November 13, 2010
A few months ago I had an excess of pears and apples, and an interest in making mead. My friend Brenda makes mead, and it is quite yummy! I called her up, and she sent me a box of supplies right away!!
The steps are simple, but they do need to be followed precisely. Sterilize everything within an inch of its life, except for the fruit peels, which contain natural yeasts. Chop up the fruit (I used apples and pears in one batch and pears and lemons in the other), mix with yeast, and stir in a plastic fermenting bucket. Then cap it with an air lock, and let it ferment. I left my bucket in the basement for about 2 months. (No pictures of the first steps…)
Yesterday it was time to start the second step. The racking process. It is my understanding that this process is to rid the mead of sediments. It is done initially to get rid of the fruits, etc., and can be done again at a later time to remove more sediments.
Step one was of course again to sterilize everything! I washed my plastic tubing, my airlocks, a big spoon for scooping out the fruit, and of course, two new glass gallon jugs.
Then it was time to open the fermenting buckets. The smell was sharp and a little yeasty, but not unpleasant. I carefully scooped out all the fruit, which had sparkly consistency, almost carbonated. There were a few quite rotten looking pieces, but mostly they looked okay.
Next step was to set up the siphoning system. Very simple and effective workings of a plastic tube. I placed the bucket on the counter, and the empty glass jug on the floor, and siphoned the honey colored mead from the top bucket to the bottom. Everything worked well, until I managed to overfill my jar and spill mead all over the floor…
Now the mead is safely in glass fermenting jars, with airlocks in place. Back to the basement for another 6 (or 8, or 10?) months until the mead is ready to be bottled! I tasted the mead as I was siphoning, and it was actually rather pleasant. And the rich honey color of the liquid is lovely to look at!