After doing a little research on home made soda pop recently, I picked up a copy of True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen. This great little compendium of everything small-batch brewing introduces you to all the basics of getting your drink on – and in one-gallon recipes which means you won’t be stuck with 25 bottles of something you hate as you experiment away in your kitchen laboratory.
About the same time I was perusing the book, I discovered 5 pounds of frozen blueberries in our basement deep-freeze – bought last summer and meant for pie-filling – they needed to get dealt with as we have a whole new fruit season coming on!
Also, oddly, I was about to discard a small bag of lavender that I had dried two years ago for satchels that never got made…. but it turns out I didn’t have to because True Brews offered me a solution to my excess fruit/lavender dilemma in the form of a recipe for Blueberry-Lavender Mead.
I haven’t made wine in ages and I have never made a mead. This being a small batch only calls for 3 1/2 cups of honey which was the only ingredient I had to purchase – so it was a bit of a no-brainer in terms of first recipes in the book to try.
I started out by sterilizing all my tools and then heated up my water (14 cups) and honey to a simmer on the stove. Once the water and honey were all married-like, I dumped it in the primary tub with a pound of blueberries and 4 tablespoons of lavender. Crush, crush, crush.
Super easy right? Then I measured the volume of the liquid using an alcohol hydrometer. We do that at the start, and then throughout the process, taking note of the differences between the volume measures in order to get an idea of how much alcohol is in the mix. My initial reading for this batch of mead is 1.08. (That Christmas tin in the background holds all my fiddly additives for wine making – acid blend, tanning, pectic enzymes – that kind of thing).
After the reading, I crushed a campden tablet and threw it in the mix. The campden tablet is there to sterilize the fruit/honey mix before I put the yeast in so that no bad bacteria are introduced with my original ingredients. Tomorrow I will add the yeast and then we’ll really be in business.
For the time being I’ve snapped the lid on and plugged it with an airlock to give it some breathing room – and that’s Day One of mead-making. My first ever.