Fermenting is the alcohol produced during fermentation that inhibits the growth of micro-organisms which could spoil the product, allowing us to store brewed drinks for many years. These include home-made ciders, wines and beers. The general idea to obtain these drinks is that yeasts grow and multiply using sugar and produce alcohol as a result. Cleanliness is vital at all stages to prevent fungi and other micro-organisms from spoiling the end product. All equipment and bottles must be sterilized by boiling or by washing with chemical sterilizing solution before use.
As a general idea, the basic fermentation method will suit all products to obtain drinks. First wash the fruits or vegetables then chop, crush, mash or press. Add boiling water and leave the mixture for a day. Some fruits, like grapes, will not need water, the juice itself is used without addition of water. Strain the mixture then add sugar and yeast. Pour the mixture into demijohns or any other suitable vessels. Fit the vessels with fermentation locks.
Leave the demijohns in a warm place for the mixture to ferment, about a month or two. During the fermentation, until the liquid is clear, you need to siphon the liquid into a clean vessel while leaving the sediment behind. This may be required a couple of times during the fermentation process.
When fermentation has ceased, rack the liquid into sterile bottles before corking and storing somewhere cool and dark. If you are making wine you should wait few months before drink it as many wines improve their taste after a while, some may even need a year or more. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be made into wine.
There is a difference between pickles and chutneys. Pickles are pieces of vegetables or fruit stored in vinegar. Chutneys are mixtures of chopped vegetables and fruits cooked in vinegar. In both cases it is the acid conditions produced by the vinegar which inhibit the actions of spoiling micro-organisms.
Most pickles and chutneys improve their flavor if left to mature for a few months, and will keep for several years if unopened. If you open a jar of pickles or chutney keep it in the fridge after you open it.