Mo’ Mead – MelonMel Melon Mead: Done!

Hi all!

Well, it’s finally ready! My birthday melon mead is bottled and ready to be drank!

It has a very pungent smell of melon, way more than I expected and a very subtle taste. Even though you can smell the melon, there is only an aftertaste of melon in the mead, which was quite interesting! This time, I made a lot, 20 bottles worth! If the help of a friend, we managed to clean everything, bottle two different meads (the other will come in a different post) and transfer the wild plum to secondary. It was quite an effort, but it paid off! Now just wait to mature so that it can be better enjoyed!

Backyard Wild Yeast Plum Mead – Part I

THis post contains 3 photos. Click to enlarge them.

This is a bit of a risky kind of brew, but I will give it a go anyway.

Some fruits come with a natural coat of wild yeast on their skin. This can be beneficial to your brew, but dangerous, because wild yeast can infect your brew.

The way this mead was done was:

  1. Pick the healthier plums from your tree. In this case, I picked them from my own backyard;

  1. See the white coating? This is the wild yeast on the fruit. The aim of this brew is to use that yeast and that alone to kick start the fermentation. This mead is expected to be low in alcohol, so that the fermentation is quick and it gives less times for any infection to develop;

  1. After a quick rinse, the plums are deseeded and quickly hand pulped. This would make homebrewers cringe, but I did sanitize my hands well! Well, back in the day, wine juice was extracted by stepping on grapes, so why not use my hands? Then soak them on a solution of water, honey, lime and lime zest, which was boiled for one hour. Dump the boiling water onto the plums and close the fermenting bin. That’s it. Give it a bit of a mix for the next two days and leave it. A bit of natural selection, after the boiling water in dumped, only the strongest yeast will survive!

Ingredients

  1. 2.5kg of deseeded plums;
  2. 2.5kg of honey;
  3. 13L of water;
  4. Juice and zest of 2 limes;

Updates will follow.

Wild Blackberry and Caviar Jam (No Pectin)

Caviar? Sorry, I meant elderberry! But now that I got your attention, might as well read the rest of the post! heehee

Promised my mum I’d make her a pot of jam, so on my way back from work, I stopped along my University’s lake and picked up a few fruits. The aim was to pick blackberries only, but the elderberries looked so yummy that I couldn’t pass the opportunity.

Well, this is not for the impatient person, because picking all the elderberries from the stem is a pain! But it makes a delicious dessert, to have along with a nice lemon cheesecake or something!

I make my jam with no pectin. It gives a lower yield, but it keeps for a lot longer, so I don’t have to worry too much about eating it quickly. Why that is? Please read this post.

Recipe? Here it is!

  • 240g of Wild Blackberry
  • 160g of Wild Elderberry
  • Zest of One Lime
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • 215g of Honey

Instructions:

  • Deseed the fruits, if you prefer! I really couldn’t bother and I like the crunchiness of the seeds
  • Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and, in a low/medium heat, bring to boil. Remove any excess foam formed from the boil. Mix constantly
  • After the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or so, mixing every 3 minutes or so.
  • Cool a plate in the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam on the cold plate. This will give you the set point. Too runny, leave it for another while; not too runny, turn off the stove and leave it to cool
  • Place the slightly cooled jam in a sterilized 500ml jar, close it and boil the jar for 10 minutes to seal it.
  • Place the jar on a wooden chopping board for 24hrs. After the 24 hours, place it in the fridge and enjoy it!

From experience, the recipe should yield approximately 500ml, maybe a bit less.

Wild Blackberry Mead… A Simple Name for Once

This post contains 5 photos.

In the earlier post about fruit picking, the purpose of my picked fruits is the usual: homebrew. Blackberry are bloody expensive and farmed ones are not as delicious! Anyway, In a few months, I will have, hopefully, a very delicious drink!

I favour brewing mead over other drinks because, well, I prefer to other drinks and it’s the one that is most difficult to mess up. Why? Honey, that’s why!

Ingredients:

  • 440g of blackberries for primary and another 440g for secondary (I picked 880g, the second half has been frozen);
  • Zest and juice of one lemon;
  • 1.5kg of honey;
  • Enough water to complete 5L;
  • D-47 yeast.

First, sterilize all the equipment. Leave the berries soaking in cold water and remove any creepy crawlers that float up (hey, it’s organic stuff!)

Place the berries in the demijohn (the glass fermenting thingy). There might still be some bacteria/wild yeast/general oganisms that need to be killed.


Want to sterilize fruit? Want to sterilize anything? Cover it in honey! Add half of the honey into the demijohn and leave the fruits soaking in it. Honey is anti-everything… it will kill wild yeast and other fungi, bacteria, any tiny organism in and around the berries + all the health benefits. If the amount of honey added is kept high, the likelihood of infections in your brew decrease quite a lot.


That’s why it’s hard to get mead wrong. Sanitation and infections are a big problem in wine and beer, but mead has the power of honey to back it up! Pretty cool, right?


After a good honey soaking for about 30 minutes, add 1.5L of boiling water to the demijohn and let it sit for another few minutes. Close it with the airlock/blow tube. Even though mead is harder to infect, don’t take chances! Further sterilization will occur, but this step is most important to dissolve the honey, mostly.


In a sauce pan, heat the water add the honey, lemon juice and zest. Mix until the honey has been dissolved. Add it to the demijohn and close it again. Only pitch the yeast when the most is below 25C.


Let it ferment for a minimum of 10 days (fermentation is about to stop usually when the airlock is producing only one bubble every 4 minutes). Move to secondary fermentation, add the other half of the berries still frozen and let it ferment for another 3 weeks. Then move to tertiary fermentation for another 3 weeks. The mead should be clear and ready for bottling at this stage.

It takes a long time to make it, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Picking Wild Fruits: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This post contains 5 photos.

Picking wild fruit is such a great thing to do. Just walking about the place and knowing that you don’t really need to buy everything you eat is just great! Well, at least I think it is!

Fortunately, I am just a short walk from my University, which offers a few of these wild treasures, but students and bypassers sometimes don’t respect this and abuse the privilege a little bit.

I decided to write this post because what I thought was common sense really is not.

So, before going picking some wild fruit, take some time to think….

  1. Why are you picking them?

What do you plan to do with them? It’s great to be able to go and pick as many as we can possibly fit in our backpack, right? Well, if this is how much you need to do whatever you are planning, good! But take the time to think how long they last for and if you are going to be able to use it all before it goes off. Wasting is bad and you will most likely throw it away in the bin, where it won’t get used up by nature. So, if you can’t use it, better let it fall on the ground and fertilize the tree to keep it alive for years to come.

  1. Pick only the ones that are ripe

Fruits are not hard to pick. If they are ready to be picked, they will just come off the branches with no effort whatsoever. Fruits don’t become ripe at the same time. If you pull it a little bit and they don’t come off, move on! They are not ready to be picked. Come back in a couple of weeks or so and they might be there waiting for you!

  1. If you can’t reach it, don’t pick it

Depending on what you pick, the branches can be full of thorns and can hurt you. We are humans and are extremely whinny. Anything that hurts us, we just complain. So, if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it alone! Trying to reach can hurt you and, just as important, can hurt the trees on the way.

Photo below credit to @Symphlythebest.

  1. Pulling branches to pick fruits

This is related to the topic above. if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it there. Get a ladder if it is too high, try a different path to try and get it, if you can’t reach it horizontally. Pulling branches can break them and that’s another branch that will never bear fruits again.

  1. Respect the Wildlife

Maybe near the trees, you will see some birds that won’t go away, even if you come really close to them, hissing geese and swans, bees etc, they are not doing these things for no reason! They are doing it because you are imposing into their territory, they have nests etc and would like you to stay away. Try invade their privacy… you will get a geese ass-whopping!

Volucella Pellucens

  1. Keep an eye out for scumbags

Yeah, scumbags! I said it! When going for a walk, a run or whatever, keep an eye out for people doing harm to plants or local wildlife. Sometimes an angry look does the job to make them aware that they are doing something wrong! Sometimes not, but ah well, we all have different approaches (Maybe I also think that geese are a bit scummy? They love hissing at me at any time for the year… so….).


Well, I think I said my peace! Respect nature and you will be rewarded! Given my container, you can guess what I will use my berries for!

Nesting Bees in my Backyard – Finally!

This post contains 5 photos.

Who doesn’t like fruit? I love it! And even more when they are nice not only for the taste, but also for the eyes. Today there are ways to mechanically pollinate flowers, but it is just not the same. Bees do the job much better than anything we built ever will.

A while back, I bought a bee house and placed it in my backyard. I wasn’t hoping for much, to be honest, but was surprised today. Here is why:

This is the house.


While I went for a glass of water downstairs, something caught the periphery of my sight. When I looked, there it was! A bee going in to one of the little bamboo cells. This was the first


And this was the second.


I was so happy that they made their nests.. the summer will be bright! I have a pear and two plum trees, next summer, if the bees continue to nest, there will be even more fruit for my brews! Below is my pear cider tree…


And this is my plum wine and mead tree!


This just brightened my day, I must be honest! I love seeing nature doing its job, so at least for my own backyard, I will try and preserve it!