in the sun to ripen the fruit to full potential, making the fruit perfect for Rose style wine. To make this wine, first the fruit will be crushed on the day of harvest. The crushed fruit will then be left overnight to allow colour to bleed from the skins, thus creating the lovely pink/red colour in the final wine. When significant colour is obtained, the must will be pressed and the juice pumped into stainless steel tanks ready for fermentation. Fermentation will be kept at around 15C and will last 2-4 weeks. This cool and slow fermentation allows the wine to retain and develop subtle aromas and flavours. Once fermentation is complete, the wine will have a short ageing period before being adjusted for acid/sweetness balance, stabilised, filtered and bottled just in time for summer!
The fruit that does not enjoy the glorious fate of becoming wine, will instead be used to make jam. Zoe makes two delicious jams from jaboticaba, the first is a straight jaboticaba jelly, the second is a spiced jaboticaba and port jam. As Zoe's recipe for the jaboticaba and port jam is a secret, I will explain how the jelly is made. The fruit is harvested, a mixture of ripe and unripe fruit is picked. The ripe fruit provides all the flavour, whilst the small portion of under ripe fruit contains a higher level of pectin, which is prefect for jam making. After harvesting, the fruit is washed and boiled with water. The boiling process helps extract all the colour and flavours from the fruit. Once this is achieved, the fruit is strained and the extracted juice/water mixture is made into the jelly. A careful balance of sugar and pectin is added, before the slow boiling process begins. Once the appropriate temperature (if not high enough, the jam won’t set) is reached, the jam is poured into sanitised jars, which are then capped and left to cool. Finally, the jams will be labelled and ready for sale! The jaboticaba jelly goes particularly well with your morning toast.
As for the fruit that isn't made into wine or jam...it is just left on the tree ready for eating fresh on one of Ohana Winery's Experience Tours. The fruit is delicious when eaten fresh, it is sweet and refreshing, with the flavour best described as being a cross between a lychee and grape. The skins can be a touch bitter, so you can just suck out the flesh and juice. However, if you can handle the bitterness then it is recommended that the fruit be eaten with the skins. Jaboticaba skins contain a really high level of antioxidants, which have a wide range of health benefits. So, if this fruit sounds tasty to you, make sure you come join us on a tour.
That’s all from us!