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Food artistry was once solely the work of chefs stationed behind the burners and ovens of Michelin-rated restaurants in major metropolitan areas. As we grew more aware of what we put in our bodies, we started to eat better. Dining would no longer merely a means to sustain ourselves. It became an experience meant to be savored and our collective consciousness skewed towards sustainable, organic, and responsibly grown, raised, and farmed food. At a price, of course. As consumers, we would bear the brunt of the cost burden.

The product of a newly minted upper middle class, foodie culture spawned a new breed of overpriced food. Cafes and restaurants, with their refined menus, had a ripe market of suckers willing to pay through the nose simply to flaunt their newfound knowledge and wealth. Bread, a staple of diets of both the rich and the poor, became toast that would sell for $4 a slice. Salads, essentially greens that one could grow in a backyard, $15. Ice cream, $5 a scoop... after a 20 minute wait in line. What's next? How much are people willing to overpay for the privilege of doing so?

For those unfamiliar with pruno, a little history lesson: since time immemorial, alcohol has served as the cause of and solution to all of our problems. A small percentage of people, for one reason or another, have made enough poor decisions that they now spend their days in prison. Does being behind bars keep them from getting drunk? Of course not! It's said that stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage; using fruit and ingredients from the commissary, our nation's inmates devised a way to booze themselves up to pass the time. Some call their concoction "prison wine." Some call it pruno.

Using exotic fruit and organic ingredients to cater to their discerning palates: Artisanal Pruno.

Disclaimer: PRUNO CAN KILL YOU. Before embarking on the adventure of fermenting fruit to make hooch, please be aware that the use of certain ingredients can make you seriously ill and/or result in death.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Pruno's basic ingredients are fruit (traditionally oranges), sugar, some kind of yeasty starch, and water. Inmates have been known to use candy, fruit cocktail, packets of ketchup, moldy bread... we aren't going to be using any of that. We'll be using only the finest ingredients.

Ingredients:
Organic Fruit - 7 oranges, 1 each of mango, papaya, pineapple, dragonfruit. If you have an ethnic or hipster market at your disposal, be sure to check there. If it's grossly overpriced, definitely use it. Oranges should be the base to remain true to the pruno name, but feel free to add whatever else you have available. The overall volume should be half oranges, half everything else. Do not use potatoes or any root vegetables/fruits - I've heard botulism isn't very fun.
Yeast - approx. 1 cup. bread or 1 packet of yeast. I chose to use whole wheat levain from a local bakery (baked fresh that morning in a wood-fired brick oven).
Sugar - 3/4 cup. Organic unrefined, unbleached, whole cane sugar.
Ketchup - 1/3 cup. Nothing says flavor like America's favorite condiment! Organic ketchup: it came in a glass bottle so you know it's fancy.
Water - 2 cups. Straight from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. You can also ask your local water sommelier for a water that best suites your tastes.

Tools:
jar, large
freezer storage bag, large
pots, large and not-quite-as-large
measuring cups
long handled spoon
self loathing
cutting board
fruit knife
patience
strainer

This recipe will yield approximately 5 cups of finished, drinkable* pruno.

*While it's technically drinkable, you might not actually want to.

Step 2: Prepare the Fruit

Peel and cut up the fruit into small chunks, taking care to remove any semblance of skin or rind. We wouldn't want any of the pesky healthy parts of the fruit - and the accompanying antioxidants and fiber - making their way into our hooch.

The entirety of your fruit chunks should mostly fill a freezer storage bag, as pictured.

Step 3: Mash the Fruit

With all of the fruit chunks in the bag, mash all of it into a homogenous mixture. Harder fruits, like pineapple, will require the use of a food processor or blender. Blend it separately and add it to the bag prior to mashing it into a fruity goop.

Using your hands, knead the lumps within like you would bread dough; if there's enough space in the bag, a rolling pin would also work.

Step 4: Sterilizing the Solution

Since we're making our pruno in a presumably clean kitchen and not within the confines of the clink, we can afford some luxuries that our inmate friends can't - namely, cooking our mash to eliminate (some of) the bacteria. While this isn't going to make the food completely safe and sterile (what's the fun in that?), it'll at least provide peace of mind later as you ingest what is essentially rotten fruit juice.

With the two pots, you'll be creating a double-boiler; in the outer pot, fill it with 3-4 inches of water with the inner pot already placed within, and in the inner pot, enough water to cover most of the bag of fruit. When the water in the outer pot reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium and place the bag o' fruit in the inner pot and let it sit for 15 minutes. The bag shouldn't melt, but you can double bag it just to be on the safe side (unlike some other instances where double bagging is not only inadvisable, but downright unsafe).

Remove the bag from the water and let it cool to room temperature. If you're the impatient type, an ice bath for 10 or so minutes will also do the trick.

Step 5: Science!

To turn our fruit mash into booze, we need it to ferment. Without getting into the science of it, fermentation converts carbohydrates into alcohol. We'll be providing our little yeast friends with a bunch of food so they'll reciprocate with boozy goodness.

Dump the contents of the now-cooled bag into your jar, followed by the sugar, ketchup, water, and bread (or yeast). Give it a good stir; everything should blend together into a foul smelling mash that very closely resembles the vomit from the first time you drank in that park on that one night, both appearance and smell-wise.

Attach plastic cling wrap to the top and secure it with a large, thick rubber band and place the lid on top. DO NOT tighten it - doing so will create a rotting fruit bomb and presumably - with enough pressure - it'll explode and cover everything around it in a putrid mess of pulp.

Step 6: Hide the Hooch

Hide your jar away somewhere warm(ish) and dark where it'll remain undisturbed. Closets and cupboards and the like should do nicely.

It will sit here for roughly a week while the yeast works its magic on the abundance of food we've provided it.

Step 7: Burp and Bathe

As the yeast feasts away on everything we've provided it, it'll create carbon dioxide as a byproduct of the fermentation process. At least once a day, bleed the gas from the jar by removing the plastic wrap.

Optional: add more sugar. Every couple days, I added a heaping tablespoon of sugar.

Now would also be a good time to stir the contents of the jar. Replace the plastic wrap.

Warmth speeds up the fermentation process so we'll be heating up the mixture, but not so much that it kills the yeast. In your large pot, heat 3-4 cups of water; if the water is too hot to comfortably immerse your hand, let it cool down to around 85 degrees. Let it sit in its bath for 15-20 minutes and return the jar to its hiding place.

Repeat this process every day for the next 7-10 days.

Step 8: Strain the Mash

Using a strainer, separate the drinkable hooch from the mash.

Metal will suffice but cloth works better (and stays true to the traditional method of pruno brewing, since inmates have to make do with shirts, bedsheets, etc) since less of the pulp makes it through to the final product. I used a jelly strainer.

Dumping the entirety of the mash in at once is inadvisable - using cloth, I had to spoon and shift the contents around quite frequently to keep it from getting clogged - transfer your large jar into a smaller one and strain it in batches.

Step 9: Chill

At room temperature, this stuff is barely drinkable.

It tastes just as bad as it looks; if you've ever had the displeasure of vomiting while sick, out with a bout of food poisoning, or maybe after a few too many drinks... that is what pruno tastes like.

Much like beer, our fine wine tastes much better chilled. Place the strained jar of pruno in a refrigerator for at least a few hours.

Step 10: The Taste Test...

In the week or so that the fruit had been fermenting, you may have had plenty of time.

You've done a lot of thinking.

The little voice in your head is telling you maybe drinking fruit juice that has been festering in the dark for 7-10 agonizingly long days isn't such a good idea. But we know nothing numbs the pain of bad decision making like... more bad decisions.

Pour into the beverage serving receptacle of your choice and serve to your friends, family, coworkers, or cellmates.

Just in case the photos above don't convey the point, a few thoughts from those who tried it:

"It's tart... and boozy. It's not that bad. Let me try some more."
"It tastes like puke."
"Bad decisions are one thing. This is just a Poor. Life. Decision."
"Oh dear god what did I just put in my mouth?"

And there you have it, the latest addition to the artisanal food craze: Pruno.

<p>There is no doubt this process will produce alcohol, but let's try to make it</p><p>palatable/drinkable/enjoyable.</p><p>I spent a number of years in Saudi Arabia making my own wine, so I have some experience.</p><p>Winemaking 101........No matter what fruit/vegetable you are fermenting, for the first 3-4 days the 'mash' of fruit, sugar, yeast should be exposed to the air...this assists the growth of the yeast, and is call the aerobic stage ie exposed to oxygen. You will see a thick head on your 'mash'</p><p>The remainder of the process is the anaerobic stage, ie oxygen is kept out, or you might end up with a vat of vinegar.This is when the conversion to alcohol takes place.</p><p>All the sugar should be added at the beginning.</p><p>So after 3-4 days, you put the mash under an airlock. You can buy corks and airlocks cheaply, but since you are in prison???, I suggest cut the thumb off a rubber glove and some plastic tubing. If the flagon mouth is large you might use the whole rubber glove. Cut a small hole in the end of a finger of the rubber glove, slide in the plastic tubing and bind with a rubber band. Put the other end over your container mouth and bind. The end of the tubing goes in a glass or jar of water. You will see the bubbles coming out into the water but nothing can get in. When the bubbles cease all the sugar in your 'mash' has been converted to alcohol .Depedending on your patience, alow the brew to clear, or have a party. You can also make a workable airlock using a condom, but I think that is for another post.</p>
<p>I have a question I hope you can answer. Given that your mash was open to the air for 3-4 days, is it possible that it could have picked up enough wild yeast to proceed to the anaerobic stage afterward if you didn't have any yeast of your own? Pruno makers don't have access to yeast, so is leaving it open to the air for a few days going to help?</p>
The person I spoke to used some tubing and a circular stopper cut from the sole of a shoe forming an &quot;N&quot; from the tubing and placing one end in the sole and filling the &quot;V&quot; portion. half full of water to make the seal.
<p>We called it &quot;squawky&quot;. I haven't heard of Pruno in about 40 years. lol</p>
<p>Looks really delicious!!</p>
<p>Thanks!</p><p>What a hilarious relief from one heck of a long week! Great I'ble and I may just try it... but I think I'll distill off the alcohol.</p><p>Any thoughts?</p>
<p>First off check the legality of doing that, in most countries distillation of alcohol for human consumption is illegal. <br>If you are legal (or just don't care LOL), how well it works out depends <br> on what type of distillation process you use. I would imagine cold <br>distillation would taste the worst, but on the other hand if you run it a <br> couple of times through a good refracting still you should get a very clean vodka like drink.</p>
<p>That's weird. It's totally legal in Canada. You just have to have your still in a detached building from any residence.</p>
There are a lot of reasons why it's illegal. If you do it jail style then I've mentioned what's used as a distiller and will not do an instructable on it because it sounds VERY dangerous. If you Google it you will find lots of tutorials on distillation and making shine but the two biggest risks are poisoning (things like octanol and methanol are produced in fermenting and much safer to consume diluted in wine and beer but concentrated can cause death or blindness) and explosions. If you are going to try distilling it pay close attention during those parts of any tutorial you watch.
<p>Hmm... I would imagine it'd just taste like really gross orange juice without the boozy effect?</p>
<p>Absolutely fascinating write-up!</p>
<p>mix it with fresh oj it takes summa the funk out</p>
<p>I'm not convinced that the yeast comes from the bread. The internal temp of bread is usually 180 oF or so when done which seems high enough to kill yeast. I suspect that the fermentation comes from germs in the fruit. </p><p>Also, let that sh*t settle out. Gross.</p><p>Cheap vodka, BTW, is about 10 $ for a 750 mL.</p>
Volunteering at a homeless shelter has given me a place to seek answers to some of life's difficult questions... In this case, yes... the yeast comes from the bread. It will not ferment without it. <br>And while not a direct reply... I'm told most inmates where I live do NOT drink pruno but instead refine it down to white lightning or shine using spoons, rubber bands, wire and pencil erasers.
Now I'm wondering how spoons, rubber bands, wire, and pencil erasers can be used to concentrate alcohol. Wait... what's MacGyver in for?
<p>I understand what you're saying. I believe you that they put bread in the pruno. But have you ever tried making it without the bread? Yeasts are everywhere, including on fruit, dust, and in the air. Even without the bread, it would ferment. </p><p>In many commercial breads, the dough is raised chemically and the gluten network is developed through mechanical means. Yeast is added for taste, and generally it is the dried remains of yeast---nutritional yeast or yeast extract. In either case, the yeast flavor is present but no fermentation is possible. Point is, if the yeast comes from bread, most commercial breads just won't do.</p><p>Anyway, there's no point in a pissing match over this. Even if I was right on this yeast issue, I hardly expect prison reform. Thanks for posting the write up and pictures. It's been an interesting discussion.</p>
<p>What use is the ketchup? </p>
Sugar, sugar and more sugar. You simply can't smuggle a ten pound bag of sugar back to your cell... The guards will figure out your intentions! Instead ketchup, candies and Tang are used.
<p>No real use as far as I could tell, aside from the sugar. I only added it because most pruno recipes I saw on the internet used it. Also, because it would be an opportunity to present the absurdity of organic ketchup actually existing.</p>
<p>This was a nice write-up of a terrible, terrible idea. Well done! </p>
<p>If you put this swill on a shelf for a week and let the debris settle, the yeast will fall to the bottom. The result will likely taste pretty good. It is this floating bread yeast that tastes so foul</p><p>Another thing you can do to speed this is to freeze the swill solid in a plastic container, then defrost slowly. Catch 50% of the original volume and you will have pruno brandy (You can get the alcohol level to around 20% to 25% this way). Also, the solids stay behind in the ice ball and the yeast dies, leaving a more clear beverage. When it reaches this level of alcohol, the vingar bacteria can't live, so it won't really spoil.</p><p>Oranges are pretty sour. If you use white sugar and brown bananas, you will have a pretty impressive fruit brandy.</p>
<p>this was so funny I have made this before or at least helped make it in another type lock up ( boot camp) only the name changes jungle juice still feel the headache and that was 40 years ago thanks</p>
<p>A Friend of Mine brewed His in a large trash bag under His mattress. ~( :- })={ &gt; ---- ]</p>
<p>Shouldn't the last step be &quot;Shank cellmate, so he won't squeal on you?&quot;</p>
<p>I would think giving him a shot of pruno would put him in a coma and he wouldn't be able to do much of anything</p>
<p>If he squeals, he doesn't get any more pruno... problem solved!</p>
<p>Very interesting, thanks for sharing. </p><p>I never did something like this, but acording that I read in the web, maybe you should have added a little water, reducing to 50% the concentration of fruit juice. And the fermentation time seems very short. </p>
<p>I have another batch that is still fermenting! It's been going on over 2 weeks now. I'll post an update when I try it.</p>
<p>Hilarious! Thanks for posting! I learnt that &quot;water sommelier&quot; is actually a thing too.</p>
I kind of want to try this, just not enough to actually make it (or go to person... No real desire to try that). I've heard that grape jelly is a popular sugar source, too.
<p>nice, but I wouldnt really call it prison wine as the biggest setback prisoners have (in this area that is) is that they are not allowed any yeast especially for this purpose, so indeed, old bread replaces that.<br>But.... ofcourse there is no decent yeast at all in bread.... it has been in an oven<br>So... the method used in prison with old bread, at beast might introduce some wild yeasts collected on the bread or bacteria.<br>For those lucky enough to be able to smuggle in some yeast, the process is easier... they get a carton of orange juice from the prison stor, put some extra sugar in it and add some yest. Just leave that standing.... it wont raise suspicion easily and after a week there is enough alcohol in it to get buzzed :-)<br><br>Yet... a good foray in how inventive people become in prison :-)</p>
<p>HA HA! I am just now reading &quot;The History of the World in 6 Glass&quot; and got to wine today (beer was first). You process is much like the one described, except they used rotten fruit and just left it sitting out to collect airborne yeast for the fermentation. I imagine, however, that yours is a bit safer to eat. And oh, I do have plenty of self-loathing, so I am set! Great Instructable - I will file it away for the next time I am in a prison that has an inadequate wine cellar.</p>
The double boiler wouldn't actually sterilize the fruit pur&eacute;e, just pasteurize it. Not that it really matters, because the jar, water, and sugar weren't sterilized either. You could have but the Frisch fruit pur&eacute;e to ferment without the pasteurizing or bread and let the natural yeast on the fruit do the job. Letting it chill out in the fridge for a week or two might let the harsh taste mellow out as well.
<p>I actually liked the taste </p>
At the jail I worked at for a while they called it &quot;Jump&quot; because it makes you all jumpy in your Cell.. Lol
<p>ah shucks, sad I missed this!</p>
<p>I still have 4 cups left if you want to try it!</p>
<p>love it! I made pruno inspired orange wine before, it was pretty bad, like oranges without the sweetness</p>
<p>Paige's face pretty much sums it up, I think!</p><p>Also: I swear it didn't look as scary in person.</p>