My wife is very into organic and local ingredients. She has wanted to try making wine from fresh fruit for some time. In addition, our family believes in local produce and the power of local honey.
We finally got up the nerve to try making some mead. Living in Florida and being in the start of strawberry season we decided to make strawberry mead.
The family takes at least a monthly trip to the Good Neighbor Market in Oviedo, FL. Good Neighbor Market is a family owned market with a passion for locally focused products. During our visit we scored big with a half flat of fresh strawberries and fresh honey from a favorite purveyor, Be My Honey. We selected a wildflower honey; this was at the recommendation of the bee keeper. According to him the orange blossom would be a little to sweet for mead.
With ingredients secured, we gathered our supplies and began our adventure!
Strawberry Mead Recipe:
- Approx. 3 lbs fresh strawberries (we went over to account for the loss of the tops when cleaning)
- 3 lbs fresh wildflower honey
- Spring water
- 1 packet highly active bread yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
We first poured the honey into our gallon bottle and mixed a in little of the spring water. We weren’t sure how easily the honey and water would mix to dissolve the honey. Turns out the honey dissolves easier than sugar does.
TIP: Honey empties from the container very slowly, if you use a funnel you can poke a small air hole in the bottom of the honey container and allow it to sit upside down for a few minutes so you get every drop of the golden goodness.
Next we turned our attention to cleaning the strawberries. We used a digital kitchen scale to weigh out about 3.25 lbs. As a side note a pint of strawberries weighs about one pound. The strawberries were washed and the tops were removed.
To be honest I didn’t do much research on mead outside of recipes. I knew the fruit needed to be liquefied and decided to use a blender to do this. A blender may not have been the best idea (I will share more about this later, sort of the punchline). Had I done more research I would have read a friend’s blog, Wines By Ari. I have been reading Ari’s blog since I started this one. She had a great article where she wrote about using fresh fruit. Ari boiled the fruit in water to extract the juice.
Looking back this would have been a better solution. Though as Ari knows, I try not to use heat…probably because I am stubborn.
We blended the strawberries in two batches and blended until the fruit was as liquid as the blender could handle.
We then added the strawberry “juice” to our gallon bottle using a funnel. The mixture was still a little thick and I used a skewer to coax the liquid down the spout.
We then added our packet of yeast and topped off the bottle with spring water. I was extra careful to fill only to the one gallon fill mark.
Finally, we added a tsp of yeast nutrient. We usually only use 1/2 tsp but with uncertainty we felt a little more couldn’t hurt! Here we used the LD Carlson brand however I am not sold on a particular brand but I feel it is important to add. Adding yeast nutrient seems to insure the yeast lives long enough to reach its highest potential ABV (Alcohol By Volume).
Lastly, we placed the cork and airlock in the neck and placed the batch on the counter to monitor for the night. We completed our first batch of mead!
Or so we thought…
About an hour later my daughter came in and said “Dad I think to much science is happening!”
I rushed into the kitchen and found that the batch had blown through the airlock and was seeping onto the counter.
I spent the rest of the night cleaning and re locking the bottle. It was a mess. Finally the batch quit blowing through, I topped the bottle off with more spring water and locked it a final time. The batch still smells strongly like wine fermenting so it is now in the closet doing its thing. I continue to monitor it and be optimistic that we will have a great batch of mead.
Next time I will at least review Ari’s post and concede to a little heat! I will let you know how it comes out when we rack it.
Hope you enjoy!